This recent cold front that's moved into Montreal brings me to the question I ask myself every year at about this time: why the fuck do I stay in this city in the winter? It turns into a sheet of ice, covered in snow. Gone are the days of comfortable shorts-sandal combos that so easy to throw on every morning. Say goodbye to lazing around at Parc Mont Royal on Sundays for Tam Tams. From here on out, Montrealers are going to be so bundled up we'll all resemble multicolored marshmallows waddling around the narrow path plowed in the sidewalk between walls of snow. This city may rule in the summer, but it's swag value plummets in the winter.
1. It's too goddamned cold!
As these past few days have demonstrated, Montreal gets pretty effing cold. Just to stay warm, you have to wear at least three layers. If you ever rush outside and forget your tuque or scarf, you're pretty much screwed. You're almost guaranteed to get frostbite. The average temperature in Montreal in January is -14 C. Compare that to Toronto which is -8 C. You're sure to get at least a week of -20 C degree, so don't get too comfortable.
2. Stop with the snow already!
Montreal gets dumped on. There are mornings when you walk outside and you'd think that you just left Castle Black and confronted the Wall in Game of Thrones. There's that much snow. Don't get me wrong, I love snow. I just hate snow in the city. It's pretty for about 45 minutes, but then it gets dirty. In a week, it's black. Even worse is in the spring when the snow all melts and the streets of Montreal stink to high hell as all of the trash and dirt from the winter thaws out.
3. Gone are the days of sundresses (sniff, sniff)
In with the long johns, out with the yoga pants. It's a sad day when we all have to trade in our summer clothes for winter clothes. For guys, you can't wear tanks and snapbacks any more. Instead we're forced to wear itchy sweaters that either aren't warm enough, or are so warm that you're sweating at your desk. For girls, there are no more short-shorts. No more tank tops. The tight, form-fitting clothes of the beautiful women of Montreal are covered with layers and layers of cloth. It's a tragedy.
One of the most annoying things I've found is that if you wear a tuque to work or school, your hair is permanently messed up. If you don't, your ears fall off. The worst catch-22 in the world.
4. Bring on the donuts
It's easy to stay in shape in the summer. You can go out for a run, ride your bike, go hiking, or just walk around and explore the city. You pretty much can't do any of that in the winter. If you want to go for a run, your lungs burn from the cold air and you have to wear clamps on your sneakers that only kind of work if you run on ice. You're more likely to stay inside, watch a movie, and eat delicious holiday cookies. Only all that hibernating will bite you in the ass when spring break comes around and you have a few extra jelly rolls.
5. It gets dark at 4 pm
I don't know about you, but this has to be the worst part. When it gets dark out, my day is pretty much over. My productivity plummets and all I want to do is watch tv shows on Netflix and go to bed. Even worse is getting up in the morning. Waking up is hard enough in the wee hours of the morn. When it's cold and grey, you don't want to go anywhere.
6. Your ass will be black and blue, I guarantee it.
Ice is a principle feature of Montreal in the winters. The only problem: it's usually hidden under a couple layers of powder in the morning. In the early morning, as you groggily walk to the metro, I can almost guarantee you'll fall and slip on the ice that covers the city. Once a week. If you live in upper rez at McGill, I'd be confident in upping that number to about three times a week. It sucks and it's a terrible way to start your morning.
How do you feel about winter? Do you hate the terrible cold or love the winter months in Montreal? Voice your winter woes or pros in the comments below.