Photo cred - Vesia Photography

If you’ve been around Montreal recently and can, like, feel things, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been pretty goddamned cold, and it’s unfortunately not going anywhere anytime soon. You’ve probably been busy cranking your heat to its maximum capacity and shotgunning scalding hot soup as quickly as possible, but winter in the city is still a difficult thing to escape.

To be sure, the cold months are hardly the best time to be in Montreal. The snow piles up, the winds are vicious, and the temperatures are simply brutal. It’s tempting to ignore your responsibilities, curl up with as many blankets as you can find, and hibernate until the weather becomes more bearable.

As painful as it can be, those who bitch about the cold without any trace of optimism are ignoring the myriad pleasures that can only be accessed during the city’s most frigid moments.

Do you like poutine? (I should hope so, if you’re reading MTL Blog.) Although it’s delicious any time of the year, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as getting a taste of the stuff after you’ve been waiting outside La Banquise in -40° weather at 3 am. The sensation of chowing down on poutine after coming in from the bitter cold is one which could sway anyone who’s skeptical about spending a winter in the city. On top of that, the warmth of the gravy coats your stomach particularly nicely, and a walk home after filling up on fries and curds feels a lot less painful than it would otherwise. 

It’s not like poutine is the only food which improves when it’s consumed directly after one comes in from the frosty outdoors. Anyone who’s ever ingested a bowl of stew, a pot of hot cocoa, or a mug of mulled wine knows of the pleasures to be had from countering the bitterness of winter with a warm liquid.

Beyond food and drink, there are plenty of other ways to experience a similar joy. Making it home from the brutal cold feels like an impressive feat in and of itself, and it’s even more rewarding when you can celebrate your accomplishment by blasting your heater and standing directly next to it. Your warmest blankets and sweaters feel especially comforting when they’re shielding you from the perilous arctic that is Montreal in the wintertime.

Finally, there’s a certain communal feeling around the city which can only be experienced during its coldest periods. We’re all suffering through the winter together, and we feel each other’s pain. Certainly, there are still plenty of ways in which we fail to understand each other, but there’s something democratizing about the cold which increases our empathy. Even if some are lucky enough to be better equipped with tools to fight the weather than others, it’s undeniable that it sucks for all of us.

Winter in Montreal can be brutal, that shouldn't stop you from experiencing the joys it offers. Grab a poutine, snuggle under the covers, and make the most of the cold while you can.

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