One winter fantasy we all share is cruising through the snow on a dogsled, fresh powder flung from the ground by the paws of a pack of huskies, all of whom are commanded through the winter landscape by your expert sled-driving, the wind nipping at your nose as you're being chased by a pack of ninjas on snowmobiles.
Okay, maybe that last part is just my winter fantasy, but y'all can't deny you've thought (more than once) about how awesome it would be to go dog sledding, as it is such an iconic winter activity. Fortunately, you don't need to head to the mountains to make your dream a reality, as Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau offers dogsledding experiences on the weekends.
Starting on January 17th, you can head to Parc Jean-Drapeau from Friday to Sunday and experience a true dogsled ride. Dogsled initiation rides are offered for beginners, "woodsman" long rides are available for those looking for more adventure, and a VIP "trapper apprentice" can be purchased for any true winter warriors.
Prices vary per ride, though each type will have you racing along the snow with twenty huskies racing in front of you, so no matter the type, you'll still feel like you're in a scene straight outta Balto.
Weekend dogsled rides at Parc Jean-Drapeau begin on January 17th and last until Febuary 16th. Get more info on pricing and availability by heading to the official listing here.
Boucherie Slovenia, a boulevard Saint-Laurent institution for 50 years, will soon serve its last spicy sausage.
The iconic home of enormous Eastern European-style sandwiches — Slovenian sausage and towering cold-cuts were staples — will close its doors forever on January 29, said the owners, Lourdes Rodrigues and Jean Teixeira, in a Facebook post.
"Thank you to all our loyal customers, for the wonderful years," they said.
With a menu overflowing with huge, yet affordable, meat and mustard sandwiches — sauerkraut, pickles and Cherry Cokes were also standard — Boucherie Slovenia is the latest of the Main's iconic old-school institutions to close.
The beloved Moishes steakhouse announced its closure under the strain of the pandemic in the summer of 2020.
The Boucherie Slovenia Facebook post asks readers to share their memories of the restaurant and butcher shop, with many offering childhood stories of visiting for a pepperette sandwich or their "underrated" smoked meat, which is "the best in the city," according to one commenter.
Many apparent long-time customers said they wouldn't know where to go to find dishes comparable to Boucherie Slovenia's treasured menu items.
Others remarked on how yet another classic Montreal restaurant is closing its doors. "Nothing replaces these fantastic old shops," said one person. "It's a loss. The rich character of the boulevard is disappearing."
Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
It's official — 2021 was the hottest year on record for Montreal, according to Environment Canada. It beat out the previous hottest years, 1998 and 2012, by a mean few hundredths of a degree.
This rise in temperature in Montreal is attributed to new weather patterns, causing scorching temperatures in June, August, September and October. "August and October were record-breaking months," said Environment Canada spokesperson Simon Legault.
"We were lucky that July was below normal because if it hadn't happened that way, [...] we would have shattered the record instead of just breaking it," he added.
A few hundredths of a degree may not sound like such a big problem, but temperatures in Montreal (and around the world) have been steadily rising.
The average annual temperature in Montreal from 1951 to 1980 was 6.5ºC, according to ClimateData.ca. Last year's mean temperature came in at a whopping 8.6ºC. This drastic increase in fortyish years has already begun to show its effects — not just on our electrical bills in the summer, but also the health of the population, the Climate Action Network says.
Whether or not 2022 will be even hotter remains anyone's guess. Projections for an area as small as Southern Quebec can only be made a few weeks in advance.
What we do know is that February and March should be significantly warmer than January.
"A few short intense waves of cold are coming in," Legault said of January, adding that February and March are expected to be "close to or above normal temperatures."