You may think last month's ice storm was bad, but that 'lil whirlwind of icy snow was nothing compared to the maelstrom of winter winds that was the 1998 North American Ice Storm. Remembered as The Great Ice Storm of '98, for good reason, the icy tempest was a combination of smaller storms that formed into one giant beast of epic proportions. Ravaging parts of Ontario and Quebec, the storm caused major damage to trees, power supplies, and even people, with 35 fatalities. Not so fun fact: the ice storm forced the deployment of over 16, 000 Canadian forces personnel, the largest since the Korean War.
No city in the storm's path was sparred, with Montreal receiving a huge wintery blast of damage. If you were in the city during the ice storm of '98, than you remember how intense it was. If you weren't, consider yourself lucky. Either way, remember all the damage done to nature and the city in our collection of photos documenting the aftermath of the Great Ice Storm of '98 in Montreal.
The clean up crew
Dem trees got pwned
Beware of falling frozen trees
Still lookin' pretty Montreal
Do you have a crazy '98 ice storm story? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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."
Even when it's, say, minus 38 C outside, you should try to avoid heating at max temperature all day long — especially during the peak winter season between December and March — according to Hydro-Québec.
"In very cold weather, it is better to reduce consumption during peak periods so as not to place more strain on the network," according to the Crown corporation.
Pendant les grands froids comme ceux qui sont pr\u00e9vus cette semaine, la consommation d\u2019\u00e9lectricit\u00e9 augmente de fa\u00e7on consid\u00e9rable \u00e0 cause du chauffage. Heureusement, il est facile de r\u00e9duire sa consommation pendant les p\u00e9riodes de pointe. (1/3)
When it's this cold, the network is definitely strained. Hydro-Québec notes that its peak electricity consumption periods are from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day.
"Peaks, annual or daily, occur when the demand for electricity reaches its maximum and the Hydro-Québec network is the most in-demand because a very large number of customers use heating or energy-consuming devices at the same time," the company explains on its website.
According to a report from TVA Nouvelles, Hydro-Québec reached an eight-year record high electricity consumption as of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. With close to 39,900 Megawatts consumed, the province shattered a record that's been maintained since January 2014, TVA says.
"Small simple gestures help, such as lowering the heating by 1 C or 2 C, especially in unoccupied rooms, postponing the use of large appliances, postponing the recharging of one's electric vehicle, and reducing the duration of showers by one minute," Hydro-Québec wrote on Twitter.
At the time of writing, the temperature in Montreal is a bone-chilling -24 C with a wind chill factor that makes it feel like -35.