The first rays of sunlight have broken through the wintery clouds that have hung above Montreal for months, and the little bit of sunshine we have has put one thing on everyone's mind: summer in the city.
Before the truly warm weather begins Montrealers clamour for the summer and all the fun the season brings. But to those uninitiated in a Montreal Summer (yes, it is a proper noun, thank you very much) probably have no clue what all the fuss is about.
Let us solve that mystery for you, because even if you don't live in Montreal, you should be excited for summer in this city, it's that amazing. No doubt that by the end of this list, you'll be planning your summer trip to Montreal, because lets be honest, nothing compares to a Montreal summer.
Festivals, Literally Always
This is not an exaggeration. Once the warm weather hits Montreal, the entire city goes into festival mode. Not that we don't have some majorly fun winter-fests, but the real festival action comes in the summer months. No joke, you can find a different festival to go to every single day.
JazzFest, Just For Laughs, Mural Festival, MUTEK, Fringe Fest, Grand Prix, BeerFest, Comic-Con, International des feux Loto-Québec, Fantasia Film Fest, the list can go on and on. And it does, as the list of Montreal festivals reaches well over 100. Check out the full rundown (and which ones happen in summer) here.
Drinking In The Park
There's a much-adored by-law in Montreal known as the "Picnic Law," and all you need to know is that it fully allows you to drink in the park, never having to worry about being reprimanded by the authorities. You do, however, need a meal with you while drinking (though it's rarely enforced, and the term "meal" has a fairly fluid definition in this context) but otherwise you're totally allowed to drink in any Montreal public park.
What does that mean for you? Days spent tanning in the sun, beer in hand, totally relaxed on the fresh grass and never having to worry about getting a ticket. And Montreal has some pretty amazing parks (Parc La Fontaine, Mount Royal, Laurier, and many more) to ensure the alcohol isn't the only enjoyable part of the experience.
Food Trucks On The Streets
Montreal is known for its wondrous restaurant scene, but you can enjoy all the food available at the city's many eateries anytime of the year. Only in the summer, however, can you get food right off the street from one of Montreal's many food trucks.
Now, some people criticize Montreal's food trucks for being a little bit too pricy, which is a fair complaint. But in truth, that's only if you compare Montreal food trucks to other cities, and we have a food truck culture all our own.
Unlike other cities, Montreal boasts artisanal-gourmet food trucks, many of which are operated by some of the city's most esteemed restaurants and chefs. What that means for your taste buds is incredibly unique, high-quality meals that won't set you back in the cash department too much (expect to pay $6-$12 for a dish).
Delectable food truck dishes include lobster rolls, pulled pork poutines, Banh Mi tacos, dumplings, raclette, schnitzel, and so much more.
Truly Beautiful Weather
Montreal may be awful in the winter (and we'll be the first to admit that) but things definitely change in the summer. No matter what, you can expect long days full of sun with the warmth continuing well into the night. It's basically t-shirt and shorts weather all the time from June to mid-September.
What makes the beautiful weather even better (if that's not enough for you) is the accessibility of Montreal. Walk half an hour in this city and you can actually cover a lot of ground, with the weather ensuring you enjoy the stroll. Ride a bike (which you can always do with the city's public bike service, BIXI) and you'll get even further. Or, if you really need to make a trek, take the metro, which brings you almost anywhere in the city.
Incredibly warm weather and a small city with great public transit ensures a summer spent in Montreal is full of discoveries.
Terrasses For You To Enjoy
You may know them as patios, but in Montreal, they're called "terrasses," and come summer, you can find everyone on them enjoying a drink. Even bars and restaurants that don't have a terrasse space literally build one just for the summer, allowing you to enjoy a pitcher almost anywhere in the city. I know that drinking on a patio may not seem all that amazing or revolutionary, but you've never done it in Montreal, and trust me when I say it's different.
So Much Free Stuff
You know all of those festivals I mentioned earlier? And all the ones I didn't even have the space to mention? Well, take every single one, then remember that for each, there's a bunch of free events being held for the event, meaning you can have so much fun for zero charge.
Montreal Pride is basically an entirely free downtown party, you can watch the international fireworks competition wherever you like, the weekly chill-fest known as Tam Tams has no cover charge, there are movies shown under the stars for all to enjoy, free orchestra concerts, gratis comedic performances as part of JFL, free pools and beaches, and open chilling spaces like Jardin Gamelin you can always head to.
They say the best things in life are free, and during the summer in Montreal, that's almost true.
The Montreal Summer Energy
Honestly, if there's one thing that makes summer in Montreal truly amazing, the aspect that makes a "Montreal summer" truly unique, is the people. Montrealers come alive during the summer season, and the energy is infectious.
After months of hibernating due to a harsh winter, the people of Montreal live outdoors in the warmer months of the year. Never will you find a park empty, a terrasse without faithful patrons, a festival lacking hordes of attendees. Unlike cities where it's warm all of the time, Montreal makes the most of the summer, meaning you'll always have people to have fun with.