Don't get it in your head that all the winter fun ends once the holidays are over. The lead up to Christmas and New Year's is grand, but once 2015 begins, that's when Montreal truly gets into winter wonderland mode. No event brings magic to the season more than the annual celebration of all things wintery known as Fête des neiges at Parc Jean-Drapuea.
Beginning on January 17th and running until Febuary 8th, Fête des neiges will transform Parc Jean-Drapeau into a frosty festival full of fun for all sorts of folks, from kids to adults. Romantic sleigh rides, bouncy castles, and even a few parties are on the Fete des neiges set list, with tons more to do too.
Check out our top ten of what we want to do at Fête des neiges 2015 below.
1. Ride the Tube Slide
Ten lanes of pure fun will be set up for you to rocket down, include two special "Superglisses" lanes and the 4-seater "Trippante" tube.
2. Eat, drink, and dance at Trippe & Bouffe
Each and every Saturday at 4pm, food trucks will be doling out the deliciousness by the Tube Slide, and once night falls, a light show and DJ set will get the food party going. Get all the tasty details here.
3. Turn yourself into a giant human ball
A new feature this year called "Bing Bang Bulle," you can become a psuedo-bubble boy (or girl) and roll 'n wrestle yourselves around.
4. Get Romantic on the Ferris Wheel
Even if you won't be with your SO, reach new heights of winter fun as you get an amazing view of the Montreal downtown area.
5. Skate along river
A refrigerated skating path will be set up right along the St. Lawrence river, which is much more fun than a simple stroll.
6. Travel high speeds on the Zip-line
6 metres high and 77 metres long, you can cruise across the park in one quick (and intense) trip on the Zip-line.
7. Go dogsledding
Make 'em mush at Parc Jean-Drapeau during Fête des neiges, more details here.
8. Class it up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride
Live the lyrics of "Jingle Bells" on a relaxing sleigh ride pulled by a magnificent mare (or stallion).
9. Get fit while cross-country skiing
Winter may not provide many opportunities for physical so capitalize on one of the season's only full-body workouts.
10. Finally go snowshoeing
You know you've thought about it, and now you can, with rentals, tutorials, and routes all provided.
There are also tons of live shows and musical performances to check out that will be ongoing throughout the festivals. Get more details by heading over to the Fete des neiges official event listing here.
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."
UPDATE: The Government of Quebec has introduced new COVID-19 health measures since this article was published. Please review guidelines and double-check the website and social media pages of the event or activity before you head out. We strongly recommend calling before you go.
Why You Should Go: Indoor gatherings are limited to six people right now, so call your besties up and plan a little shindig at one of your apartments. No better way to start the New Year than with your closest people.