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Avoid the Winter Blues: Seven Practical Tips for Surviving the Winter Months in Montreal

This is my third year living in urban Quebec, and it’s definitely taken me that long to get the hang of winter in Montreal. Here are certain expectations and facts that tenants, car-owners and public transit users (so, everyone) need to keep in mind while the snow is still a-tumblin’ down!

1. If you have a car (and I have equal parts envy and pity for you, if you do), make sure to keep a careful eye on it during and up to three days after a snowstorm, especially if you park on the street. Look out for hastily posted orange signs indicating when you should move your wheels before the plow/dump trucks come by. Sometimes these signs will be posted mere hours in advance. If you do get towed, the City only moves your car four to five blocks away, and you will have a ticket for $110. So, while you technically can call to find out where your car has been moved to, it almost makes more sense to just put on your snow pants and go find it yourself.

2. If you live in a walk-up apartment, thoroughly shovel off your front steps and clear them of ice. This sounds like an obvious thing to do, but Canada Post mail dudes won’t even attempt your steep steps if they look icy, and you’re mail will end up waiting for you in some remote Canada Post outlet in West Island.

3. Invest in high-quality, warm and water proof boots. Just look outside at the slushy intersections – boots are worth every dollar, promise! I have these ones in dark brown.

4. Invest in a warm jacket and ear protection. Sure, it’s easy to make fun of the 2,000 Canada Goose jackets we see during any given day, but people are wearing them for a reason: that wind is facking cold, gang. Try North Face or Kanuk for cheaper, yet equally warm jacket options. And ear muffs are the best.

5. The metro is going to feel boiling hot in all of your outdoor layers; the buses are the slowest-moving/least punctual versions of themselves until the snow is gone. Accept these inevitable facts and plan accordingly.

6. Unless you are a fearless professional, leave your bicycle at home! Bike paths are often not properly cleared or salted, and they usually seem to be clogged with pedestrians avoiding the slush, anyway.

7. Lastly, please take advantage of the great winter activities Montreal offers in order to make these months slightly more bearable! Igloofest, snowshoeing/tobogganing/skating, Nuit blanche and various winter carnivals are always on the go. Try more restaurants, host more parties, attend more concerts, go on more coffee dates and spring will be here in no time!

~ Tyler Yank

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