December 28, 2011, Montreal: If there’s one thing I’ve heard over the years about what it means to be from Montreal, it’s that Montreal winters don’t get you down. Nevermind the weather; those from Montreal get out. They go about their days. They are outdoorsy people passionate about winter sports. The evidence is clear in my parent’s photos from the 1970s of sledding by Beaver Lake, playing hockey in Westmount, and meandering between ice sculptures downtown. To visit in summer and declare you understand what it’s like to live here would make you a liar. You need to see for yourself that a little snow and ice isn’t enough to shut in the residents of Montreal. Despite many years spent south of the Mason-Dixon line, today — well, I guess that includes me.
The snow begins Tuesday night as we return to the renovated ice rink by Beaver Lake in Mont-Royal Park while rain continues to descend on the city below. By morning, on a walk west down Rue Sainte-Catherine and back east up Sherbrooke to and from the Westmount neighborhood where I was born, the wind has picked up and the snow swirls. By midday, scarfs are cinched over our noses and mouths and we’ve guzzled multiple coffees and hot chocolates just to keep warm. By evening, red wine and cheese fondue is added to the list of indulgences we hope will heat us from the inside out.
Overlooking the neighborhood sledding hill in Westmount, I know that for a native Canadian, I am a weather wimp. I remind myself to buck up. I tell myself this is par for the December course here in my native Montreal.
Skating, Beaver Lake, December 2011
Sledding, Westmount, December 2011
Shopping on St. Catherine, December 2011
Skating, Vieux Montreal, December 2011