Quebec City/Montreal in Winter

Sep 29th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Quebec City/Montreal in Winter

I saw messages from years back about this, but wanted some more recent info. How are Quebec City and Montreal in winter? Do parts of the cities shut down? Just how cold is it (in "feel," not necessarily on the thermometer)? And is it clear-cold, snowy-cold, or rainy-cold?

Thanks for any help. Once I figure out if its possible, then I'll work on itinerary!

TravelinMom is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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I can only speak for Montreal. The city does not "shut down" b/c of the cold. You will get "clear-cold" and "snowy cold". You will also get "windy cold" downtown. And, you will get "sunny cold"....the best kind of cold in Montreal! You won't get "rainy cold" in Winter ( Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar) but you may get "rainy cold" in November and also "windy cold".
When do you plan on going to Montreal? Also, where do you live? i.e, are you accustomed to any kind of cold?
OceanBreeze1 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 05:11 PM
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This is great, and so far not a disincentive! I'm from San Francisco now (never cold enough to snow), but originally lived in the northeast US so have experienced my share of blizzards. My son is experiencing Boston area weather now, and my daughter wants to see some snow.
TravelinMom is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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So...when are you going to Montreal/Quebec City?
NE US is practically next door to Montreal so you should be fine, TravelinMom!
OceanBreeze1 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 09:48 PM
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Looking at sometime between Dec 23 and 31, but still in very early planning stage!
TravelinMom is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 10:22 PM
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Downtown Montreal is Winter Wonderwonderland @ that time of year....especially if they get some snow!! They do a great job decorating for the Holidays. All of the trees with their little lights around McGill make everything look magical!
OceanBreeze1 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 08:44 AM
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I have been to Montreal at the exact same time frame that you're planning to be there, and I'm from Vancouver, which weather-wise, isn't much different than San Francisco.

The kind of cold isn't like anything we get here here on the west coast. It's a very dry, moisture-sucking cold. If the wind blows, it can be painful. During the day it can be pleasant, but at night I wouldn't want to be walking around without some sort of waist-length down jacket and insulated boots. If you're planning to wear jeans, be sure to wear something like tights or long underwear underneath them. A warm scarf, a warm hat that covers the ears, and warm gloves/mitts is crucial at that time of the year.

Saying that, I love Montreal at that time of the year. I find it a lot of fun to bundle up and go for walks outside - it's a novelty to experience that kind of cold for me. However, the best part is that Montreal is totally set up for the cold - people hibernate inside in all the fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, lounges. It's a great excuse to venue hop. And even during the day, you can escape the cold by popping into the shopping centres, which are all connected through tunnels, which are connected to the Metro system.

Have fun!
Carmanah is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Okay, time to start planning a trip. I don't want to drive in the cold/snow, so want to be at a hotel that's located near great public transportation (where I won't have to wait in the cold!) or ideally within walking distance of the best sights. Any ideas?

(We like museums, esp. science-based, not into shopping, and our hotel need only be a clean place to lay down our heads -- no frills necessary)

TravelinMom is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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A lot of Montreal hotels offer a "sweet deals" package with first night at a reasonable rate, second night half of that price.

Given your preference for being near public transit and museums I would say down town would be the best area for you.

The metro system is very good and there is an "underground city" linking it to lots of these hotels and to shopping areas downtown.

RE museums, the science museum is pretty much geared to younger kids. The Biosphere is a better choice for adults/all ages. It is in the old Expo geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller

You might want to re-post with a heading more specific to hotel choice
Vttraveler is online now  
Oct 12th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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I'm taking a month off to travel along the East Coast and up into Canada, what should I see in Quebec? Also do any of these tours sound good to anyone? Tours: I need an opinion.
johnnysegal is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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Quebec City doesn't shut down either; they even have a Carnival in February (which was good fun with plenty of people out when I went despite the 25 below Celsius temperatures... I enjoyed the "ice slide"... but perhaps it was that "caribou wine" talking that kept me happy). Both cities can be enjoyable in the time period you suggest... I live in Montreal and have visited the Vieille Capitale numerous times. If you're lucky, you might even get -5 degree Celsius to -10 degree weather and experience the joy of skating outdoors, on Parc Lafontaine or in the Vieux Port. If you don't have appropriate winter coat (your "winter" coat for SF won't cut it here), thick scarf, gloves, hat and boots (you need traction or you'll fall every few steps), buy some or you won't be happy! Longjohns are not a bad idea if you plan to go out skating.

I love Montreal even in winter, but one must dress for it!

Best wishes, Daniel
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Thanks, everyone. I know it will be a great trip!
TravelinMom is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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johnnysegal - when are you going? Weather is a huge factor as you head north of Boston. There is so much to see and do in Quebec City and Montreal, you could easily split a week between just these two cities. As for the 8 day east coast tour - whew - I was exhausted just reading it! One day bouncing form New York to Philly to DC? They gotta be kidding. Then Niagara Falls to Boston? That is a looong haul. Do a trip on your own and concentrate on one area.
zootsi is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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We are staying at the Frontenac in the Old City in Mid-January 2010. Is there typically snow on the ground then, and is the city still decorated for the holidays? Also, what winter activities are accessible if we don't have a car? We're interested in tubing and other family activities.

maxpaste is offline  
Nov 21st, 2009, 11:06 PM
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If you mean the Château Frontenac in Quebec City, you'll be at the heart of things. There's a slide right next to the château, and there will be snow.
Erick_L is offline  
Nov 27th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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My husband and I plan to take a trip over Spring Break, right now we think Quebec City would be a good choice. Should we plan to spend 5-6 days in the city, or branch out? We want a relaxing trip, and I would like to hear as much French as possible. I have seen the island of St. Pierre suggested on other posts, but I think that would be too expensive and too far to add to the trip right now. Any ideas?
rachaelcraig is offline  
Nov 27th, 2009, 08:22 PM
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maxpaste - There are lots of activities nearby if you don't have a car. If you truly love snowtubing I would recommend the Villages Vacance Valcartier. It is the largest snowtubing park in the area. I've been every February for the last 7 years and I never tire of it. Plan on having a lot of fun. Please dress in layers, but very warmly and you will enjoy the time even more.

I would be truly stunning if there wasn't snow on the ground.

teacherCanada is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 12:28 PM
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My wife and I will be returning to Quebec City with our 7 year old son over the new year. This will be our first time with him but have visited Quebec City numerous times. Although it will be cold, the city remains very lively. You need to bundle up big time. Although it is cold, the city is fantastic. You can walk from place to place. If you get too cold, you can always pop into a restaurant, bar or shop to warm up. We will again be staying at the Chateau Frontenac. Although it is probably the pricest hotel, it is probably one of the best. The indoor pool helps with our 7 year old as well. In front of the hotel is the promenade, high above the saint lawrence river. By the promendade they have ice skating and sledding in winter. If not too cold, we will probably ski a couple of days at Mount Saint Anne. We usually fly to Quebec City since the drive is long from where we live on the east coast. I have heard in winter, the drive between Montreal and Quebec City can be difficult due to snow and ice. You do not really need a car anyway. You can always take a train from Montreal.

I prefer Quebec City to Montreal. Although Montreal is a beautiful city, it does not have the charm that Quebec City Has. There is certainly a heavier French Influence in Quebec City. Both cities are great but Quebec City is something unusual. You could compare Montreal to nicer cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. Much colder and more of a french influence though. If you are able, visiting both might be best. Good Luck. I may see you on the promenade all bundled up.
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