When one thinks of ideal times to visit a city like Montreal, most wouldn't consider the middle of February to be high on the list. The city sits stoically under a blanket of snow and the wind's icy touch was a constant reminder of the season, both of which caused me at times to question my sanity as I wandered the streets over the course of my stay. While I'm sure the city comes to life under the warmth of the summer sun, there's something to be said about the charms of trudging through the empty streets as the crunch of freshly fallen snow crackles below your boots.
I can't pretend that my visit to Montreal in the midst of winter's grip was intentional - it was entirely based on the extremely low priced airline ticket I found for a quick weekend getaway from Chicago. This worked out in my favor though, as the city was hosting its annual Montreal en Lumiere over the few nights I would be in town. It was a great opportunity to see the city during a time when other visitors would be occupied with the festival. I still wanted to enjoy the festival myself, but I did take the opportunity during the day to sneak off to a few sights in order to enjoy them sans crowds.
I've added a small selection of my favorite photos from my long weekend in Montreal below. I hope you enjoy them!
A view of the Montreal en Lumiere festival as the sun slowly sinks behind Mont Royal.
A lone ice skater wanders away from the rink in the Old Port section of the city.
A snow storm rages over Old Montreal as seen from the Notre Dame Basilica.
A Canadian flag flutters in the winter wind near the Old Clock Tower along the Saint Lawrence river.
Montrealers enjoy sweet treats and hot cider in the old section of the city.
Ice skaters enjoy the seasonal weather as the sun starts to sink in the city.
A faded maple leaf graces the wall of a warehouse.