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Climate

Montreal summers are humid and range from warm to hot with an average Temperature of 22-30 °C. Spring and fall can be mild, but pone to drastic temperature changes. Late season heat waves and even snow storms in November and April are possible. Winter in Montreal usually brings cold, snowy, windy, and, at times, icy weather.

Average temperatures

December (°C) January (°C) February (°C) March (°C)

Average: -5.6
Daily max: -2.3
Daily min: -8.9

Average: -8.9
Daily max: -5.4
Daily min: -12.4

Average: -7.2
Daily max: -3.7
Daily min: -10.6

Average: -1.2
Daily max: 2.4
Daily min: -4.8

Beware the “Wind Chill Factor” — temperatures can feel far lower than they are.

Average snowfall

December (cm) January (cm) February (cm) March (cm)
Monthly: 57.8
Days with snowfall: 12

Monthly: 45.9
Days with snowfall: 13.6

Monthly: 46.6
Days with snowfall: 11.1

Monthly: 36.8
Days with snowfall: 8.3

Dressing appropriately

Things to consider:

  • Length of stay at McGill (exchange, 4-year/2-year program)
  • Budget (how much are you willing to spend)
  • Comfort over style

Boots

  • Look for waterproof boots, with rubber soles
  • Don’t forget about comfort
  • Deals for second-hand boots on Craigslist and Kijiji

Long Johns and thermals

  • Long underwear worn underneath regular clothing
  • Should be tight, but not restrictive
  • Can prevent the need to wear layers

Toques, gloves and scarves

  • You lose a majority of heat through your head!
  • Make sure ears are covered

Protect your extremities!

  • Consider waterproof over knit gloves

Think about a scarf

  • Helps protect from winds

Winter jackets

  • The biggest and most important expense
  • Consider something that is puffy (real or synthetic down) and waterproof (at least water resistant)
  • The higher the down count, the warmer the jacket
  • 700 down count very high (thick, puffy jacket)

Cost

  • Boots: $65 - $200
  • Thermals: $15
  • Toques, gloves, scarves: $30 - $90
  • Winter jacket: $100 - $500

Total: $210 - $805

For more information about being "winter ready", take a look at ISS's Winter 101 presentation.