Montreal weather is known for being unpredictable and extreme in many instances. Although the climate in Montreal is technically classified as humid continental (or hemiboreal), it oftentimes defies generalizations because of its position at the confluence of a number of different climatic areas. The city of Montreal is located in the southwestern portion of the province of Quebec. The city occupies most of the land space on the island of Montreal, which is where the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers meet. The port of Montreal opens up into the St. Lawrence Seaway, the primary route from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.
Residents of the city will tell you that there are four distinct seasons in Montreal. Summer is the most popular time of year for tourism in the capital Quebec, when hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the “City of Festivals” for major events like the International Jazz Festival, Just For Laughs, Festival International Montreal en Arts, and the Montreal Grand Prix. Summers tend to be hot and humid. If you won’t mind hot Montreal weather, the best time to travel to the city may be the summer, especially when it comes to all of the things there are to do and see. Average high temperatures in the summer barely breach 80 degrees and average low’s do not tend to drop below 60 degrees. Although the tourist traffic is at its greatest during the summer, the range of activities and access to water sports make this a great time to be in Montreal.
The winter represents the opposite extreme. Whereas it is hot and muggy in the summer, it is generally cold and windy, with heavy precipitation including snow and ice. The average high temperature is below 30 degrees. The coldest temperature on record in the history of Montreal is 40 degrees below zero. If you are planning a trip to Montreal during this time, you will want to be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing and gear to combat the elements, especially if you intend to do as much sightseeing as possible. Just because it is winter does not mean you have to miss out on popular attractions like the Montreal Biodome or Museum of Fine Arts. Just dress the part and you will be more than fine.
The seasons of spring and fall are much more mild and temperate, but are more prone to major fluctuations in temperature. These are the seasons when you can also expect the greatest amount of precipitation, generally in the form of rain, although it is not uncommon for the snow to continue to fall into early spring as well. (Summer also experiences a good amount of rain, although it is also the sunniest season). Indian summers are also not uncommon in the latter months of fall. For those who prefer more mild weather and less tourist traffic, the best time to visit Montreal is arguably in either the fall or spring.