Summer in the city: Montreal has been wetter and cooler

Global warming is putting waterfront homes and their values at risk

In summer, Montreal residents take to the city’s many urban parks, including Mont-Royal. Photograph: Getty Images

In summer, Montreal residents take to the city’s many urban parks, including Mont-Royal. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Montreal’s summer runs from mid-June to mid-August. However, over the past 10 years, warm to hot days stretch into late October or even early November.

This summer has been wetter and cooler than usual – causing flooding in some of the west end waterfront suburbs. Since Montreal is an island, global warming is putting waterfront homes and their values at risk.

Montreal has some smog days and heat warning days, but not that many. Usually there’ll be no more than three 30 degrees Celsius days in a row and then the temperature will drop back to the mid-twenties.

We can have spectacular summer rain storms that turn the air black with rain for 15 minutes and then the sun comes back. In midsummer, the sun rises at 5am and sets about 9pm. We don’t have long midsummer days and lingering dusks.

I live east of the downtown core, close to a large and well landscaped park, one of Montreal’s oldest. In summer, the park’s several hundred trees are in full bloom. Under the canopy, the temperature is about 10 degrees cooler than on the street.

Montreal’s roughly two million trees translates into a 20 per cent canopy cover, which helps us to breathe easier and stay cool during the summer.

The city has several artificial beaches including this one at the Montreal clock tower with the Molson brewing company and Jacques-Cartier Bridge in the background. Photograph: Getty Images
The city has several artificial beaches including this one at the Montreal clock tower with the Molson brewing company and Jacques-Cartier Bridge in the background. Photograph: Getty Images

I do tai chi in the park in the mornings while more energetic souls jog, and individuals and groups go through workouts, egged on by military style personal trainers . There are outdoor yoga groups at lunchtime.

In the afternoons, people play baseball and softball, soccer, Frisbee, beach volleyball, and other assorted lawn games.

From Wednesdays on, the park is party central, with barbecues, picnics and much beer and wine drinking. After the parties are over the “cleaners” move in. They are usually people who collect empty cans and bottles for the deposits. Some cleaners clean up: they can rake in $20-$30 per day in empties.

Summer is the season of shorts and sandals and the jettisoning of much outerwear – for better or for worse. It is a time of festivals, of jazz, laughs, fireworks, cinema and free outdoor concerts. It’s the F1 and now the E – for electric – FI.

If festivals are too crowded and the F1 too fast paced, there are lots of terraces where you can eat lunch or dinner, or just drink a coffee or beer, and people watch.

Summer means enjoying Montreal’s 600km of bike paths and its 19 large urban parks where you can hike, picnic or just sit and look at the water.

I once missed the sea, and sea breezes, the smells of salt and seaweed, the long midsummer days and lingering blue white twilight, the smells of the fields and hedges after rain and the rainbows.

Now I don’t miss these, I’m happy with my Montreal summer.

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