A love letter to Montreal

All that talk of how cold it is in Canada doesn’t actually prepare you for how cold it is in Canada when you first arrive. 

The slush that seeped into my shoes when I walked around the city for the first time wasn’t exactly the welcome I had expected, nor the teeny tiny steps that I had to take to avoid slipping on the ice. They told me that it’d be cold but I hadn’t thought that I’d lose all feeling in my hands and feet when I went ice skating one bitterly cold weekend. Or that I’d trudge through a snowstorm and end up with ice in my hair and on my glasses.

And yet, despite the snow up to my knees and the falling down on my morning walks to my biweekly classes that commence at 8:30am, I still appreciate Montreal in all of its crazy, beautiful, temperamental weather. 

At first, it’s the snow blanketing the city, and the first snowfall where I stood out in the streets with my tongue out, fully aware that I looked completely crazy to the locals. Then it’s the pure, simple joy of just making footprints in the snow. Then it’s finally the Uber ride in the aftermath of a snowstorm, where the city is sparkling from fresh snow and all of a sudden my breath is taken away by the sight of Montreal at night. We drove by a park where a happy couple bathed in the gentle yellow light, and they were twirling, twirling until they were out of sight. Sure the cold weather bites hard, but it does give back. I do think that would be the night when I fell in love with you, Montreal.

You’re always glimmering, glistening, always promising something new.

That weekend of ice skating, despite my lack of foresight and forgetting to wear thermals in -14 degree weather (please don’t be like me!), was one of the most memorable weekends I’ve had so far. Being raised in Singapore, where the heat doesn’t quit, ice rinks bring to mind indoor rinks in malls, not outdoor forests boasting 12km of skating goodness. Forest Perdue, known rightfully as the enchanted forest, truly takes your mind away from the city, and even if you’re not a good skater, you’ll probably be pretty decent after hours of practice! We ended the day by being shuttled back to the city in those little yellow buses that you see in the movies. What the movies don’t tell you though, is that these buses don’t have very good heating. Brr!

So maybe all that cold isn’t too bad after all, if it results in gems like the enchanted forest.