We made last minute plans to drive (5 hours) to celebrate NYE and Dave’s birthday in Montreal. Since we arrived late on Dec 29th, we grabbed some dinner, walked around the hotel area and then returned to chill at the hotel.
We knew the weather would be cold but ‘cold’ was an understatement. Here are the temperature graphs for Dec 30th and 31st.
We had a great city view from our room.
The next morning we walked to the waterfront where the NYE activities would take place. It was cold but at least the sun was shining through the clouds.
After the waterfront, we headed to 'Old Montreal' and walked around the shops where I bought a better winter hat to stay warm. We also found a cafe and ordered hot chocolates and chocolate covered crepes. The cold temperature must have affected my brain because I forgot to take a picture of the incredible desserts.
Dave couldn't resist hamming it up for the camera.
After our chocolate rush, we walked to the Notre-Dame Basilica and stood in line for over 30 minutes to get a look inside. Although the site has housed a church since late 1600s, construction on the present basilica began in 1824 and was completed in 1843. When completed, it was the largest church in North America.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a street fair/park that had NYE festivities, vendors, street merchants, and a few fire pits. Even though it was getting really cold (-2F) we took a few picture where you can see our entire face.
As a pre-birthday treat, we scheduled a massages at one of the local hotel spa. Later that evening we stopped at a few local bars and enjoyed the Montreal nightlife.
On New Years Eve, we walked around the small neighborhoods and then spent the afternoon in the museum quarter. Because it was so cold that day I didn’t bring my camera that day.
Our original NYE dinner plans went astray. Five minutes after we were seated, the restaurant lost power. We stayed for a drink but left shortly afterwards when there was no sign the power would be restored. Fortunately, we were able to find another restaurant nearby; the extreme cold (-5F) had resulted in some unexpected dinner reservation cancellations. After dinner we chilled at the hotel and then around 11pm got ready to leave for the midnight fireworks. Each of us wore thermal underwear, jeans, winter ski pants, a long sleeve jersey, heavy sweater, jacket, hat, scarf, 2 layers of socks, heavy snow boots with gel foot warmers, and gloves with gel warmers inside. We were however, sweating bullets waiting for the hotel elevator.
We were as ready as possible for the -10F temperature. It was a 20‑minute walk to the waterfront but the physical activity kept us warm. Once at the park, we walked around to try and stay warm and listened to some of the performers on the multiple stages. It was crowded; these Canadians are really tough! Montreal was one of the few Eastern Canadian cities that had not cancelled the NYE festivities due to the subzero temperatures. We tried to take a few pictures but discovered the extreme cold had killed the phone batteries. We saved just enough battery power to take a single picture at midnight. Happy New Year 2018 and Happy Birthday Dave.
The midnight fireworks were great. As soon as they were over we walked back to the hotel as fast as our frozen foot would move. It was incredibly cold but it was also a fun and memorable evening. We will definitely plan a warm-weather trip to the city in the future.