January in Canada may be cold, but with lots of post-holiday sales and bargains and few crowds, it can be a good time to visit Montreal, Quebec. Some people actually enjoy the cold and snow, so if you are one of those people, then Montreal offers plenty to do to make the most of the winter season.
Temperature and What to Pack
Montreal has cold, snowy winters. The average temperature is 21 degrees with an average high of 28 degrees and low of 14 degrees. The sub-zero temperatures feel colder because of the wind chill factor. But, the temperatures are not necessarily unpleasant if you are prepared with the correct cold weather attire.
Pack clothing that can be layered. The outdoors is cold, but stores, museums, and restaurants are usually toasty warm. Items to bring include warm, waterproof clothing, like long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, a heavy winter jacket, winter vest, hat, scarf, gloves, umbrella, and insulated waterproof boots.
Montreal is a great shopping city at any time, but January offers exceptional sales as retailers try to unload all their Christmas-time wares. Plus, Montreal has a 20-mile network of connected, underground tunnels that lead to shopping, dining, offices, hotels, and condos, which can keep you out of the cold.
Be mindful of the days that Montreal usually shuts down. January 1, New Year's Day, is a statutory holiday in Canada where pretty much everything is closed. Also, Old Montreal, which is the city's biggest attraction, slows down in the winter months, with some restaurants and shops actually closing for several months.
Within an hour or two of Montreal, you can find some of the best ski resorts that eastern Canada has to offer, like Mont Tremblant. If you are willing to head out of town, these Montreal day trips are a nice way to round out your visit to the Montreal area. Quebec City, the capital of the province, is about three hours from Montreal but is worth the trek.
If you plan to stay put in Montreal, then there are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks, including one at the former Olympic Village and at the Bonsecours Basin near Old Montreal.
The New Year's festivities may be over, but Montreal does not completely shut down afterward. Sure, it may be cold, but there are plenty of things to do in January.
You can plan a day at Fête des Neiges de Montréal, a spectacular outdoor winter festival at Parc Jean-Drapeau, spanning four weekends from January to February.
Or, if you are the mood for checking the latest models of new cars to hit the market, The Montreal International Auto Show is an annual auto show held for 10 days in mid-to-late January in Montreal at the Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center.