Despite the drop in temperature, October may be one of the loveliest months to visit Montreal. The summer crowds have long gone, but there is still some bustle to the streets of Old Montreal before the severe winter cold hits and sends everyone indoors.
Only about 40 miles north of the Vermont border, Montreal gets much of the autumn foliage that treats New England, and October is perhaps the best time to see it. Some of the top places for leaf peeping in the city are Mount Royal Park, the Montreal Botanical Garden, the Morgan Arboretum, the 400-acre Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Bois-de-l'Île-Bizard, and Parc Angrignon.
Montreal Weather in October
Throughout the fall in Montreal, the weather is comfortable; it's no longer hot and humid, but also not yet unbearably cold. The average temperature in October is 48 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius), with an average high of 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). Visitors can expect about 10 days of rain in October, though the amount of rain decreases as the month progresses. November is when the snow usually begins to fall.
What to Pack
Because temperatures can be comfortable during the day, but downright frigid in the evenings, it's best to pack in layers. Long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, jackets, and long pants are musts and a heavy fleece or light down jacket may be necessary for evenings. Scarves and hats come in handy for long outdoor adventures or night outings. You should also bring closed-toed footwear—sneakers or other walking shoes—and a pair of boots. If the forecast predicts rain or snow during your trip, consider packing an umbrella and a waterproof shell.
October Events in Montreal
There are endless things to do in Montreal regardless of the season, but the city hosts many special concerts, exhibits, and festivals in October.
- Montreal International Black Film Festival: This annual event brings audiences the latest long- and short-form films by, for, and about Black people, while creating a space to debate major cultural, social, and socio-economic issues. In 2020, it will take place virtually between September 23 and October 4.
- Gardens of Light: Every year from September through October, the Montreal Botanic Garden puts on this enchanting light show. The First Nations, Chinese, and Japanese Gardens are illuminated with culturally relevant displays like a sacred tree, Chinese lanterns, and a path inspired by the seasons. The event has been canceled in 2020.
- Black & Blue: Every October, the Bad Boy Club Montréal hosts a massive, DJ-led dance party geared primarily towards the LGBTQ+ community, but is non-discriminatory and inclusive of everyone. The organizers have raised the possibility of postponing 2020's event. No dates have been announced.
- Montreal Canadiens Hockey: The city's National Hockey League team kicks off their season at the end of September. Games are open to the public, but tickets should be purchased far in advance as they tend to go fast. In 2020, spectators will be spaced far apart if allowed entrance at all.
- Montreal Zombie Walk: The city closes out October with this ultra-spooky, Halloween-themed march. The Zombie Walk features 10,000 "zombies" interspersed with mariachi music, "dismembered human marionettes," a zombie military marching band, and floats. In 2020, it's been canceled.
October Travel Tips
- The second Monday of October marks Thanksgiving in Canada. It isn't as intense as the U.S. version of Thanksgiving—i.e. no big parades or parties—but it does warrant a long weekend. Expect some crowding and for many businesses (especially banks) to be closed.
- The slow October pace bodes well for tourists who don't mind the lull and are eager to score deals on flights and hotels.
- Canada does celebrate Halloween in a similar way to the U.S.: with costumes, pumpkin picking and carving, haunted houses, and other spooky events.