Spring is a funny time in Montreal. Sometimes it arrives in March. Sometimes it doesn't. And even if it does let locals show some skin by the third month of the year, the season also bares its subzero teeth, teasing onlookers into submission with sudden snowfalls and mercury drops well into April.
To counter the climatological powers that be, Montreal proposes a plethora of spring events that follow the season's slow, gradual onset, reminding locals while illuminating visitors to the very real fact that apart from some overt social media grumbling, it's gonna take a lot more than a temperature dip to get a Montrealer down.
01 of 14
Before spring even begins to take hold, some of us like to live in denial and pretend we live in a tropical paradise. Thousands of butterflies unleashed in the Montreal Botanical Garden's climate-controlled greenhouses in late winter generally helps with that.
When: Late February to late April
02 of 14
A lot of places in North America celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But Montreal really loves St. Patrick's Day.
It may have something to do with basic statistics. About one Quebecer in 20 claims Irish ethnicity and over 40% of Quebecers allegedly have Irish ancestry somewhere down the bloodline, depending on the historian you consult.
So we celebrate. But not just for a day. Think week. St. Patrick's Week.
03 of 14
Montreal's one and only white party is best known under its original French moniker, Bal en Blanc. And it easily attracts 15,000 people every year dancing to beats spun by a cross-section of the world's top DJs and producers.
When: It was held Easter weekend from 1995 to 2016 but a new team of organizers changed the event's usual indoor format and pushed the dates to May in 2017, holding Bal en Blanc outdoors for the first time in its history. Whether 2018 will be a repeat of 2017 remains to be seen.
04 of 14
The Braderie de Mode Québécoise otherwise known as the Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers is just that: a big fashion sale featuring Quebec designers. The prices can be rather spectacular and discounts can be as steep as 80% off retail.
When: Mid-AprilContinue to 5 of 14 below.
05 of 14
On one day every year, gluten reigns supreme across the Greater Montreal area. That day is called Fête du Croissant, and it's become a spring fixture in the city since its debut in 2012.
When: Late April or early May
06 of 14
The Blue Metropolis Literary Festival is the place to rub shoulders with the emerging and the elite in the publishing world. From authors to photographers, storytellers to illustrators, publishers and literary professionals of all sorts from across the globe gather right here every year, in Montreal.
When: Late April to early May, depending on the edition
07 of 14
Montreal sure loves its Tam Tams. The drum circle tradition in the park has been going strong since the '70s. But it's a spontaneous grassroots event that doesn't have an organizing committee.
So it's hard to predict just when the season starts up as it varies every year. People usually find out if Tam Tams are back up and running by simply showing up.
When: It depends, could start up any Sunday in April or May
08 of 14
We can't say this is Montreal's most popular festival, but the Montreal Chamber Music Festival certainly has its charms, proposing a balance of live classical and jazz performances running over the course of a month.
When: Usually most of May, sometimes spills into JuneContinue to 9 of 14 below.
09 of 14
Electro fans love this event. Piknic Electronik is the ultimate broad daylight open-air nightclub-in-the-park.
When: Late May through late September
10 of 14
Festival TransAmériques is Montreal's leading international festival, if only international festival in these parts, combining both contemporary dance and contemporary theater, three weeks of world and North American premiere performances directed by top choreographers, artistic directors, and playwrights.
When: Late May to early June
11 of 14
Montreal Museums Day proposes free admission to dozens of Montreal museums as it has every last Sunday of May since 1986, marking the May 18th celebration of International Museums Day, a 1977 UNESCO/International Council of Museums initiative revolving around the motto that "museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, co-operation and peace among peoples."
When: Last Sunday of May
12 of 14
Otherwise known as the Montreal Beer Fest, the Mondial de la Bière is one of the city's favorite events of the entire year, a chance to sample hundreds of different brews from across the globe.
When: Early to mid-JuneContinue to 13 of 14 below.
13 of 14
Technically-speaking, the Canada Grand Prix is a spring event since it traditionally falls on a date prior to the the summer solstice. But if there was a Montreal event that heralds summer in the city, this is it, attracting in the upwards of a half a million people primed for a weekend of decadence and debauchery.
When: Usually early to mid June
14 of 14
...things get a little hectic. In a good way.