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 the 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.
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.
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 percent of Quebecers allegedly have Irish ancestry somewhere down the bloodline, depending on the historian you consult.
So they celebrate. But not just for a day. Think week. St. Patrick's Week.
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.
On one day every year, a few weeks after Easter, 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.
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.
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
It may not be 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 May, sometimes spills into June.
Piknic Electronik is the ultimate broad daylight open-air nightclub-in-the-park. Thousands of genre fans turn out each year to groove to the electronic music blasted across the grounds of Jean-Drapeau Park, located minutes from the center of the city.
When: Late May through late September
Festival TransAmériques is one of Montreal's leading international arts festivals combining both contemporary dance and contemporary theater. The three weeks during the festival showcases World and North American premiere performances of works directed by top choreographers, artistic directors, and playwrights.
When: May 22-June 4, 2019.
Montreal Museums Day provides free admission to dozens of Montreal museums as it has every last Sunday of May since 1986. The gratis entry is a 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: May 26, 2019.
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. There are also seminars and workshops to educate fans taking a break from the hoppy fun.
When: May 22-25, 2019.
Technically-speaking, the Canada Grand Prix is a spring event since it traditionally falls on a date prior to the summer solstice. But if there was a Montreal event that heralds summer in the city, this is it, attracting upwards of a half a million people primed for a weekend of decadence, debauchery, and daredevil driving.
When: June 6-9, 2019.