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Québec’s seasonal extremes set the province apart from much of the world. Temperatures can rise above 30oC in summer and drop to -25oC in winter. Visiting Québec during the two “main” seasons (summer and winter) is like visiting two totally different countries, with the seasons influencing not only the scenery, but the lifestyles and behaviour of the province’s residents.


“Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver...”
(“My country is not a country, it’s winter...”)

– Gilles Vigneault

Mid-November to the end of March is the best time for skiing, snowmobiling, ice-skating, snowshoeing and other winter sports. In general, there are five or six big snowstorms per winter. Howling winds often make the temperatures bitterly cold, causing “drifting snow” (very fine snow that is blown by the wind). One bright spot is that though it may be freezing, Québec gets more hours of winter sunshine than Europe.


Spring is short, lasting roughly from the end of March to the end of May, and heralded by the arrival of “slush,” a mixture of melted snow and mud. As the snow disappears, long-buried plants and grass, yellowed by frost and mud, come to life again. Nature’s welcomed reawakening is spectacular.


Summer in Québec blossoms from the end of May to the end of August and may surprise some who think of Québec as a land of snow and igloos. The heat can be quite extreme and often seems much hotter because of the accompanying humidity. The vegetation becomes lush, and don’t be surprised to see red and green peppers or tomatoes growing in window boxes—the temperature is almost high enough to fool you into thinking you are in Mexico! City streets are decorated with flowers, and restaurant terraces are always full. It is also the season when many different festivals are held all across Québec.


Fall colours can last from September to November. Maple trees form one of the most beautiful living pictures on the North American continent. Leaves are transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours from bright green to scarlet red to golden yellow. Temperatures will stay warm for a while, but eventually the days and especially the nights will become quite cool.

Indian Summer

This relatively short period (only a few days) in late fall feels like summer’s triumphant return. Referred to as Indian Summer, it is in fact the result of warm air currents from the Gulf of Mexico. This time of the year is called Indian Summer because it marked the last hunt before winter. Aboriginals took advantage of the warm weather to stock up on provisions before the cold weather arrived.


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