Yesterday in Montreal

The first snowfall in the city found it unprepared. This wouldn’t happen in Chicago; what’s with the Montrealers?

The story of this accident (nobody was hurt) appears on the CBC News; the accident was witnessed by Colin Creado, who works in an office on. . . well, you read the story.  A snippet:

One by one, buses, cars, a police cruiser and even snow-clearing vehicles slid down Côte du Beaver Hall [JAC: a street] toward Viger Street and collided with each other. Police say no serious injuries were reported.

Colin Creado works at Aimia, a marketing and analytics company on Viger Street at the corner of Beaver Hall.

. . . Creado said even he didn’t expect the roads to be so slippery, and he was on foot.

But he said today’s snow was forecast so he doesn’t understand how this happened.

“You would have thought … they would have salted the area or at least cordoned it off, because that road is pretty steep,” he said.

The City of Montreal wasn’t immediately available for comment.


h/t: Anne-Marie


  1. busterggi
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Its gonna be a long stupid winter.

  2. merilee
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I hate to bring out the Schadenfreude but Montreal has been known to be very snarky towards Toronto about their lack of snow-preparedness.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


    • rickflick
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Where there are tears, there is also joy. 😉

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      [Waiting for Schadenfreud to get out his club.]

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      And all of Ontario even (despite the fact that the north is way snowier than Montreal). Just because the Mayor of Toronto called in the army that one time in the 90s, the rest of Canada has never let us live it down. It basically goes like this:

      Montreal: The people of Ontario are snow wimps
      Ontario: No we aren’t, the people of Vancouver are snow wimps!
      Vancouver: Meh.

      • Merilee
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        There was NOwhere to put the freaking snow during that storm in the 90s, especially in downtown Taronna. The army trucks had to haul it away, to who knows where…

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          Yeah I remember meeting friends for dinner then and having a big of a time finding parking along with the street cars, etc. I thought it was smart to get the army in as ambulances weren’t able to get through.

          • Merilee
            Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            Even around High Park, where my then-bf lived, there was chaos.

      • Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        We got 1-2 cm of snow yesterday (first time in 3 years!), and half our public transportation shut down. Apparently Vancouver buses can’t operate in the “extreme temperatures” of 0C (literally one of the excuses). Others just gave up mid-route and dumped people off because they wouldn’t be able to make it up a hill. And this was with the city making preparations and salting roadways all weekend (they must have forgotten the hilly parts).

  3. Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    We’re in Ottawa, and it was deceptively slippery yesterday. It took my daughter 2 hours to do a half hour journey to work. So yeah, the snow was expected but not so much the slippery conditions. Still not an excuse though.

  4. merilee
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    whoops, boxes now checked

  5. Kevin
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    That was a pleasant video as far as 2016 goes.

    When it snows we do not let the kids go to school in the bus…they walk.

    • Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      that’s probably wise, although I hope you tell them to keep an eye out for sliding buses.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        The pedestrians in the video looked like they were quite amused and not too much danger. My kids take trails when they walk…and no buses, but bears and coyotes. 🐻 🐕

  6. Billy Bl.
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Yes, unusual for Montreal, probably associated with the budget for snow removal. Vancouver virtually shuts down with only a dusting of snow – many people don’t even bother to use all-season tires let alone proper winter tires.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      When I flew to Vancouver last January to visit my son ( and newborn first granddaughter) in Whistler I could not get a rental car with snow tires, despite there being a requirement for snow tires on the Sea to Sky highway north of Squamish in the winter! I ended up with an all wheel drive suv and left early for the airport during a snowstorm on the way home. Fortunately I was right behind the snowplow between Whistler and Squamish. You’d think there’d be a high demand for snow tires with people flying in from all over to ski at Whistler! I guess a lot of people take the bus.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure. I’m from there originally, and my parents tell me that public works and the like are as dysfunctional as ever …

      I love the city and the area still, but local(and provincial) politics are annoying, to put it mildly.

  7. ascanius
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It must be the fault of SJWs.

    • Posted December 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      …them being special snowflakes and all 🙂

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink



  8. Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    “Please stay calm everyone, I have called the police, and a snow plow is coming too.”

    • nwalsh
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink


      • Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        “…And another bus will be arriving shortly.”

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:15 am | Permalink


  9. Simon Hayward
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “It wouldn’t happen in Chicago” may be true – but it’s flat here, the nearest hill feels like it’s two states away (more if you go west!)

    • starskeptic
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      It wouldn’t happen in Chicago because Michael Bilandic, not because it’s ‘flat’…

  10. rickflick
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The crashes make me wince when I think someone might have gotten between and betwixt the mess. 😦

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Rick Mercer’s Rant on Winter Driving

    He did a funny skit last week too but I can’t find it now. It was about how everyone forgets how to drive in the winter every year.

    • Lars
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, true. You really notice it in Calgary, because snow removal here is very lackadaisical and the streets acquire a fine glaze pretty quickly. But still, when winter starts for real, it’s obvious that a large number of people lost their winter driving reflexes during the warm weather, even though they had about six months to burn them in the previous winter.

  12. Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that is seriously slick!

    I’ve driven in (serious) snow in: Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin. Including lots of hills.

    The very first day I got behind the wheel of a car to drive for the very first time, in Minnesota, there was 6 inches of new snow on the road (the driving instructor was not amused – I did fine).

    That just looks amazingly slippery. Look at the police car, basically just sliding due to gravity (no real vehicle impetus a the top of the hill) and it just keeps right on sliding. Even the sand truck! Nobody is behaving incorrectly there, seems to, except that maybe they should have all avoided that hill altogether.

    I used to get a laugh out of the SUV drivers descending the mountain passes in Washington in snow storms, eyes bugged out, brakes locked up, hands locked and immobile on the wheel, pirouetting as they slide uncontrollably down the road, caroming off the barriers on either side. Or, I used to laugh as long as I was out of their range of impact.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      “That just looks amazingly slippery”

      Mostly because the slope in this part of Beaver Hall street is very steep. It was slippery because of a thin crust of ice covered by snow but the street should have been cleaned better than that.

      BTw, the green car that avoid accident in the video is an electric one (and also a cab).

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that looks like a layer of snow on top of ice, I think.

        I did like it when the grit truck slid down there, still gritting.


  13. eric
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Cote do Beaver Hall sounds more like something Cruella de Ville would wear than a street in Montreal.

    Stay safe, northern bretheren!

  14. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    What is more pleasant than seeing a police car going sideways? Why, a police car going backwards (under Newton’s laws). Schaden is well and truly freuded. And yes, I have done the “car curling” myself (I like the round of applause – disappointed applause – the van driver who comes to an unassisted stop gets).
    A week or so ago I was reminding the wife to watch out for fog on her way to the orifice. It’s been a few years – 4 or 5 IIRC – since we had an efficient culling of the gene pool with a good big multi-car pile up in a fog bank. Well overdue for the next one. M1 southbound between approximately Northampton and Milton Keynes is a popular cull site.

  15. William Bill Fish
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Quebec is a French only province. The weather report came from Canadian Weather (Environment Canada) usually in French and English. The French report wasn’t sent to Montreal and no one there understands English anymore. They didn’t know the snow was coming. FYI: Quebec is the only jurisdiction in the world that doesn’t use STOP signs. Even France uses STOP signs but Quebec uses ARRET signs!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      What!? Montreal is strongly bilingual even among the anglophones

      The rate of bilingualism among Montréal Anglophones is estimated to be in excess of 67% with a rapidly growing number among them able to speak three or more languages. It is now common to hear the children of Vietnamese, Italian, Haitian and Arab immigrants speaking French with a distinct Québécois accent, as well as English and their own mother tongues.

      • Billy Bl.
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        I lived there for a few years and was always impressed when a group of teenagers would have a conversation on the bus – half spoke French and half spoke English, but everyone understood everyone else.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Bilingual people often do that. Most Pacific Islanders here in Auckland are effectively bilingual, it’s quite common to hear, for example, some organiser addressing a group about travel arrangements, drop into English for half a sentence then back into Rarotongan without any pause.


          • Merilee
            Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            Speaking of Pacific Islanders, we struck up a conversation with two Fijians a number of years ago while hiking in Canyonlands NP, in Utah. they were 30ish, built like Sumo wrestlers, and living in Germany. What we found interesting is that they were speaking to each other in German.

          • Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

            I heard that sort of thing amongst Cuban Americans in Miami, FL. Seamlessly flowing within a single sentence back and forth between English and Spanish. Very charming, IMO.

            I had a Colombian colleague here at my workplace. She had (still has, went to another job) excellent English; but sometimes would get stuck. When I spoke to her, I’d sometimes throw in Spanish words that I knew she would know better than the English equivalent. She never noticed, I think! 🙂

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Once again, Quebec is ‘more French than the French’.

      Those ‘STOP’ signs in France amuse me, for some weird reason. I recall I was reconnoitring the route out of Lyon on Streetview (preparing for my first ever driving visit to France, hiring a rental from Lyon Part-Dieu station) and I quite literally did a double-take. ‘Down Ave Lacassagne, right at Stop sign into Blvd Pinel, – what was that???’ And I had to back-track to confirm that I’d really seen what I thought I saw.


  16. Joe Dickinson
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I once drove down the Snake River Canyon below Jackson Hole when the weather shifted from snow to a light rain. Soon, a layer of water on top of packed snow made an incredibly slick surface. Three or four cars, creeping down the valley, simultaneously lost traction and went into a sort of slow motion ballet, spinning gracefully around and between each other. Miraculously, there was no contact and we all ended up at various places in the snowbanks on the sides of the road. I tried to get out and see if everyone else was OK, but literally could not walk up the slight slope to get from the shoulder to the road. I don’t actually remember how we ever got out of there.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      I had that experience many times in the Pac NW.

      My car would drive (slowly) on the slightly iced road; but I could not stand on it!

  17. George
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Montreal averages 82.5″ (209.6 cm) of snow a year. Chicago averages 37.1″ (94.2 cm) of snow a year. Chicago’s record winter snowfall was 89.7″ (227.8 cm) in 1978-9. So Chicago’s worst winter is an average winter in Montreal. I was around for that winter – we barely survived and elected Jane Byrne mayor as a result.

    So I am not about to make fun of Montreal for weather related problems. Chicago’s winters are similar to NY and Boston – slightly colder but also slightly less snow. We are not as tough as we like to think we are.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I think Toronto is around 10″ more than Chicago a year so really about the same. Ottawa and Montreal get way way more snow. Also, we are starting Spring when they are still having snow.

    • starskeptic
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      That video represents lack of preparedness – not differences in annual snowfall.

  18. Paul Clapham
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Typically Montreal gets snow in cold weather, so they don’t have wet snow mixed with slush. And so typically they don’t appear in the news because cold snow is easier to drive on.

    Whereas Vancouver (where I live) gets snow in temperatures right around freezing so you’ve got a layer of wet snow which is very hard to drive in.

    But now, perhaps due to global warming, Montreal is starting to get Vancouver snow. I predict more occurrences of bad snow driving in Eastern Canada.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      “Whereas Vancouver (where I live) gets snow in temperatures right around freezing so you’ve got a layer of wet snow which is very hard to drive in.”

      Yes, exactly. I have lived for long periods in Minnesota and in the Pac NW. When the snow comes in the Pac NW (rarely down at sea level), it’s much harder to drive in.

  19. kamamer
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Ah. Canadians. For some bizarre reason, we think every winter will be the last winter ever. And we promptly forget how to drive in winter.

  20. Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Hey, you live in a country that denies evolution and climate change…we live in a country that denies winter comes every year…

  21. Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Beaver Hall is *extremely* steep. Any slipperiness is going to be a disaster, as apparently happened. Though that looks to be *above* the steep part, if I recall.

    Also, from what my parents’ told me, it isn’t the first snow.

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