Montreal — The Joys of a Record or Near Record Snowfall

Tatiana Androsov
3 min readJan 30, 2023

That is for a tourist, one who came here in November hoping for the white and being told that it usually really only comes in a appreciable amount in February. That was not good for someone leaving just as that month was beginning!

Well, somehow, that is not how it turned out. There was snow again and again starting in December, a kind of present for this guest. Of course, it meant that it was harder to go for that morning run, but then, a way was found around that — long walks, each one lasting over an hour and covering some five kilometers, that is around three miles.

In the beginning one had to do it very early, as the city is incredibly well equipped to deal with snow, having snowplows not only for the streets but also for the sidewalks. By noon, things turned brown with only the sides having white. Yet, mother nature was playing a game. As time went on and January came, the layers of snow could not all be removed. Today the walk was taken in the afternoon, as children left school. Once beyond the main streets, the white took over and only the weight of previous boots paved a glorious, wiggly path.

With the snow came reading, reminding one of college days in New England, when quasi tunnels led one to the classroom. An American with what she thought was great knowledge of her neighbor, discovered she knew very little. A historical novel about the first woman shoemaker in the area, was eye opening, not only bringing out the life in the small towns in the second half of the nineteenth century but laying out the precariousness of life in those times, with more than half of her children dying before they reached the age of five.

Then, surprise of surprises, there was the discovery that a beautiful mansion, a museum across the street from the city’s botanical garden, had been the home of her two sons, and that the family had played an important role in the development of the part of the city where it stood and where the daily walks were taking place. As snow continued to fall, another walk to look at the outside of that museum, took on a different meaning, making it imperative to walk inside the botanical garden, which had first been visited in the summer six years before.

The city, the neighborhood, which was a delightful mix of various people, from poor to well to do, with a giant secondhand store, as well as high end grocery store, with running trails and parks, with factories still producing goods, while others were empty or turned into apartment houses, took on a special meaning. This was not America, not France. This was Montreal with its history, with its type of French, with many of its residents coming from all parts of the world.

Today, it was snowing again and for the second day in a row, and though reading another giant historical novel, one about the wife of one of the leaders of a movement that led to the 1837 rebellion, a walk was important, a walk through streets that had become familiar but were different because the human machines could not lift all the beauty of the white powder that had settled everywhere. This was almost a last walk, at least for this time, a walk through Hochelaga and Maisonneuve, neighborhoods which had touched the heart of this temporary resident.

The books, by the way, are in French. One is La Cordonnière by Pauline Gill and the others, as there are two volumes, Le Roman de Julie Papineau: La Tourmente and L’Exil by Micheline Lachance. For me, one of whose mother languages is French, that is the way it should be. However, I do wish that an English translation existed, as both books can teach so much.



Tatiana Androsov

A novelist on the sea of life coming, cresting and breaking having traveled near & far from a post WWII immigrant childhood to a UN world of poverty and riches.