Everyone in both cities always ask me what the differences are regarding temperature and weather. Here’s the answer to the former. I have checked the average temperatures for both cities and there is a 5F (3C) degree difference from Chicago and Montreal. That may not seem like much and for most of the year it is not. It is summer and winter where the difference is most notable.
For instance, this summer when we were in Chicago the temperature was an oppressive 40C (104F) degrees. You can’t do anything in that type of heat. We were even sweating in the pool. At the same time, in Montreal it was 36C (96F). Still hot, but good swimming weather and you can still do stuff outdoors.
Part of the difference is not as much the increase in actual temperature as the number of days above or below a certain temperature. Here in Montreal, the summer temp gets above 30C (86F) only 8 times on average. Whereas it is for weeks in Chicago.
The biggest difference is of course the cold. The temp stays below freezing for many more days and more consistantly here in Montreal. So the snow doesn’t go away whereas in Chicago there is alot of winter thawing. The benefit is that it always stays white and you have more opportunities to enjoy winter sports. You are not guessing which weekend in February will be good to plan a ski trip away from Chicago. Here you are rest assured there will be snow, just not necessarily ideal conditions.
Lastly, an interesting note is the relativity. People in Chicago can’t imagine temperatures of -30C (-22F), while some Montrealers found this summer of about 12 days above 30C (86F) to be difficult.
Personally, I really enjoy summer temps between 25C (77F) and 30C (86F) so I really like it here. For the winters, we stocked up on warm clothes (Kanuk coats and long underwear) and I was able to endure -50C (-60F) wind chills during a business trip 500 miles north of here last winter. I’ll write something about that later in the season.