High season in the province of Québec is summer, from June 24 (Jean-Baptiste Day) through early September (Labour Day). Festivals listed in chapters 8 and 15 give you a peek at some of the back-to-back options. In Québec City, the period from Christmas to New Year’s and February weekends during the big winter Carnaval are especially busy, too. Celebrating the holidays a la française is a particular treat in Québec City, where the streets are almost certainly banked with snow and nearly every ancient building sports wreaths, decorated fir trees, and glittering white lights. Just north of Montréal, the Laurentian Mountains do big ski business late Nov to late Mar. Hotels are most likely to be full and charge their highest rates in these periods.
Low season is during March and April, when fewer events are scheduled and winter sports start to be iffy. The late-fall months of October and November are also slow due to their all-but-empty social calendars. But autumn is still a lovely time to visit: walks in the cities’ parks are a refreshing tonic, the trees still have their fall color, and the roads are less crowded for day trips into the countryside from either city.
Temperatures are usually a few degrees lower in Québec City than in Montréal. Spring, short but sweet, arrives around the middle of May. Summer (mid-June through mid-Sept) tends to be humid in Montréal, Québec City, and other communities along the St. Lawrence River, and drier at the inland resorts of the Laurentides and the Cantons-de-l’Est. Intense, but usually brief, heat waves mark July and early August, although temperatures rarely remain oppressive in the evenings.
Autumn (Sept–Oct) is as short and changeable as spring, with warm days and cool nights. It’s during this season that Canadian maple trees blaze red and orange.
Winter brings dependable snow for skiing outside Montréal in the Laurentides and Cantons-de-l’Est and, north of Québec City, in Charlevoix. Snow and slush are present in the city from November to March.
Weather forecasts from the Canadian government are at weather.gc.ca.
Canada’s important public holidays are New Year’s Day (Jan 1); Good Friday and Easter Monday (Mar or Apr); Victoria Day (the Mon preceding May 25); St-Jean-Baptiste Day, Québec’s own “national” day (June 24); Canada Day (July 1); Labour Day (first Mon in Sept); Canadian Thanksgiving Day (second Mon in Oct); and Christmas (Dec 25).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.