The unusually mild winter season in Quebec has disappointed tourists who came to admire the Quebec winter and seems to have reduced the number of people in the province’s ski centers.

Jean-Philippe Bégin, a meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, points out that last month was the second warmest December on record in southern Quebec after December 2015, with average temperatures several degrees above normal and relatively light snowfall in several cities. The mild conditions led the federal agency to speak of a “false start for winter” in Quebec.

Mild conditions continued into the first week of January in Montreal, where some tourists hoping to enjoy winter weather in picturesque Old Montreal said they were disappointed to be in a gray and damp cityscape.

Yull Navarro, from Guadalajara, Mexico, says he was looking forward to seeing snow during his first visit to the city. But he says he found only one patch of dirty ice on the central square of Old Montreal, Place Jacques-Cartier.

“I was promised snow here in Montreal,” he said. It looks a little dirty because everything is brown. »

Katrina Hercules, born in Ottawa and a long-time resident of California, was also disappointed.

“I really miss the snow,” she testified, pointing to the same pile of ice.

“I live in Southern California, so coming to see the snow is a big part of why I love coming to visit Canada during the winter. »

Golshan Matinfar of Vancouver pointed out trash strewn along some buildings and curbs. “I expected a cleaner city,” he lamented.

Snow usually covers much of the winter dirt until spring.

Last week, Montreal had to rent a street sweeper to help municipal employees in their efforts to manually clean downtown, Tremblay said.

The city may need to consider other ways to adapt with climate change, she added.

In Quebec City, Tourist Office General Director Robert Mercure said weather conditions in December likely reduced visitor traffic to the ski resorts surrounding the capital, which received only 19 percent of their usual snowfall in December, according to estimates.

The city itself was bustling over the holiday period despite a slowdown in hotel bookings as snow gave way to rain, Mr Mercure said. Outside of the city, however, he doesn’t believe tourist attractions saw brisk business in December.

Mr. Mercure thought 2023 would prove to be a record tourism year for the Quebec region, but the lack of snow at the end of December remains a disappointment.

Further south, near the US border, snow and cold temperatures in early December allowed the Mount Sutton ski resort to keep its slopes open throughout the month, but it still recorded a drop in attendance during the holiday season, indicated president and general manager Jean-Michel Ryan. He said the lack of snow in Montreal may have dissuaded city dwellers from making the roughly 90-kilometer journey to the mountain.

In recent years, the ski area has invested several million dollars in its snowmaking systems to prepare for warmer seasons due to climate change, Ryan said.

He thinks that skiers will also have to adjust their perception of winter conditions in Quebec, because if there is no snow in the city, the mountain slopes are still there, he emphasizes.