Montreal’s white nights and hot events

Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal is transformed into a snow globe thanks to mother nature. (Julia Pelish/

Swirling snow transforms Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal into a virtual snow globe during the Montréal en Lumiére and Nuit Blanche festivities last weekend. (Julia Pelish/

Photo by Julia Pelish Visuals Editor

MONTREAL, QUEBEC — In Montreal, winter comes alive with outdoor festivals that linger well into the chilly nights. This past weekend marked the end of Montréal en Lumiere, one of the world’s largest winter festivals that happened to overlap with the all-nighter arts festival, Nuit Blanche. Nuit Blanche offers revellers the opportunity to explore and discover the city through innovative art installations, often with bright lights that are enticing to partiers of all ages.

En Lumiere, meanwhile, adds a mix of music, gastronomy and theatre. Throw in the NHL game between the game’s two fiercest rivals, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, and yet another snowstorm and March certainly lived up to its reputation, roaring in like a lion.

Montreal was buzzing and in the wee hours when I arrived at 1 am at Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal, I was surprised to discover a virtual tranquility zone after so much sensory overload. I knew immediately when I turned the corner that what was right in front of me was the picture I had wanted to take all night.

The falling snow was enchanting and I grabbed my Nikon D7000 out of my backpack. Since I did not have a tripod I set the ISO to 4000 (extra light sensitive), the aperture to f6.3 at a 60th of a second. Hoping for the best, I pushed the shutter. The definition of the snowflakes is due to the illumination of a street lamp, which was above me. I was worried the high ISO would be too extreme to capture anything decent but in the end it seemed to actually enhance the image’s mood with the grainy softness. It certainly evokes a nostalgic yesteryear feeling that I always love to capture and after seeing so much visual extravaganza all night this simple show by Mother Nature turned out to be my favourite visual moment of an eye-catching weekend.


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A photographer who has worked in the largest media markets in Canada and the U.S., Julia’s travel photos and videos have been featured prominently in the Toronto Star and been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, New York and Vancouver. Her new line of photo jewelry was inspired by her travels. Even though she is an American, one of her favourite travel experiences was spending Canada Day 2000 on Parliament Hill, joining in a parade with then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien and others. Julia is’s Visuals Editor. See her work at

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