Montreal's glacier: Where the snow survived summer

Montreal's blustery winter of 2018 left so much snow that about 175,000 cubic metres still haven't melted at the city's largest snow dump.

Winter never left the Saint-Michel snow dump

See Montreal's 'snow glacier'

4 years ago
Duration 1:20
A giant mass of ice and snow has survived the summer at Montreal's dumping site in Saint-Michel.

The snow fell in the dark months.

It covered the streets of Montreal, at times rising to the height of car roofs as sidewalks turned into sheets of ice.   

Then came spring, thawing our frozen city.

The snow melted, vanishing into Montreal's sewer system and gone until the winter months returned — or so you thought. 

At Montreal's largest snow dump, in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood, about 175,000 cubic metres still hasn't melted.

Montreal's snowy winter of 2019 lives on at Montreal's largest snow dump. (Craig Desson/CBC)

The city says it's the most snow to survive the summer since 2008. 

City spokesperson Philippe Sabourin calls it "Montreal's snow glacier." 

The dark mass of snow and ice, coloured by pollution, would tower above a street of Plateau triplexes.

About 3 million cubic metres of snow was dumped by the city at the municipal pound in Saint-Michel last winter. (Craig Desson/CBC)

It's been melting since the spring, with the water forming a lake that the city drains into the sewer.

Thousands of plastic bottles line the shore, which the city collects and sends to the dump. 

The water from the melting ice mass goes into the sewer where it's treated before flowing into the St. Lawrence River. (Craig Desson/CBC)

"Snow in Montreal is a 12-month operation," says Sabourin. 

The garbage collected during a snow-removal operation ends up at the snow dump where the city isn't able to recycle it. (Craig Desson/CBC News)

About half the city's snow was brought to Saint-Michel last winter. 

The site was originally the Francon Quarry, where thousands of employees used to work. The city bought the land in the 1980s.

In the winter, trucks will dump the snow from platforms that line the lip of the former quarry. (Craig Desson/CBC )

At the city's other snow dumps, heavy machinery crushes the snow that doesn't melt, but here there's just too much snow. 

"It's huge," said Sabourin.