Montreal

Where are the warmest and the coolest places in Montreal?

The good news is that there are plenty of spots to escape the hot days.

Parks with greenery and tree cover are shown to be the coolest places on this map

Montreal's La Fontaine Park is a good place to cool off if you are looking for a break from the heat. (Martin Thibault/Radio-Canada)

Summer means heat waves, and cities can get unbearably hot thanks to the urban heat island effect. The concentration of asphalt and concrete traps in heat, making urban centres significantly hotter than natural areas.

It's easy to see on a map. The Satellite readings from CERFO, a forestry research centre in Ste-Foy, Que., clearly shows which parts of Montreal are hotter relative to others.

The good news is that there are plenty of spots to escape the hot days. 

Here are 13 sectors across the Island of Montreal that are both cool, and offer a vast swath of trees and activities during the hot summer months.

See a larger version of the map here

A quick warning: the map does not show exact temperatures, only relative differences. One cannot say, for example, that it's 32 C in a red zone or 25 C in a blue one.

Angrignon Park

3400 Blvd. des Trinitaires


Bois de Saraguay Nature Park

9150 Gouin Blvd. West, Cartierville 


Cap Saint-Jacques

20800 Gouin Blvd. W., Pierrefonds


De la Promenade-Bellerive Park

9200 Notre-Dame Blvd. E.


Jarry Park 

St-Laurent Boulevard, Villeray 


La Fontaine Park

Sherbooke Street East


Mackenzie-King Park 

4955 Côte-des-Neiges Blvd.


Mount Royal Park

Avenue du Parc


Pointe-aux-Prairies

​14912 Notre-Dame Blvd. E., Rivière des Prairies


Pie-XII Park

5217 Lavoisier Blvd., Saint-Léonard


Quai-de-La Tortue Park

LaSalle Boulevard, Verdun


Terra-Cotta Park 

204 Belmont Ave., Pointe-Claire


William Cosgrove Centennial Park

3000 Lake St., Dollard-des-Ormeaux


Why is it so warm in the city?

The urban heat island effect is caused mainly by three features of cities:

  • Low tree cover.
  • Dark materials, like tar and asphalt that absorb sun rays and radiate heat.
  • "Canyons" created by tall buildings that trap in heat.

Roofs made from dark materials and streets can reach temperatures as high as 80 C during very warm days, according to a report from the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

Montreal can sometimes be 12 degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas due to a combination of these factors.

The number of days of extreme heat is also expected to spike due to climate changes, according to Natural Resources Canada. In Montreal, there are about nine days per year where the temperature is above 30 C. Natural Resources Canada predicts that by 2070, there could be as many as 27 days where the temperature breaks 30 C.

What can be done to reduce heat in urban centres?

There are many ways to mitigate heat islands. These include:

  • Planting more trees.
  • Adding vegetation to parking lots.
  • Paving roads with light-coloured material.
  • Covering building walls with plants like ivy.
  • Green roofs or replacing dark roof material with light or reflective surfaces.
  • Turning more alleys into green alleys (12 boroughs have specific plans on this).

Methodology

The temperature map was created using data from CERFO, which used images from the SPOT-5 satellite and surface temperature readings from the Landsat-7 satellite. A total of 67 images were collected over six years, always during the summer months.

CERFO developed a mathematical model to combine surface temperatures from low resolution readings (100x100 metres per pixel) onto high resolution images without thermal data (20 metres).

The map does not show absolute temperatures, but relative temperatures in urban areas.

The prediction model has a margin of error between the real and predicted temperature. The overall accuracy was assessed at 67 per cent. CERFO believes that this margin of error of 33 per cent is satisfactory given the extent of the territory analyzed (all of urban Quebec), which has a wide variety of terrains, such as Montreal and Gaspé.

The data is published in the Quebec government's open data portal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roberto Rocha

Journalist

Roberto Rocha is a data journalist with CBC/Radio-Canada.

photos by Martin Thibault/Radio-Canada

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