As the semester barrels closer to a cold case of the post-add-drop blues, many students should keep the restorative effects of outdoor gatherings in mind. With assignments creeping up and readings growing heavier by the second, students are faced with the prospect of staying indoors––hunched over a laptop or set of notes––under increasingly dark nights. But, despite the autumn breezes waving goodbye to the fleeting summer, these last days are ever more important to spend some moments outside. The McGill Tribune shares the keys to a successful and warm fall hangout, perfect for those last-minute and spontaneous get-togethers.
Winter (but, first fall) is coming
Having delusions about the changing weather––the oft-recited “it’s not that cold”––won’t prevent you from catching a chill. Come dressed for the weather: Pretend you’re jetsetting to Paris by wearing a cute and/or homemade scarf, find your heaviest, lumpiest sweaters and make them your friends, and don a jacket, especially one with a hood if your ears are delicate. If you’ve got a hearty tote bag, fill it with extra garments. You can share items like hats, gloves, and oversized hoodies with friends who underestimate their tolerance for bitter weather, and you can adjust your outfit with the layered look. And remember, it’s still a pandemic, so your masks will also provide warmth while operating at full protective capacity. Once the sun starts setting earlier and earlier, it’s the North Pole in Montreal––and don’t kid yourself: The street lights at Jeanne-Mance will not warm you up.
Let’s say that you’re planning this event ahead of time. You have friends from classes, a few new acquaintances you’ve met from extra-curriculars, and maybe even a co-worker you’re hanging out with at Park Jarry or Square St. Louis. Dressing for the occasion sometimes just isn’t enough. A thermos and some prep in advance can cover you here. Switch out your icy water bottle for a well-steeped thermos chock-full of mint tea. If you want to cosplay as a detective staking out their suspect in the mysterious London pub of a mid-century British novel, consider making a hot toddy. All you need is whiskey, hot water, lemon, and honey. Even though it’s a classic beverage, don’t hesitate to swap out the whiskey for apple cider and spices—ginger, cloves, and cinnamon work wonders.
Beyond beverages, there is an endless amount of hot meals you can bring along that are also fun to share. Take advantage of the harvest that comes with the new season and the farmer’s markets that signal the end of summer. Root vegetables, all kinds of greens, and pumpkins can make healthy and filling soups. And if your desired outdoor hangout spot––Parc La Fontaine––is close to where you live, bring the pot of soup or stew with you. Depending on where you live, you can pick up a nice, crusty loaf from Mamie Clafoutis or rich challah from Cheskie’s for the side on your way over to your group. Imagine the memories, and potential memes, you can make: You’re the host who doles out bowls in the park.
Transcend the typical
One thing to keep in mind while spending time outside is that, though the challenges of meeting in fall conditions seem exorbitant, there are benefits that you can easily embrace. The weather, for example, might make you pull out your fall wardrobe, but you won’t have to worry about leaving on the AC. Don’t romanticize the hot summers where leaving the house can be a tiresome, and far too sweaty, affair. Remember, you can take walks, strolls, and go for more challenging runs and hikes with friends where, even when bundled up, you won’t be doused in sweat.
Make the most out of Montreal’s beautiful landscape––including Mont-Royal’s numerous trails––by going outside when you are not burdened by overwhelming heat and crowds. Keeping active will also keep you warm while you’re catching up between breaths, learning more about each other, and taking some much-needed time for yourself.