Montréal lights up winter

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December 15, 2011 – The mercury may be dropping and the snowflakes beginning to fall, but that doesn’t mean that Montréal hibernates. On the contrary, the city comes alive with tons of things to see and do all winter long!

Snow Village
In a city that defies Old Man Winter (and then some), it only seems fitting to find an icy urban retreat: for the first time ever, Montréal hosts its very own Snow Village in the Parc Jean-Drapeau until March 31! An impressive complex constructed entirely of ice and snow, the Snowvillage includes a 25-room hotel, four heated igloos, a heated panoramic igloo, a bar, a restaurant, a conference centre, a terrace, boutiques and, of course, an ice chapel – after all, what winter wonderland is complete without wedding bells? There’s even a section with five saunas, ideal to relax and enjoy a frosty drink at the same time! And the creature comforts don’t end there: enjoy fine dining with local flavour at the Pommery Ice Restaurant, or kick back in an igloo and enjoy a nip at the Amarula Ice Bar that features live entertainment and an ironically warm atmosphere! Sure, you’ll need to bundle up, but won’t it be a winter tale to remember?

What do you get when you mix a rave, an igloo, and a one-piece snowsuit? Montréal’s Igloofest, of course! An annual outdoor event where the urban wildlife comes out to play, Igloofest on the Jacques Cartier Pier is nine crazy nights of unbelievable electronica music, light show extravaganzas, and tens of thousands of revellers who band together for one sizzling outdoor party in the deep of winter. With headliners featuring the best of the international house music scene and an outlandish one-piece snowsuit competition, this one-of-a-kind festival burns the winter blues away from January 12 to 28.

An 11-day festival that celebrates gastronomy, performing arts, and music, the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE festival is a key annual event that showcases light and conviviality as well as gastronomic and cultural excellence. Now in its 13th year, the festival runs from February 16 to 26 in Montréal’s new entertainment district, the Quartier des spectacles. The Wine and Dine welcomes fine wines producers from the states of Washington and Oregon as well as some 20 chefs and chocolate makers from the Wallonia-Brussels region to share their local delicacies with festival-goers, both on the festival site as well as in several Montréal restaurants. The Performing Arts component features an exceptional programme of internationally-renowned talent in a variety of disciplines. The Celebration of Light, a very popular part of the festival programme, takes place outside: skating, sliding, fireworks displays, live music, dances and shows are but some of the many free outdoor activities for all to enjoy. To wrap it all up, the Montréal All-Nighter is a hoot for night owls: museums, event halls, theatres, restaurants and bars across the island stay open ‘til the wee hours of the morning in a city-wide indoor and outdoor party!

La Fête des neiges outdoor family festival
La Fête des neiges in Parc Jean-Drapeau is Montréal’s annual celebration of family snow fun. Presided over by beloved mascot, Boule de neige (a polar bear named Snowball, of course!), the city’s largest outdoor winter festival runs for three consecutive weekends from January 21 to February 5 and includes everything you’d expect from a wintry Montréal festival: tubing, skating, zip-lining, snowball fights, zany outdoor entertainment plus a host of other activities to make for a great day out with the kiddies.