We’re not going to try and pretend it’s not true: we have a reputation for our nippy winters.
But Montrealers are brave folk. We refuse to stay cooped up in our homes because there is a bit of snow on the ground. Instead we use the fluffy white stuff to our advantage!
Here are five free* ways to enjoy the winter wonderland in Montreal.
*We’re using the word “free” because there is no access fee the activities or festivals. In most situations equipment rentals are available, should you decide, for example, not to bring your ice skates in your carry-on luggage.
One of our favorite locations to glide across frozen water is at Parc Lafontaine (because it’s free!), but there are a whole slew of options available to exercise the inner Johnny Weir. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to warm your fingers afterwards with some decadent cups of hot cocoa. And while skating at Old Montreal’s Atrium Le 1000 is not totally free, this sweet deal on tickets makes it pretty dang close.
HIGH LIGHTS FESTIVAL (February 17 -27)
Ladies take the spotlight for the 12th edition of the HIGH LIGHTS Festival, entitled “Celebrating Women”. Leading ladies of the arts and culinary worlds from here and abroad have been invited to brighten up Montréal’s wintry skies with their creative brilliance. It’s like Lilith Fair for your mouth.
Head to Mount Royal. Put on your cross-country skis (or rent a pair at Beaver Lake) and forge into nature along a number of relatively easy trails for both beginner and intermediate skiiers. In some parts of the park, it’s easy to forget the hustle and bustle of the city at the foot of the mountain. If you get lost, just walk south and hail a taxi.
LA FÊTE DES NEIGES DE MONTREAL (January 22 – February 6)
A great winter festival where families are invited to play outdoors in the magical setting of Parc Jean-Drapeau. Whether it’s walking along the Parc’s trails or strolling through the very festive Allée Carnavalesque, tube-sliding, playing boot or ice hockey, kicksledding on snow or skating alongside the river, La fête des Neiges promises a wealth of memorable moments. Three consecutive weekends, from January 22 to February 6, 2011.
Children of all ages enjoy throwing themselves down icy hillsides! At the top of Mount Royal, this safe and affordable activity offers hours of fun. Tobogganing is free if you bring your own sled (or rent from Beaver Lake pavilion, main floor). Many sledders enjoy the groomed trails down the slope on Placide Hill on the eastern side of the park.