Let’s get right to it: you know what ice skating is and even if you’ve never been to Montreal before, you probably think it’s a good place for it. And you’re right. Here’s a list of places where you can skate arm and arm with a loved one, play pick-up hockey with some goons you just met or just freeze standing up for a while before getting some hot chocolate…
Bonsecours Basin: The quintessential Montreal skating experience, Bonsecours Basin (aka, the Quays of the Old Port), has a huge expanse of ice and a postcard-like view of Old Montreal. Nothing is free down there, though discounted memberships are available, but it’s very well set-up and totes worth it.
Beaver Lake: Alongside Bonsecours Basin, Mount-Royal’s Beaver Lake is perhaps Montreal’s best-known and most beloved skating spot. The ice is almost always in great shape, admission is free, skates and lockers are available for rental, there’s a heated chalet with hot chocolate and coffee and, come on- you’re skating on a mountain!
Parc Lafontaine: This might actually be the best pick for an afternoon of skatery, which is not a real word but should be. There are a couple standard patches for hockey and loop-de-looping, but far more interesting for the casual skater are the meandering ice paths that twist and turn their way throughout the park. Entry is free but skates, lockers and helmets are entirely rentable.
Parc St-Viateur: This little-known gem in Outremont is like LaFontaine, except there’s no spots for hockey- just one totally cute path around a heated cabin that passes under an equally cute bridge. Just please don’t all go at once. You won’t fit.
Maisonneuve Park: Most people might know this park as home to the Botanical Garden and the Biodome, but this massive park is dotted with several rinks especially popular with pick-up hockey enthusiasts.
These are just some possibilities out of literally hundreds of options- by my totally unscientific estimation, no matter where you are in Montreal, you are never more than a 10 minute walk away from somewhere to skate. Between the spots mentioned above, the city’s French-only-but-entirely-comprehensive list and this one assembled by Rinktime.com, you should have no trouble finding a place to get your skate on.