Montreal winters can be cold and snowy indeed, but if you know what to do, wintertime in this city can be pretty magical. Here are four ways Montrealers like to pass the colder days.
1. Mount Royal
In the heart of the city and easily accessible from the Plateau, Mont Royal Park is as beautiful in winter as it is in summer. A place to visit nature without leaving the city, it offers visitors and locals alike a breath of fresh air, exercise, and incredible views from several lookout points. While walking or driving to the top are both valid options, the mountain also has gorgeous cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails. You can rent snowshoes and warm winter gear from Fitz and Follwell, or skis from La Cordée. Visit the website of Les Amis de la Montagne for all the info you need to plan your excursion, including an interactive map.
A uniquely Montreal experience, Igloofest is an outdoor electronic music festival that takes place in the Old Port each January & February for going on 11 years. Featuring some of the best local and international electronic artists and DJs, you’ll find dancing under the stars is one of the best ways to shake off your winter blues. Dress warm/wear your snowsuit.
When: Jan. 12 – Feb. 19
Where: Jacques Cartier Pier in the Old Port
Montreal’s skating rinks can’t be beat. While there are one or more in nearly every neighbourhood, here are a couple favourites that also offer rentals and locker services.
Bonsecours Basin Park in the Old Port has musical theme nights and gorgeous views. It’s especially lovely at night when you get to skate against a backdrop of Old Montreal all lit up. There is an admission fee (6.95$ adults/4.60$ kids) but the experience is well worth the price.
Hours: Monday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. — Thursday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
More Info: (Natrel Skating Rink)
Parc La Fontaine – the pond in the centre of Park Lafontaine is a big open space where you have lots of room to practice your skills. You can also enjoy the meandering pathways through the forest that let you skate among the trees. Free admission.
Location: 3933 avenue du Parc-Lafontaine, above Sherbrooke, below Mont-Royal (map)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Info: call 311
4. Bota Bota
Finally, what better way to unwind from an active day in cold weather than to relax at a boat spa. Bota Bota, Spa-Sur-l’Eau is a Scandinavian-style spa in a boat moored in the Old Port. Featuring saunas, eucalyptus steam bath, outdoor hot tubs, cold showers and bathes, and numerous relaxation areas, this spa offers a uniquely relaxing experience. All while enjoying the special view of the harbour front and city lights of the Old Port.
Website: Bota Bota