Get outside and play in Montréal this winter

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

This article was updated on January 5, 2022.
 

When winter hits, Montréal doesn't stop offering great outside activities. From ice skating and sledding to snowshoeing, the city keeps playing all winter long.

Snowy sights

One of the many free things to do this winter, annual outdoor art event Luminothérapie brightens downtown all winter until February 27, featuring interactive illuminated art like giant seesaws, a field of “wheat” and a huge audiovisual whale installation, plus joyful new projection artwork Adventures of the Night on the façade of the Grande Bibliothèque.

From Feb 17 to 27 comes winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, an arts, culture and food event that spans restaurants, indoor stages and a sprawling outdoor site with food, drink, live music, a kids activity area and luminous artworks throughout the Quartier des spectacles. Epic all-nighter arts and culture event Nuit Blanche closes out the festival with an array of activities.

All season, walk (or drive) to the summit of Mount Royal Park to see an iconic city view and discover the park while sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Visit the Montréal Botanical Garden for winter walks through the snowy grounds or a tropical greenhouse stroll.

Skate, ski, snowshoe – and eat!

Ice skate to music next to the St. Lawrence River on the Old Port of Montréal ice skating rink, on the softly lit tree-lined pond in Parc La Fontaine and near the peak of Mount Royal Park at Beaver Lake, where you can also go cross-country skiing or on an expert-led snowshoeing tour along the park's trails. Bring your own skates or rent skates and other winter sports equipment on site. Or comfortably hit the ice indoors at fully-equipped Atrium Le 1000, next to a food court, malls and more downtown amenities. 

Escape across the river to Parc Jean-Drapeau, where you can skate along a 500 metre ice trail, go sliding on the Espace 67 hill, explore the park’s cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails, and even try out fat biking – if you don’t have your own equipment, rent it on site! If you have your own equipment, go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the meandering trails of the city’s large parks, including Parc Maisonneuve, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Frédérick-Back Park, and Parc Angrignon. Take a day trip to go downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Centre de villégiature Tremblant and other mountains in the Laurentians, the Eastern Townships, the Montérégie or in the Lanaudière region.

Whether you’re in the city or the countryside be sure to partake in a real Québécois tradition: the sugar shack (or cabane à sucre), where from late February to early April you can eat sausages, pancakes, tourtière and so much more until you’re full, and even go for a horse-drawn sled ride through the snowy maple woods.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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