Big ice in the park
Ice skating stands out as one of the highlights of Montréal's many winter activities because it's a great way to see the city and its people while getting some exercise that'll add a rosy glow to your cheeks. Go for a skate at the refrigirated Beaver Lake ice skating rink in the famed surroundings of Mount Royal Park and on the natural ice surface in beautiful and quaint Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau neighbourhood – you can rent skates and get skates sharpened at both parks. Or try the pro-sized BLEU BLANC BOUGE refrigerated outdoor rink at Verdun's Willibrord Park, which also offers skate rentals. This winter, Parc Jean-Drapeau launches a special program of winter activities, including new Skater's trail – if you don’t have your own equipment, rent it on site!
Neighbourhood outdoor rinks
If you have your own skates, head to the pond in Parc Jarry near Little Italy and along the wide ice paths in Parc Maisonneuve (near the Montréal Botanical Garden and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium). Many smaller city parks also feature charming outdoor skating rinks and boarded hockey rinks, such as Parc Saint-Viateur in Outremont, Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier and Parc Jeanne-Mance in the Plateau and Parc Toussaint-Louverture near the Saint-Laurent metro station downtown. Starting from February 21, you'll also be able to enjoy the new refrigerated ice rink at Esplanade Tranquille, in the Quartier des spectacles, that will be able to welcome up to 400 skaters (plus there will be a multifunctional room for lockers, rentals, etc.)
(For information about outdoor skating rink conditions, check the Ville de Montréal Website.)
Riverside in Old Montréal
The Old Port of Montréal ice skating rink is one of Montréal's most picturesque, with views of Old Montréal's historic architecture, including the neoclassical silver dome of Marché Bonsecours and the angels atop Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (the one in the middle is the “Lady of the Harbour” in Leonard Cohen's song Suzanne), La Grande Roue de Montréal, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and beyond. Among the city's biggest refrigerated outdoor rinks, it opens in early December and doesn't close until winter's over in mid-March, amping up the on-ice fun with DJ nights, cardio workouts, karaoke and other themed events. You'll also find skate rentals for all ages, lockers and Bistro Bonsecours, where you can warm up, sip hot chocolate and have a snack.
When you're off the ice and cozy at home, watch the Montréal Canadiens NHL team in action. And learn about Montréal's history as a port city (on a river frozen part of the year!) in exhibitions at the Pointe-à-Callière museum, Centre d'histoire de Montréal and Château Ramezay in Old Montréal, at the McCord Museum downtown and at the Musée de Lachine along the Lachine Canal.
Get the free application Patinoires Montréal to locate ice rinks nearby (indoor and outdoor) and to know more about their conditions.