How to make your own New Year’s Eve in Montréal

Jamie O'Meara

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

Just because the boisterous dance parties and other spirited gatherings that usually accompany New Year’s Eve in Montréal are on hold this year, it doesn’t mean the city’s always-deep desire to celebrate is in any way diminished. Here are a few suggestions for putting the happy in your New Year, from the comfort of your own home, or safely with your own family outdoors in neighbourhoods around the city. 

A moveable feast, indeed

An exceptional New Year’s Eve this year requires exceptional eats, and Montréal chefs have really gone all out to offer extra special holiday menus that can be savoured at home sweet home. From three themed boxes and gourmet baskets courtesy of the Marché Artisans in the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, to a chic and festive New Year’s Eve menu from Chef Dany Bolduc’s H4C, to a personalized box for two, four or six people — with foie gras au torchon with gingerbread, salmon gravlax with citrus fruits, and quail stuffed with chestnuts among the choices — from Le Millen, there’s no shortage of next-level dining on your horizon. It’s a great way to celebrate, and one of the many ways support local restos. If you want a New Year's Eve à deux, the hotels and restaurants of Experience Old Montréal are offering special New Year's Eve getaway options.

Get into the spirits of the season

In the absence of your fave New Year’s cocktail bar, assume the role of barkeep yourself and get things shakin’ with a little home-made mixology. Montréal’s exploding craft distillery scene is home to a diversity of imaginative spirits with names as creative as the contents of the bottles, including Oshlag Gin Hibiscus (named for the city’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood), Cirka Terroir vodka (with licorice and caramel aromas) and Distillerie de Montréal Orange Électrique spritz (a gentian-based bitter liquor). We suggest you let Rose Simard, a Montréal entrepreneur and the founder 1 ou 2 Cocktails, provide you with a little (a lot) of mixing inspiration

Rock your New Year’s Eve tunes

If you’re going to play bartender at your New Year’s Eve soirée, you might as well multitask and put your DJ hat on as well. Get your gang cutting the (living room) rug with these great playlists assembled by Montréal artists. Lists run the gamut from disco to hip-hop to jazz, and there are even playlists courtesy of indie music festival Pop Montréal, weekly electro dance party Piknic Électronik and a special holiday mix featuring Montréal musicians.  

Count down to an online concert

Montréal's entertainment scene is gone… gone virtual that is, and December is packed with classical music concerts, holiday-themed shows and film festivals that you can enjoy from the comfiness of your own home. So, prior to watching the ball drop, curl up and catch up on some of the great seasonal, Montréal-based entertainment offerings online.  

Dare to dream

In a normal year, the good folks at Merry Montréal would be organizing a music and fireworks extravaganza for up to 150,000 New Year’s revellers in the Old Port. Alas, this is not a normal year. Undeterred, however, they’ve put together "Rêver ensemble: A New Year’s Show", a talent-packed online concert shot in-studio and at iconic locations around the city, and featuring some of the biggest names in Montréal music including Martha Wainwright, Louis-Jean Cormier, The Franklin Electric, Random Recipe, Pierre Kwenders, KNLO, The Barr Brothers and more. More than an hour long, "Rêver ensemble" (“dream together”) will be broadcast for FREE on Narcity.com and Montrealenfetes.com on December 31 starting at 9:30 p.m. 

Brighten up your New Year’s Eve!

Each winter, art event Luminothérapie shines a little light into our lives with fun, luminous, interactive and contemplative works in the Quartier des Spectacles. This year, until March 28, visitors will discover 10 sound-and-light installations — including zoetrope animations and inflatable shadow-theatre spheres — along a walking route punctuated by comfortable rest areas and winter vegetation. 

Make it a magical day

Get your New Year off on the right foot with a fairy-tale walking journey with you and yours through the Winter Gardens on the Esplanade of Place des Arts. From December 5 to January 3, discover a very special path that will take you to the foot of a majestic holiday tree, relax at the Forgerie or the Fabrique illuminated patios, and be entertained by enchanting performances. 

Why not a midnight walk?

Just in time for the holidays, the city of Montréal is opening 25+1 “winter stations” on major streets in 18 different boroughs. These playful installations, equipped with street furniture and colourful lighting, are intended to brighten up public squares, parks, parking lots and other vacant spaces. The imaginative stations were created by several multidisciplinary teams of local designers and architects, and will provide inviting and inspiring relaxation points for folks out for a leisurely New Year’s stroll.  

Montréal neighbourhoods light the way

Montréal is a true City of Lights all year round, but it shines particularly bright during the winter holiday season as we prepare to ring in the New Year. Alongside bustling shopping streets bedecked in twinkling lights — like Sainte-Catherine StreetSaint-Laurent BoulevardSaint-Denis StreetMont-Royal Avenue and Laurier Avenue — there are also, apart from all of the aforementioned, other unmissable illuminated installations around the city sure to make any walk sparkle. And, thanks to individual Montrealers, it’s been impossible not to notice all the extra holiday lights strung across homes and businesses throughout the city this year, unprecedented and dazzling displays of seasonal cheer in a challenging year, and a warmly lit welcome to 2021. 

Jamie O'Meara

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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