© Eva Blue
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 a warm-up area.
© Eva Blue
On the ice downtown
In the heart of downtown Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles and just steps from cultural performance hub Place des Arts, Esplanade Tranquille transforms into a skating rink from mid-November to March. Visit the illuminated outdoor rink at the corner of Saint-Catherine Street and Clark to ice skate to music day or night, pick up a few tips from instructors, and maybe even see a surprise performance. Bring your own skates or rent them there!
© Susan Moss
High atop Mount Royal
See a different side of Montréal's most famous park during the winter months, when Mount Royal Park boasts an outdoor refrigerated rink at Beaver Lake, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, snow tubing and more. Starting in mid-December, rent ice skates, skis and snowshoes at the park from nature stewardship organization Les amis de la montagne in the Beaver Lake Pavilion. Grab a map and explore on your own – the view from the Kondiaronk Belvedere is just as photo-ready and breathtaking in winter (and when you catch your breath again, you'll be able to see it – so “Instagrammable”!). Or go on a nature-inspired, eco-friendly tour with Les amis de la montagne to learn more about the park's history and ecology and meet some locals too.
© Susan Moss
A slice of nature in the Plateau
A charming natural ice rink lit softy all winter, with a fountain at its heart and surrounded by trees, the Parc La Fontaine ice skating rink is definitely unforgettable. Once the pond's surface is solidly frozen, locals and tourists of all ages can be found skating along the rink's meandering path, day and night. Rink-side, you can rent ice skates, pick up a new toque and mittens, and even take a skating lesson. Whether you're on a romantic couples getaway or looking for outdoor things to do with energetic kids, take advantage of the park's proximity to restaurants and stores on Rachel Street, Mont-Royal Avenue and Saint-Denis Street, where you can fuel up before or after skating or pick up a snack.
© Myriam Baril-Tessier - Société du parc Jean-Drapeau
Winter wonders in Parc Jean-Drapeau
In summer, it's a green oasis and festival venue just across the Saint-Lawrence River from the Old Port, while in winter Parc Jean-Drapeau welcomes nature lovers and winter sports enthusiasts. The refrigerated Skaters Trail lets you skate among the trees and see views of the city along the way, while snowshoeing trails offer a wintery way to explore the park – rent equipment on site with Patin Patin. Meanwhile, inside the Biosphère environment museum’s Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome experience exhibitions and activities designed to connect us with nature.
© Denis Racicot
Adventures in the city's South-West
Skate like a pro hockey player at BLEU BLANC ROUGE refrigerated outdoor rinks at Parc Willibrord in the Verdun neighbourhood (so many good restaurants!) and in Parc Hayward in LaSalle and Parc de la Confédération in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce – they're bigger than most rinks because they were built to match official National Hockey League size by the Montréal Canadiens Children's Foundation.
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
A unique winter experience at Parc Frédéric-Back
Thanks to La TOHU, you can borrow cross-country skis, snowshoes and even kites for free to enjoy winter at Parc Frédéric-Back, one of the largest parks in Montréal with skiing trails in winter and biking and walking trails in summer. First come, first served for rentals.
Libraries that lend out more than just books
Thanks to the City’s Parc actif program, you can also borrow snowshoes, toboggans, spikes and walking poles at 4 of Montréal’s public libraries.
© Tourisme Montréal, Mario Melillo
Indoor days downtown
For a change, or if the weather's particularly cold, head indoors to the lively atmosphere of Atrium Le 1000, a skating rink located in one of the city’s tallest buildings, Le 1000. A windowed glass dome lets natural light onto the ice, while seasonal lighting and year-round events maintain a festive mood. Atrium Le 1000 also plays music to skate by, offers rentals and skating lessons for kids and adults, features a food court with several restaurant options and can be conveniently reached through the Underground Pedestrian Network from Bonaventure metro station.