It's already January and the cold Canadian weather can sure make these upcoming months seem long and dull. With temperatures nearing the -30 degrees, going out and enjoying the outdoors can seem like an impossible task. Luckily, Montreal is known for its efforts to encourage Canadians to stay active, offering a series of engaging winter events such as Igloofest, Montreal en Lumieres as well as great opportunities to get your blood pumping and break a sweat.
To help liven up your winter experience, here are activities guaranteed you'll enjoy!
1.Work up an appetite while skating to energizing tunes
Dust off those skates and head to the Old Port with friends. Whatever the season the Montreal Old Port never disappoints, offering a diverse range of activities anyone can enjoy. Whether it's salsa dancing in the summer, running through a maze at Peur Depot, going for a sail or soaking up knowledge at the IMAX 3D theater, you are sure to have a great time in this vibrant part of the city! While there, visit the Pepin Shop's Christmas alley, eat a Beaver Tail, or take a food tour.
This winter, the Natrel Skating rink is back gives you all day access to the rink for under 7$. Open Monday to Wednesdays form 10 am till 9 pm and Thursdays to Sundays till 10 pm, move to the rhythm of the music and take a hot coco beak at their Winter Village before returning to the ice for some fun. Check out their website for more fun events such as their Workout on Ice or Dj on ice events.
2.Go for a drive and head to Trois-Rivieres for a sensational skate through their magical forest
If you are willing to go the extra mile (or 2), I recommend this great place in the Domaine de La Foret Perdue which offers a 15 km smooth ice trail through the forest. Skating between the tress is truly a magical experience as you hear the faint sounds your skates make on sinuous path and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding nature.
The site is open from 10 am to 10 pm although keep in mind that the pathway is not lit and having a flashlight in the evenings is recommended for your safety. Located at Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, exploring this icy labyrinth is a very pleasant and relaxing experience. Keep your eyes peeled and listen carefully for you might be able to get a glimpse of the domain's animal residents such as their llama along the way!
3.Seek an adventure ice climbing at Montmorency Falls
Have a blast while you conquer the Montmorency falls. For a limited time, Adventurex offers a great Groupon deal for a thrilling ice climbing experience for one (55$) or two people (95$). Not only will you receive proper training before you begin your mount, but the free parking, full day access and guided ascent definitely make this an exceptional deal. Show off your skills and rise to the challenge!
4.Leave your mark on Mont Tremblant's ski trails
What would winter be without Skiing? Quebec is surely not short on great mountains and skiing opportunities... With such a wide range of places to choose from, you are sure to find one that is right for you!
Take advantage of Mont-Tremblant's vibrant atmosphere, where the music, the restaurants and the lights make a Winter Wonderland. Blaze a path while skiing in the evenings at Mont St-Bruno with a 13+tx deal. If you want a more relaxing experience, both Mont Blanc and Mont St-Bruno offer relaxing scenic routes that can take you up to 30 min to descend.
If you prefer to stay local, grab your gear and head to Mont-Royal for a breathtaking view of the city!
5. Take advantage of Quebec's numerous chalets
No need to book a trip to the Bahamas to have a relaxing getaway. From Aibnbs to Groupon deals, taking a short vacation is affordable, convenient and easy to plan. All you need is a great group of friends, a car and your winter suit. Many chalets are located near towns where you can rent snowshoes, go for a dog sled ride or skate on frozen lakes so ask around for suggestions on what to do in the local area.
If you are feeling more adventurous and want to get out of the country, head to Vermont,USA located at 1h30 from Montreal. The Green Mountain Sate is known for its beautiful nature and picturesque views.
6. Find peace and warmth with a relaxing spa getaway
Treat yourself to a wonderful spa experience and find some warmth in the winter chill. Leave your worries behind while sipping hot tea or cucumber-infused water while you and dip your toes in the warm water of the baths or the Nordic Spa. Breathe in the Eucalyptus scent at the Sauna or let go of the stress with a relaxing massage. Give your body, and mind, a well-deserved break.
Personally, I have booked spa getaways in Mont-Tremblant and at Spa Ofuro, and have not been disappointing. Nonetheless, you don't need to go very far for a relaxing day and can take a quick break in Montreal, at Bota Bota's relaxing Nordic Baths. Enjoy acres for two people to their Water Circuit for 80$ on Sundays after 6 pm.
7. Join the crowd at Montreal's numerous festivals
There is no shortage of great festivals during wintertime.
Montreal en Lumieres
Montreal's famous Montreal en Lumieres festival is held annually from February 22nd to March 4th downtown. Visitors can take part in numerous activities such as zip lining, riding the big wheel, sliding or dancing to the beat of the music while sipping hot drinks. Bring marshmallows to roast on the fire or try out new foods at one of the many food trucks. During the "Nuit Blanche", Montrealers can light up the sky all night with full access to the Metro.
Wear your coolest onesie, warmest gloves and brave the cold from January 18th to February 3rd at Igloofest. With numerous concerts, intricate ice sculptures and hot drinks, don't let winter weather bring you down! Make sure to bring warm clothes as it can get pretty crowded and you won't have space to move around much.
Until January 29th, head to Place des Festivals and take a stroll through Montreal's interactive display guaranteed to elevate your spirits. The display is free and outside.
8. Drive to Nordelec for an amazing time at their Winter Center
You can skate, you can relish in the warm atmosphere, enjoy tasty treats and have a blast. The center is free to residents of the South-West although it is open to all public. Check out this French article highlighting the opening of the center.
9. Have a treat at a Sugar Shack
Fill your tummy with yummy maple goodness at one of Quebec's "Cabanes a Sucre". Going to a sugar shack is a must to get a taste of delicious Canadian maple syrup and great dishes while enjoying the outdoors.
10. Go for a ride at Mont Royal
You can bring your own sled and ride down the Mont-Royal for some great family fun, right here in Montreal! Walk up the mountain, pass on by the Biodome and enjoy the day.
For a full winter experience I suggest you head to the annual Fetes des Neiges at Parc Jean-Drapeau from January 6th till February 7th, where you can go tubing, listen to music, eat delicious poutine, and immerse yourself in the winter atmosphere. Whether young or old, with family or friends, this festival is a lot of fun!