MONTREAL — Winter: Bring it on!
Montreal’s great outdoors provide some wintertime family fun.
JEAN DRAPEAU PARK
Returning for its second edition, Jean Drapeau Park hosts the Snow Village, a place where everything is made of ice.
Snow sculptures include an illuminated ice hotel, ice chapel, restaurant and bar. This year’s outdoor theme highlights New York City reproduced in ice and snow.
The Snow Village opens for previews Friday, Jan. 4, and officially opens Sunday, Jan. 13. The Snow Village is open Thursdays to Mondays. The day rate (before 8 p.m.) is $18.50 for adults, or $13.50 after 8 p.m. Discounts are available for seniors, students and children. Hotel stays start at $199 a person. Unless there’s a very early spring thaw, the Snow Village continues through Sunday, March 24. For more information, call (514) 788-2181 or visit www.snowvillagecanada.com.
Jean Drapeau Park also hosts the annual Fetes des Neiges, Montreal’s outdoor winter bash, which celebrates a milestone 30th anniversary this year. The event takes place weekends from Jan. 19 through Feb. 3. The festival offers tons of playtime fun, including an NHL regulation-size skating rink, dog sledding, a skating path with great views of downtown, roaming circus characters, a popular inner-tube snow-sliding course and a zip line.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Site access and many activities are free. Paid activities cost $2 for the zip line, $10 for an all-day inner-tube pass and $12 for a dog-sled ride.
Both the Snow Village and Fetes des Neiges are held on Ile Ste. Helene, which is most easily accessed by Metro station Parc Jean Drapeau. By car, take the exit halfway across the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Call (514) 872-6120 or visit www.fetedesneiges.com for more information.
The outdoor Quays Skating Rink at Bonsecours Basin is now open daily through mid-March. You can skate by day or night, with evening skates offering a special musical theme from 7 to 9 p.m. The skating playlist includes Classical Mondays, World Music Tuesdays, Alternative Rock Wednesdays, Romantic Thursdays, Eighties Fridays, Rhythm Saturdays and Francophone Sundays. Skating hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and until 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Daily access costs $6 for teens, adults and seniors, and $4 for children 6 to 12. Season passes and skate rentals are available.