Celebrating Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Spread some Christmas cheer without costing a penny by attending any one of the festive events below.
From a visit with Santa Claus himself, to a candlelit walk along Mont Royal Ave, check out 25 free Christmas events to attend this December in Montreal.
Santa is back at Complexe Desjardins this Christmas! Head on over this downtown mall and marvel at Santa, his elves, and of course the grand carousel going round and round. While meet Santa or going on a carousel ride will set you back $2, being in the vicinity and watching the fun is enough to spread Christmas cheer.
When: November 19-December 24
Where: Complexe Desjardins
Make your way down Mont-Royal Ave for this traditional torchlit walk. Following a Christmas sleigh, this event attracts nearly 10,000 people each year. Better yet, it culminates in Christmas in the Park, which features an enchanting holiday village filled with activities and treats for the whole family.
When: December 1-24
Where: Avenue du Mont-Royal Est
The biggest holiday craft fair in the city, Le Salon des metiers d’art de Montreal takes place annually at Place Bonaventure. Everything on display has been handcrafted by Quebec artisans, and even if you can’t shop, it’s a great place to do some browsing.
When: December 8-18
Where: Place Bonaventure
Join City Council members around the Christmas tree at City Hall in Westmount for the magical lighting of the tree. There will also be carol singing, hot chocolate, and Christmas cookies!
When: December 1
Where: 4333 Sherbrooke Street West
This winter festival right in the heart of the Olympic Village is one of the biggest Christmas attractions in the city. Featuring ice skating, snow tubing, an outdoor bar, and plenty of restaurants, there is tons of fun to be had at this snow-filled paradise. Last year’s village was open from mid-December until mid-January, though the dates aren’t confirmed yet for the 2016-2017 year, it will most likely open before Christmas. Check the website for updates.
Where: Olympic Park
If you’re sick of shopping in chain retail stores, then the souk @ sat is for you. This annual market highlights the coolest creations that Montreal has to offer. Sixty local artists come together under one roof, displaying everything from designer clothes and accessories to jewelry, CDs, and toys. There is guaranteed to be something for all tastes and budgets at this massive holiday fair.
When: November 29-December 4
Where: 1201 Boul St-Laurent
Boasting perhaps the most picturesque rink in all of Montreal, the Bonsecours Basin outdoor skating rink will be up and running this December. Though the exact date is TBA, you can expect it to open in early December and to remain open all winter long. Bring a hot date or your closest friends and enjoy a magical night of skating under the stars to holiday tunes.
When: Early December 2016-March 2017
Where: Old Port
Montreal’s very own Macy’s, La Maison Ogilvy always has an incredible CHristmas window display. Opened on November 11th, be sure to stop by the historic department store on Sainte Catherine the next time you’re walking downtown. This year’s display features bunnies and other adorable furry friends.
Where: 1307 Sainte-Catherine Street West
Discover German gastronomy and learn about traditional Christmas celebrations at the German Christmas Bazaar. There will be German-inspired gifts, decor, and food at this one-of-a-kind event thrown by the German Society of Montreal.
When: December 3
Where: 90 Avenue Roosevelt
The second edition of Le Grand Marche de Noel is coming to Montreal this December. Taking over Place des Arts for the entire month, this German-style Christmas market will feature food trucks, a Santa’s Cabin, Elves Workshop, and Santa’s Sleigh. There will also be carol singers, karaoke, storytime, and an all-night party on New Year’s Eve. Finally, the market part will feature a range of locally produced gifts available for purchase including arts, crafts, jewelry, artisanal cheese, alcohol, clothing, chocolates, baked goods, and toys.
When: December 12, 2016 until January 2, 2017, for more scheduling info click here
Where: Place des Arts
Attend the annual Christmas parade at Plaza St-Hubert. On Friday, December 2nd, Caisse Desjardins De Lorimier-Villeray presents the Magic of Christmas. The 12th edition of this family-friendly parade, this year’s event will feature fire trucks, marching bands, floats, dance groups, and of course, Santa and his elves.
When: December 2
Where: Plaza St-Hubert
The Stewart Museum’s magical Christmas exhibit opens on November 16th. The exhibition will showcase 30 Santa figurines and a Szalasi doll castle that comes to life when music plays. Admission to the museum and the special holiday exhibit are free.
When: November 16, 2016-January 8, 0217
Where: 20 Chemin du Tour de l’isle
Join your neighbours on a festive Christmas carolling expedition around Westmount. The carolling will take place at the Westmount Lawn Bowling Club House, where soft drinks and mulled wine will be served. The event is by donation and proceeds go towards Chez Doris, The Open Door, and the Old Brewery Mission.
When: December 11
Where: Westmount Lawn Bowling Club House, 401 Avenue Kensington
Head to this historic church in Old Port for some old-fashion choir singing. Just in time for the holidays, Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is putting on six shows that are totally free to the public. Be ready to sing some Christmas carols!
When: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18
Where: Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, 400 Rue Saint Paul E
The Puces Pop Fair is coming to Montreal this December for their annual Winter Edition. The 2016 Winter Edition will take place over the course of two weekends, December 9-11 and December 16-18. This arts & crafts fair arrives just in time for the holidays so you can get your Christmas shopping on. All of the vendors will be local and they will be selling everything from soap and teacups to clothing and maps.
When: December 9-11 and 16-18, Fridays 3 pm-9 pm, Saturdays 11 am-7 pm, Sundays 11 am-5 pm
Where: Eglise Saint-Denis (5075 Rivard, corner Laurier – Laurier Metro)
Head to Old Port this holiday season and enjoy a slew of free activities, ranging from a New Year’s Eve party to outdoor yoga. Stroll through the market, set up in Place Jacques Cartier, and you’ll find gourmet food, warm drinks, artisanal crafts, and local art. If you’re a movie buff, be sure to attend the Outdoor Holiday Cinema in which festive family films will be screened.
When: December 1-24
Where: Old Port of Montreal
TOHU Cite des Arts du Cirque is once against hosting their Christmas Village. The theatrical venue will be transformed to a mecca for all things Christmas. Last year’s event featured an outdoor skating rink, Santa’s workshop, authentic Christmas market, illuminated Christmas tree, and a village tavern. Check the website for updates on the schedule for the 2016-2017 year.
Where: 2345 Rue Jarry E
The 37th edition of CBC Montreal’s Charity Sing-In will be taking place on December 11th. This year, Montrealers far and wide are invited to attend the Christmas carol-singing fundraiser at the Church of St Andrew and St Paul. Proceeds of the 2016 event go towards the West Island Community Shares, an organization that provides services to those in need and raises money for 40 different non-profit groups on the West Island.
When: December 11
Where: Church of St Andrew and St Paul
Three Montreal parks will be turned into a holiday paradise this December thanks to Festival Noels Dans Le Parc. Taking place from December 1st until Christmas Day, each of the three participating parks will be filled with holiday activities like marshmallow roasting, bonfires, gift stands, Christmas tree stands, and of course, Santa-sightings.
When: December 1-25
Where: Place Emilie Gamelin, Parc Lahaie, Parc Parc Des Compagnons De Saint-Laurent
Hosted by the Church of St Andrew and St Paul in Montreal, Carols by Candlelight is an annual Christmas tradition in which the church’s choir sings Christmas carols all night long. Accompanied by a candle-lit procession, choral music, readings, and meditation, this event welcomes Montrealers everywhere.
When: December 18, 7pm
Where: 3415 Rue Redpath
It’s never too late for a little holiday shopping. On December 10th and 11th, the Etsy community in Montreal will be hosting a special holiday market at the Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve. In addition to a plethora of goodies from local Etsy craft-makers, there will be a craft shows running throughout the day. Support local talent and get your shopping done all in one go!
When: December 10-11
Where: 4200 Rue Ontario Est
Think of Luminotherapie as the 21 Balancoires of the winter months. Set up in Place des Festivals every year, Luminotherapie is an interactive art installation with featuring bright and twinkly holiday lights. Comprised of thirty seesaws that light up and play music, the event invites Montrealers to take part in their very own winter playground.
When: December 8, 2016 – January 29, 2017
Where: Place des Festivals
Back for its second year, the Fontaine Boreale show will take place at Complexe Desjardins. This immersive and multi-sensorial experience combines water and light to bring you regularly scheduled shows that are sure to mesmerize.
When: November 19-December 31 at 4:30 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, and 10 pm
Where: Complexe Desjardins
Hosted by Les Grands Ballets, the Nutcracker Market is a fun and festive Christmas shopping market that will take over Palais des Congres starting November 26th. Nearly 100 exhibitors will be participating at this year’s market, all of which have agreed to donate 10% of their proceeds to the Nutcracker Fund for Children. If you’re in a need of a gift for the foodie in your life, look no further. There will be a whole gourmet foods section selling everything from French macarons and candy to olive oil and popcorn.
When: November 26-December 6
Where: Palais des Congres
Ice skating on top of Mount Royal is simply magical. Each year, Beaver Lake freezes over and Montrealers are invited to skate on this iconic pond. If you have your own skates, this activity is totally free. If not, you can rent skates from the chalet for $9
When: December 3-March 12, 2017
Where: Beaver Lake, Mount Royal