Are you sick of winter? You’re not alone.
That being said, winter does bring a slew of fun and exciting activities to the city that you just can’t experience any other time of year.
We’re talking about snow sports, maple syrup festivals, unique museum exhibitions, and massive outdoor concerts.
To help you cure the winter blues, check out 31 things to do in Montreal before winter ends.
Montreal’s own urban sugar shack/maple syrup festival is back for the 7th year in a row. Officially called Cabane Panache Et Bois Rond, all the sugary goodness of a Quebec cabane a sucre will be coming to Promenade Wellington between March 23rd and March 26th, 2017. Last year, more than 55,000 people from all over Montreal converged on Promenade Wellington for four days of maple syrup and wood cabin glory, and this year will likely be no different. The traditional event will feature square dancing, log-throwing, two-man saws, six francophone concerts, and of course a maple syrup feast. We’re talking about maple taffy, sugar pie, pancakes with syrup, and even maple cocktails.
When: March 23-24, 5-9pm, March 25-26 11 am-5 pm
Where: Promenade Wellington, 266 Rue Hickson, Verdun
Old Port has decided that they will be opening the MTL Zipline all winter long, which means you can soar through the air any weekend you like. This is the first time ever that MTL Zipline has opened during the winter and we can’t wait to take advantage of this momentous occasion! One trip on the MTL Zipline costs $19.99 for adults or $16.99 for children. Located at the Clock Tower in the heart of Old Port, don’t miss your chance to fly like Superman and marvel at the scenic wintery landscape beneath you.
When: Every weekend this winter, 11 am-5 pm
Where: Clock Tower, Old Port
The Montreal Botanical Garden’s annual “Butterflies Go Free” exhibit is back for another year. Taking over the Main Exhibition Greenhouse from February 23rd until April 30th, 2017, visitors can step into a humid tropical oasis that will make you forget all about winter. As you take in the fragrant flowers and diverse greenery, hundreds of stunning butterflies will fly around you. Feel them as they lightly brush your arm mid-air or examine them up close while perched on a flower.
When: February 23-April 30, 2017
Where: The Montreal Botanical Garden
Although the bustling urban city of Montreal is not home to any sugar shacks, you won’t have to travel far to get an authentic Quebec experience. Whether you love the horse-drawn carriage rides or the plethora of maple treats, there are plenty of reasons to visit a sugar shack this winter. Typically open from late February to April, some of the best (and closest) sugar shacks to Montreal include Sucrerie de la Montagne, Cabane à Sucre Au Pied Cochon, and Cabane à Sucre Bouvrette.
When: End of February to mid April
Where: Various locations
Montreal-based fitness company, POP Spirit, is hosting a series of outdoor yoga sessions this winter. Aptly titled POP Yoga Neige, classes will take place between January 7th and March 12th in Parc Lafontaine and Parc Wilfrid Laurier. All classes are free to the public and boast top-notch instructors. All you have to do is bring your own mat and dress warmly (and we mean, really warm). Happening every weekend until March 12th, classes start at 10:30am sharp and last for roughly 40 minutes. Saturday mornings sessions will be held at Parc Lafontaine and Sunday mornings they will be held at Parc Laurier. Time to start practicing your downward dog in sub-zero temperatures!
When: Sundays between January 7 and March 12, 10:30 am
Where: Parc Laurier and Parc Lafontaine
Starting January 28th, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will open a brand new special exhibition on world-renowned painter, Marc Chagall. The exhibit, titled “Chagall: Colour and Music,” explores the importance of music in Chagall’s life. It will be multidisciplinary, featuring over 400 works ranging from sculptures and paintings to photographs and films. In addition, puppets, costumes, stained glass windows, maquettes, and gouaches will be on display. According to the official site, “Music was a constant source of inspiration” for the Russian-French artist. “A favourite subject for his creations, it served as an internal rhythm and driving force for his compositions, and a key to the intensity and range of colour in his work.”
When: January 28-June 11, 2017
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Friday Nocturnes are back and better than ever. While the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Nocturnes of the past have been pretty great, they are seriously stepping it up for 2017. Introducing a brand new concept for their Nocturne evenings, MAC will be open past midnight, during which time visitors are invited to stroll through exhibitions, watch a live performance or attend a gallery talk, and indulge in some appetizers and drinks. Artists and curators will be in attendance, as well as DJs, churning out music until the early hours of the morning. There will be four Nocturnes held in 2017: February 24, May 5, September 15, and November 17.
When: February 24, 2017
Where: Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art
Pointe-A-Calliere is hosting their annual Port Symphonies event this winter. The event is comprised of a series of special musical shows that utilize urban sounds such as those by the ships and locomotives in Old Port. 2017 marks not only the 23rd edition of Port Symphonies but also the 375th anniversary of Montreal. As such, the performance will be inspired by Jeanne-Mance et Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve’s arrival in Montreal back in 1642.Composed by Quebecoise-European singer and songwriter, Sonia Paço-Rocchia, this is sure to be one for the ages.
When: Sundays at 1:30 pm, February 26-March 12, 2017
Where: Pointe-a-Calliere, Old Port
Get in a serious workout while enjoying the fresh outdoors. Cross country skiing is a popular activity amongst Montrealers, whether they’re heading to nearby Mount Royal or the Montreal Botanical Garden (the latter of which boasts 3 kilometers of groomed trails and serene surroundings).
When: December 20-March 15, 2017
Where: Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke Est
In case you hadn’t heard, Montreal is currently home to the Barbie Expo, the largest permanent collection of Barbie dolls in the world. Montrealers have the chance to see and Instagram over 1,000 one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls. The Barbie dolls on display are not your average Barbie dolls, however. Rather, Barbie Expo is an exhibition of haute couture with Barbie as the model. As the website states, “This is Barbie seen at her fashionable best, a stunningly beautiful collection chicly modeled by the 11½-inch fashion icon.”
When: Open Monday to Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays from noon to 5 pm.
Where: 1455 Rue Peel
Cinema du Parc are the proud hosts of an Oscar-nominated film festival happening this February. Starting February 10, 2017, Cinema du Parc will be screening all of the Oscar-nominated movies in the following categories: Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short. Ten films will receive a prestigious Academy Award nomination in 2017, and we can’t wait to find out more so we can grab our tickets to this awesome local film fest!
When: February 10, 2017
Where: Cinema du Parc, 3575 Av du Parc
If you still haven’t been skating in Old Port, now’s the time! Not only is the weather warming up making your skating experience that much more pleasurable, but skating is a great form of exercise! Bring your own and hope on the ice or rent a pair at any one of the city’s many rinks. For more information on skating in Montreal, click here.
When: Early December 2016-Mid March, 2017
Where: Various locations
Bringing you all the benefits of the tropics, from swaying palm trees to hot and humid temperatures, Bora Park is the place to be this winter. Part of vacation complex, Valcartier, Bora Park is an absolutely massive indoor water park. Better yet? It’s less than 3 hours from Montreal making it the perfect weekend getaway spot. The 102,000 square foot indoor waterpark features a 14,000 square foot wave pool, 14 slides (5 of which are over 50 feet tall), a lazy river, a family pool with activities for young children, a double surf wave, and a restaurant terrace that overlooks the complex.
When: Monday to Sunday, 9am-9pm
Where: Bora Park, 1860 Boulevard Valcartier, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QC
The grand opening of Quebec’s completely redesigned Hotel de Glace has come and gone, and boy are we more excited than ever at what they unveiled! Comprised of 44 icy rooms and suites, a bar, a sugar shack, and a myriad of crystalline ice sculptures, Hotel de Glace is basically Elsa’s ice castle from Frozen come to life. The 2017 theme is Northern Perspectives and has taken inspiration from the North Pole. Open from January 4th to March 26th, the Hotel de Glace moved to a new location in 2017, becoming part of Valcartier Vacation Village in Valcartier, Quebec. Situated roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes from Montreal and just 35 minutes from Quebec City, a visit to Hotel de Glace sounds like a pretty good way to cap off your winter adventures.
When: January 4-March 26, 2017
Where: 1860 Boulevard Valcartier, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QC
The Montreal Science Centre is currently hosting an insane exhibition that allows the public to see exactly what lies inside the body of an animal. The Body Worlds exhibit, aptly titled Animals Inside Out, “sheds light on what lies beneath the skin of more than 50 animals.” Through a technique called plastination, experts have removed the skin from various animals, providing a never-before-seen glimpse of the muscular, skeletal, nervous, and digestive systems, as well as the blood vessels and internal organs of different animals.
When: Until March 12, 2017
Where: Montreal Science Centre, 2 Rue de la Commune O
In addition to free shows, 2 extra weeks of programming, and a killer lineup, Igloofest 2017 also marks the return of the Nordik Slide. A winter tradition dating back over 100 years, Igloofest’s Nordik Slide has been wowing Montrealers for several years in a row. Presented as a contemporary update on a winter carnival classic (with an Igloofest touch), there is surely tons of fun to be had on the Nordik Slide. It will be set up in Place Jacques Cartier all festival long, meaning you have between January 12th and February 19th to check it out.
When: January 12-February 19, Thursdays to Sundays
Where: Place Jacques Cartier
It appears Marche Jean Talon is enthusiastically embracing the city’s annual Montreal En Lumiere festival, by hosting a day of free tastings and cooking demos. Taking place during the first weekend of the festival, February 25th and 26th, Marche Jean Talon will be transformed into the site of a giant culinary expo. There will be a myriad of vendors on site to teach Montrealers how to cook and to give away free samples. All we know about this year’s event is that it will focus on food from the “Greater Montreal Area” and will feature “agri-food products” and “discovery workshops”.
When: February 25-26, 2017 10:30am-4pm
Where: Marche Jean Talon, 7070 Henri-Julien Avenue
You can now attend Igloofest 2017 for free! Courtesy of Off-Igloo, Montrealers who can’t afford to pay for Igloofest this year can still enjoy the EDM music festival’s awesome atmosphere with two free shows. For the city’s 375th anniversary, Igloofest added two whole weekends to its programming, remaining in Old Port for an astounding six weeks in 2017. In an effort to make Igloofest even more accessible to the public, and to celebrate the city’s upcoming birthday, they are offering two free Off-Igloofest nights. The shows will both feature local artists so be sure to stop by Quai Jacques Cartier on February 11th and 18th. It is guaranteed to be a party to remember.
When: February 11 and 18, 7 pm-11:30 pm
Where: Quai Jacques Cartier
In honour of Black History Month, Montreal is hosting a unique photographic exhibit titled Women of Haiti. The art exhibition will take visitors on a “photographic journey through spectacular pictures where sand dunes meet the ocean, sensuality and warmth of Africa and the Caribbean.” In addition to stunning scenery, the photos will depict the daily lives of Haitian women to increase cultural understanding of the island’s population. 10 artists are participating including Radu Juster, Clode de Guise, Patric Saad, Magdoline Youcef, Laetitia Jourdan, and more. The event is free of charge and will take place in Espace Vego Saint Denis (between Rue Ontario and Blvd Maisonneuve E).
When: February 1-28, 2017
Where: Espace Vego St-Denis, 1720 Rue Saint-Denis
Attention Montrealers! Your beloved Friday Fridays (aka food truck Fridays) are returning to Olympic Stadium, this time in the form of SnowFood Saturday. As part of Village Mammouth, Montreal’s awesome wintertime festival, Olympic Stadium will be home to a plethora of food trucks every Saturday afternoon between January 28th and March 4th, 2017. Between 3 pm and 10 pm each Saturday, you can expect to see tons of yummy food trucks lining the perimeter of Olympic Village. The official description reads, “You’ll find all the delicious fun of street food during our amazing evenings.” These “amazing evenings” also include live music and DJs, as well as snow sports like ice skating and snow tubing.
When: Saturdays 3 pm-10 pm between January 28 and March 4, 2017
Where: Olympic Village
As Montreal’s Chinatown just celebrated the Lunar New Year, the neighbourhood has put up a ton of gorgeous decorations, most notably stunning Chinese lanterns. In addition to the lit-up Rooster (in honour of the Year of the Rooster) that is in the centre of own, there are also several colourful lanterns strung up on the streets. Be sure to visit before they’re taken down and remember to snap a few photos for you Insta feed!
Where: Chinatown, Montreal
Calling all cheese lovers! You are finally getting a festival dedicated to your love of cheese – and it’s happening right here in Montreal. It has just been announced that an event entitled, “The Festival of Our Cheeses” will be taking place this February as part of Montreal En Lumiere. The three day cheese extravaganza will be going down at Complexe Desjardins starting at 11:30 am on February 23, 24, and 25, 2017. During the festival, Montrealers will be offered the chance to try free samples of some of Quebec’s premiere cheeses. In addition, there will be cheese makers in attendance to answer questions and discuss the factors that contribute to their products’ unique flavour and wine and beer to taste along with the cheese.
When: February 23-25, 2017
Where: Complexe Desjardins Grand-Place
This winter festival right in the heart of the Olympic Village is one of the biggest 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.
When: Until March 12
Where: Olympic Park
One of the largest winter festivals in the world, 2017 marks the 18th edition of Montreal En Lumiere. The festival showcases everything that a Montreal wintertime has to offer, from the performing arts to gastronomy to outdoor activities.
When: February 23-March 12, 2017
Where: Various Locations
The Old Port of Montreal’s Natrel Skating Rink has decided to host themed skating nights throughout the week. While the “Workout on Ice” Tuesdays and the “Comfort on Ice” Wednesdays sound pretty cool, it’s the “DJ on Ice” Thursdays that have our attention. After all, the DJ on Ice themed nights are basically like a party on skates and what could be more fun than that? Described as “Happy Hour on ice,” DJ on Ice is the official event for nordic Thirstdays. Every week, there will be hot mixes and killer beats, light shows, and magnificent backdrops. Get ready to skate, dance, or a combination of both if you’re really talented, and head on over to Old Port’s Natrel Skating Rink every Thursday night all winter long.
When: December 15-March 9, 2017, 6 pm-10 pm
Where: Natrel Skating Rink, Bonsecours Basin, Old Port
Montreal’s coolest winter music festival is back. Happening four weekends in a row in the dead of winter, Igloofest will be taking over Old Port with their incredible lineup of electronic musicians. The 2017 lineup includes Kim Ann Foxman, Grand Theft, Tiga, and Vakuum to name a few.
When: Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between January 12 and February 4, 2017
Where: Old Port
The Christmas markets may be gone, but Igloofest’s free winter village is in full swing. Village Nordik is back for another year of action-packed winter fun, setting up shop in Old Port for six whole weeks (January 12th until February 19th, to be exact). This year’s Village Nordik is an interactive play area curated by seven local design firms, each of which have been asked to present their vision of winter living. In the past, visitors have seen everything from igloos and ice sculptures to warm fire (featuring roasted marshmallows) and giant reindeer statues
When: January 12-February 19
Where: Place des Vestiges
Discover the secrets of Montreal by snowshoe on one of Les Amis de la Montagne’s City Lights Snowshoeing Excursions. Happening at nightfall every Friday and Saturday evening between January 6th and March 4th, tour guides will lead brave snowshoers on a 90-minute expedition through Mount Royal. There will also be hot chocolate along the way!
When: Fridays and Saturday between January 6 and March 4, 2017 at 6pm
Where: Meeting place is the Beaver Lake Pavilion
In an effort to revitalize vacant land along the Mile End railway, a hangout spot in an abandoned parking lot has popped up in recent weeks. Featuring a school bus-turned-cafe, picnic tables, lights, and a skating rink, this newest late night joint is called La Petite Floride. Open every Saturday night from December 2nd until the end of March, this is the place to be in winter. Grab some mulled wine, sit by the fire, skate around the manmade rink (featuring paintings by local artists), and enjoy a relaxing night in this urban oasis.
When: Saturdays 9 pm-1 am, from December 2nd until the end of March 2017
Where: 5705 avenue de Gaspé
Slide down the snow atop Mount Royal on the designated snow tubing trails near Beaver Lake. Rent an inflatable inner tube or bring your own, and enjoy an afternoon of gliding down the mountain at high speeds. Rentals are $9 for adults and $5 for kids, however snow tubing is free for those who bring their own gear.
When: December 17-March 6, 2017
Where: Beaver Lake, Mount Royal
Embark on a classic winter adventure: tobogganing down one of the city’s many hills. Whether you’re more of a plastic disk, magic carpet, or wooden sled kind of person, there are plenty of places to enjoy an afternoon whizzing down Montreal’s natural slopes. Mount Royal, Parc Lafontaine, and Westmount are great places to go tobogganing this winter.
Where: Various locations