14 things to do in Montreal today: Saturday, December 21

Dec 20 2019, 5:00 am

Happy first official day of winter, Montreal.

To celebrate the new season, here are a bunch of events worth checking out in Montreal today, December 21.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – Miracle at the Museum

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Shutterstock

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is getting into the spirit of giving by allowing free access to the general public to its permanent collections and discovery exhibitions.

The deal is part of the museum’s Miracle at the Museum promotion and it kicks off today until January 5, 2020.

Check out the website for a full list of exhibitions.

When: December 21 – January 5
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 1380 Sherbrooke Ouest
Price: Free

Cirque du Soleil – AXEL

Cirque Montreal

Cirque du Soleil/YouTube

Cirque du Soleil will hitting the “la glace” all weekend at the Bell Centre as the company’s new show, AXEL, carves its way to Montreal.

Fusing skating, acrobatics, live music, dancing, and stunning graphics, Cirque du Soleil is bringing their “ice spectacle” to the company’s founding city for ten days, starting tonight.

When: December 19 – 29
Time: 1 pm and 5 pm on Sunday, 3:30 pm and 7:30 on select dates throughout the week
Where: Bell Centre, 1909-avenue-des-Canadiens-de-Montreal
Price: $55.50 – $167.75, available online

Mamma Mia

Evenko

One of Broadway’s most successful musicals, Mamma Mia, is returning to Montreal this weekend.

Mamma Mia has been playing for 17 years and has travelled across 80 different countries.

Based on the songs of ABBA, you’ll be humming along to hit singles like “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money,” and “Mamma Mia” all weekend long.

When: December 21 – 23
Time: 7:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm on Saturday – Monday
Where: Theatre St-Denis
Price:$72.40 – $141.75, available online

Merry Montreal

Old Montreal

@montrealenfetes/Instagram

Merry Montreal returns this weekend, hosting a slew of free events to kick your Christmas spirit into high gear.

Along with the Old Port’s historical cachet, restaurants, boutiques and renowned hotels, Merry Montreal features the Nordic Place, Music on the Docks, and a massive New Year’s Eve bash (one of the only free New Year’s Eve events in the city).

The Nordic Square features DJs, live theatre, a band, interactive installations, and a winter beer garden. Local artists will be performing on stage to keep you entertained while a giant fire keeps you warm (the alcohol will help too).

When: From now until December 31
Time: Various times
Where: Montreal’s Old Port
Price: Free

Luminothérapie

Place des Festivals

Quartier des Spectacles

Place des Festivals is lit.

The Quartier des Spectacles’ public square is hosting the 10th edition of Luminothérapie through Pop!, a celebration of five fantastical creatures that aim to light up the city during the dark days of winter.

Because if anything can lighten up our bleak winter, it’s Luminothérapie, Quebec’s largest temporary public art installation.

When: From now until January 26
Time: 12 to 11 pm
Where: Place des Festivals
Price: Free

Pente à Neige

ski hill Montreal

@andrewbohz/Instagram

No offense, Mont Tremblant, but we might hit the slopes a bit closer to home this winter as La Pente à Neige has constructed a man-made ski hill at Parc Ignace-Bourget.

The third edition of the urban hill opens this weekend and it’s big enough for up to 250 people along with a mini slope that can accommodate up to 50 mini-skiers.

The hill welcomes skiers, snowboarders, tubers, and sledders of any age and features a cozy heated yurt, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and music. Guests can bring their own equipment or it can be rented on site.

The slope is 300 metres long and has professionals on site to teach people proper skiing/snowboarding/falling down techniques.

When: December 21 t0 March 29 (closed on December 24, 25 and January 1)
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Parc Ignace-Bourget — 6101 Avenue de Montmagny
Price: Various pricing, details available online

Village de Noël de Montréal

@themonthofjune92/Instagram

As if the Atwater Market isn’t magical enough, it’s been transformed into a ‘Christmas Village’ for its fourth edition of Village de Noël.

The village, which can be found on the outskirts of the Atwater Market, includes 40 local craftsmen and restauranteurs, concerts, choirs and shows, a sugar shack, an outdoor fire pit, creative activities, a Christmas tree sale, and face painting.

As a bonus, the big man himself, Santa Claus, will be taking time out of his very busy holiday schedule to be on site.

It’s the village’s last weekend until 2020, so you better get Christmasing!

When: December 21 and 22
Time: 11:30 am to 9 pm
Where: Place du Marche, corner of St-Ambroise and Atwater
Price: Free

Natrel Skating Rink Fireworks

Old Port of Montreal

Aside from offering 2,500 square metres of refrigerated ice, the Natrel Skating Rink will be hosting firework displays this weekend.

Soak up a little mix of fire and ice this weekend.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: 8 pm
Where: Old Port, Rue de la Commune Ouest
Price: $5.22 – $7.83, available on site and online

Noël dans le Parc

Christmas festival

@majordomemusique/Instagram

Celebrating its 26th edition, Noël dans le Parc is a month-long outdoor Christmas festival spread out among three popular parks in Montreal, and it’s ready for its fourth weekend.

The festival offers free music shows and events, holiday-themed drinks and bites, outdoor fire pits, and Christmas trees for purchase.

Because if there’s ever a place to nab a tree, it’s in a park devoted to Christmas.

Once again this year, the festival will host francophone music by renowned local artists, all of whom will perform on a gorgeous cabin stage, built specifically for the Noël dans le Parc.

When: December 21 and 22
Time: Varies per park
Where: Place Émilie-Gamelin, parc Lahaie, and parc des Compagnons
Price: Free admission

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker/Goh Ballet

For the 55th year, the full-length rendition of Les Grands Ballet’s magical The Nutcracker returns to Montreal.

Choreographed by the late Quebecer Fernand Nault and based on German author ETA Hoffman’s original tale, the theatre play embodies the spirit of Christmas with its graceful entertainment, magical scenery and stunning costumes, to Tchaikovsky’s irresistible musical score.

The story tells the tale of Clara, who receives a beautiful nutcracker for Christmas. The young girl is then swept into a fairytale world in which the nutcracker becomes a prince, while mice and rats battle an army of toy soldiers.

When: From now until December 30
Time: 2 pm and 7:30 pm
Where: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts
Price: $99 – $144, available, online

Imagine Van Gogh

Van Gogh

@fernwehbebe/Instagram

Montreal has been coated with an exhibition of the works of Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous figures in the history of the art world.

The exhibition, Imagine Van Gogh, which opened last week, takes guests through the world of colours and emotions of Van Gogh’s works through gigantic murals and an immersive soundtrack.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Arsenal Contemporary Art Contemporain
Price: $26 – $36, available online

Dodgebow

combatdarchers/Instagram

DodgeBow is exactly what it sounds like: dodgeball fused with bow and arrows.

The exhilarating team-based archery combat sport is capped with cushion-ends so they don’t hurt when they hit you and you can channel your inner Legolas when flinging them.

Face-off with your friends in the DodgeBow arena and put your marksmanship skills to the test. That’ll show the rain who’s boss.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: 2 pm – 8 pm
Where: 202-4767 Dagenais Street
Price: $24.95, available online

Fontaine boréale

Christmas fountain

@amazing.views/Instagram

Considering Christmas is usually associated with snow and ice, it might be time for a little element change.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Christmas fountain known as “Fontaine boréale” has returned to the complexe Desjardins for the holiday season.

The immersive and multi-sensory experience features the Complexe Desjardin’s Grande-Place water fountain, completely decked out in the Christmas spirit.

Every hour, the fountain lights and shoots up to the shopping mall’s ceiling, accompanied by music, lights, and special effects.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: Every hour from 4 to 10 pm
Where: Complexe Desjardins, 150 rue Ste. Catherine Ouest
Price: Free

Village du Père Noël

Santa

alina.reynbakh.photo/ Instagram

The Christmas season just isn’t the same without a visit to see Santa. Besides, why take a chance of bumping into the big fella on Christmas Day without getting in some face-time beforehand?

An entire village dedicated to Saint Nick, located about an hour away from the island of Montreal, opens this weekend.

Village du Père Noël is the perfect place for a holiday family getaway. Plus, it’s North of Montreal so you’ll actually be closer to the North Pole.

Located in Val-David, the village’s summer activities are transformed into a magical Christmas experience. Activities include ice skating, tubing, sledding, a petting zoo, and a mini train. And of course, Santa and his elves are on site.

When: December 21 to January 5 (closed on the 25th)
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 987 Route Morin, Val-David
Price: Adults (individuals two years old and older): $18; grandparents: $16