It’s cold, it’s snowing, but you’re itching to get out.
What to do? Where to go? What to see?
Luckily for you, the elves at MontrealDirectory.ca have been hard at work, preparing a list of 10 Ten Outdoor Activities for the Holidays in Montreal!
Grab your mitts, your tuque, lace up those boots, say “ciao” to your hot chocolate mug and TV and head outdoors to get some fresh air!
Get yourself a tree
It’s not too late! You can skip the hustle and bustle of the city and inhale some fresh, country air by heading out to a Christmas tree farm. Quinn Farm is your best bet for a convenient 20-minute car trip outside of Montreal. Nothing smells better than a freshly-cut tree (apart from hot-from-the-oven cookies, maybe), so head out to Quinn Farm, established by Elwood and Marie Quinn in 1982! A Balsam or Fraser Fir costs $45, but other cheaper options are available, including the Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine and White Pine.
Bonus: you can even schedule your own wagon ride from the plantation! Take the kids for a jolly ho-ho-ho ride. On Saturdays and Sundays, the wagon leaves every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Since 1982, Ferme Quinn has been attracting people from all walks of life who need a break from the hectic pace of modern-day society and who want to reconnect with nature. Stephanie, who works at the farm, shed some light on the establishment’s history. “We have always offered rides to the Christmas tree plantation,” she said. “We actually used horse-drawn rides but the horses couldn’t keep up, so we switched to tractor rides about 5 years ago.” Selling about 1,500 trees a year, the farm is busy at this time of year. “The Balsam fir is the most popular,” said Stephanie, “as it is known for its pleasant fragrance. In addition, the needles hold onto the branches longer than others.” In short, a must-do activity!
Location: 3495, boul. Perrot
Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, QC J7V 8P4
Nothing straps on a smile faster than a visit to the 6th edition of Merry Montreal, hailed as the flagship event of the season (hey, no one’s bragging). From December 20 to December 31, from Thursday to Sunday, get into true Christmas mode and check out holiday hot spots. At Nordic Square in Old Montreal, a multitude of fun, interactive and stimulating outdoor activities will entice you to brave the cold and spend quality time with loved ones. Bartenders will be serving local products, mulled wine and Boréale beers. Live shows including choirs, storytellers, Indigenous artists and winter Zumba performers will spice things up. For kids, outdoor frescoes are a fun and lively way to get them to express their creativity and enjoy the outdoors.
Location: Old Montreal, Square Jacques-Cartier
Christmas in the Park
European Christmas markets are renowned for their charm and allure, bringing shoppers together in a communal aspect that recalls the good old times when Instagramming and I-phones didn’t exist. Montrealers got inspired by the European flair and decided to host Christmas in the Park, taking place in three different locations. Shop for Christmas gifts, get an organic Christmas tree, sip mulled wine and hum along to Christmas tunes! More than 100 shows await you this year at three different locations: Place Émilie-Gamelin, Parc des Compagnons de Saint-Laurent, and Parc Lahaie. It’s a rewarding visit to an entirely free festival that seeks to stimulate conversation and strengthen bonds between people of different origins and backgrounds. Julie Bourbonnière, a representative of the event, sat down with us to share some details. “The idea emerged 25 years ago and was imagined by Reynald Bouchard, an actor and cultural entrepreneur, who wanted to create a unique place for Montrealers to come together around wood fires and music to celebrate,” she said. “Over the years, the Festival has evolved to offer boldly fused folk music, classical music, storytelling, dance, theatre and circus arts. Nearly 500 bands have played in the park since 1994.”
This year, more than 100 shows and activities are being scheduled with nearly 400 artists performing during 25 days.
Parc Émile-Gamelin : Rue Berri between Maisonneuve Est and St-Catherine Est
Parc des Compagnons de St-Laurent : Metro Mont-Royal
Parc Lahaie : Metro Laurier
Snow tubing at Mont Royal Park
The iconic emblem of the Montreal outdoors lifestyle, Mont Royal continues to attract families and friends every weekend. To enjoy the snow, rent equipment and tube down reserved lanes adjacent to the toboggan hill overlooking Beaver Lake. For $5 for the day for children aged between 4 and 11 years old and for $9 for kids aged 12 years and up, les amis de la montagne are there to make sure you have a lovely outdoorsy day.
Location: Mont Royal Park
2000, chemin Remembrance
(514) 843-8240 ext. 235
Watch a light display
Christmas is a grand event to beat those winter blues and crank up the lights. At Sami Hajjar’s Christmas Display, you will be amazed at the 250,000 lights, spotlights, inflatable decorations and the synchronized music. Showtimes will take place at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. This year’s theme, Dream Land: Where Magic Happens, will take you on a magical journey as you meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Frozen, the Grinch, Paw Patrol, Snoopy Dog and Minions. Your children will be wowed and can pick some musical songs themselves!
Location: 9035, Jean-Bourdon Avenue
Skate at the Old Port
Sure, it’s cliché, but then again who needs more incentive to lace up one’s skating shoes and hit the ice? As Montrealers, we’re renowned for our love affair with hockey. It only stands to reason that we indulge in some skating! As of December 8, residents can skate together and spend quality time outdoors, rather than at the Bonaventure skating rink, for example. Tickets for families are priced at $18, teens and seniors skate for $6.95, and children aged between 6 and 12 skate for $4.60.
In December, a number of fun events are scheduled, including Natrel Fire on Ice Presented by Van Houtte, where you are invited to add a bit of spice to your evenings as pyrotechnics light up and female singers take to the stage. The events will take place on December 22, 29 and January 5 at 8 p.m.
Location: The Old Clock Tower at 333, rue de la Commune W.
Holiday Magic at the Zoo
From December 22 to January 6, discover wildlife as the elves at The Ecomuseum provide delicious snacks to the animals. You may also be interested in admiring the works of the winners of the photo exhibit titled “Let’s celebrate Québec’s wildlife”, which was held in the fall of 2018. Your kids will be able to connect with animals like never before!
Location: 21125, chemin St-Marie
St-Anne de Bellevue
Check out Luminothérapie, an art playground
This year, the Place des Festivals features interactive work Domino Effect, taking place from December 11 to January 27. Play with 120 giant, luminous dominoes which are scattered around several metro stations and create a cacophony of sounds. Every set features a unique sound profile (vocals, percussion, marimba, balafon or flute), and each domino has its own sound. You can even work on your DJ skills by “scratching” a domino by spinning it with your fingers. The domino orchestra will play sounds that are carefully paired with a rainbow of pastel hues. Check out this amazing light and sound display, which will challenge you to be creative and original while working out your unique musical score. Created and installed by Ingrid Ingrid, this installation strengthens ties between Montrealers and fosters a spirit of cooperation. In times of political tension, what better way to celebrate Christmas?
Location: Place des Festivals
Jeanne-Mance, Balmoral, De Maisonneuve
Atwater Market’s Le Village de Noël de Montréal
At the third edition of this Christmas market, sample local and international specialities while enjoying hot mulled wine at Atwater Market, renowned for its spacious and convivial atmosphere. This is a great chance to meet aspiring and successful Quebec artisans, discover local products, delicacies for children, and more. About 25,000 exhibitors are expected at this year’s edition. The Christmas market will be open from November 30th to December 2, December 7th to December 9th, December 14th to December 16th and December 21st to December 23rd. Please note the openings hours: Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thanks to its volunteers, the Montreal’s Christmas Village continues to be a big success and a hit for last-minute shopping in a festive, non-stressful environment.
Location: Atwater Market and canal Jean-Talon
Alight at Night Festival
At Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, visitors bundle up and amble through the picturesque village to admire close to one million lights decorate the heritage buildings, trees and fences. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride, enjoy a ride on a life-size toy train, and join the holiday carolling. Sure, a trip to the States can seem like a massive undertaking, but actually it’s only a hop and a skip away! Adults pay $16 and youth aged between 5 and 12 years old enjoy the activity for $12.
Location: 13740 County Road #2, Morrisburg
1 (800) 437-2233