Montreal's infrastructure is nothing to brag about, especially when you see how dilapidated certain areas are. But at least there's always one place that looks great no matter how old and worn out it gets: Old Montreal.
The historic buildings, the narrow streets, the tiny shops and of course, the cobble stone streets. It's what gives Old Montreal its distinct character. The cobblestones are a unique feature that was kept for a reason, it's part of our patrimony.
Plus it's not like the regular paved streets are that smooth anyways, at least the cobblestones streets don't have potholes.
But now the city of Montreal has decided to get rid of the cobblestones on Saint-Paul Street.
Luckily there's no reason to panic, this is only a temporary measure, and a very necessary one.
A lot of repairs need to be done on Saint-Paul street and Old Montreal did not want local businesses to suffer, so the repaving was done to reduce dust and noise caused by the construction. The goal is to make the area more attractive and accessible to tourists while the repairs are being done. It's all part of an initiative called PRAM.
Some money has even been set aside to help out the businesses that might be suffering because of the construction. The money can be used to help beautify the store fronts, improve access, pay for promotional ads, and even to build websites for the shops who don't have one yet.
Once the work is done, the second phase of the project begins. The city will be widening the sidewalks, getting rid of 150 parking spots, and later they will be repaving the middle part of the street with 'new cobblestones'. However the details on the finishing touches are not yet clear.
Old Montreal is easily one of the most beautiful spots the city has to offer, and the charm factor is certainly turned up high during the winter. Now, you have an opportunity to explore it all. You can embark on a scavenger hunt organized by Guidatour and SDC Vieux-Montréal through the stunning streets of Old Montreal, and the best part of it all, it's totally free!
Those who wish to participate are encouraged to layer on their jackets, toques and scarves as they explore the historic district in a walking circuit that includes a "questionnaire, games, and fun challenges," says Guidatour.
The winter activity will be running every Saturday from 1 p.m to 4 p.m until March 5, as well as weekdays during the winter break, from February 28 until March 4.
Along the way, you'll have to decipher mystery photos and objects, solve crosswords and hidden word challenges, and answer questions inspired by Old Montreal's culture and history.
Completing the scavenger hunt will take around 60 minutes, the organizers estimate, and it can be done individually or in groups. The hunt offers both a regular version and a family version, both of which are available in French or English. Guidatour specified that adventurers will depart from Place Royale and eventually end up at Place Jacques-Cartier.
You can arrive at any given time, so long as it falls within an allotted window. A Guidatour host will greet you at both the start and end of the scavenger hunt.
Guidatour's president, Angèle Vermette hopes that "participants will take full advantage of this activity that brings people together to explore Old Montréal and its treasures … all it takes is some warm clothing and you are sure to be charmed and have fun!" she said.
With restaurants in Quebec being closed and no reopening date announced yet, we're all missing indoor dining right about now. Luckily, six Montreal restaurants have teamed up with hotels in the city and found a way to continue providing this experience starting January 14.
A press explained that four hotels in Old Montreal "are opening up their rooms to offer you an intimate culinary experience."
Here are the possible restaurant/hotel combinations:
All of these restaurants offer private in-room at some of the prettiest hotels in Montreal. You can look at each restaurant's menus to see what's available for your fancy three or four-course meal, which are all available for two or four people, and see which dinner options excite you the most. Packages vary in pricing.
After your much-awaited indoor dining experience, you can dress warm and go enjoy all the winter festivities happening around the city. You'll already be in Old Montreal, which is the perfect spot to go on a snowy walk.
Or, you can stay the night at one of the hotels.
Some of the packages are the "staycation" type, so you can enjoy your tasty meal and spend the night at the hotel. A win-win, right? Since there isn't much else to do in Montreal right now — especially if you don't like the cold weather — then this seems like the perfect way to treat yourself (and finally get out of your apartment).
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
In Quebec, a vaccine passport is required to access many businesses and activities deemed non-essential, including restaurants and bars.
Whether you can't wait to drink hot chocolate and skate with your besties or to enjoy evening light shows, you'll be happy to know the Old Port skating rink is on again in Montreal this year, and we finally know its official opening date.
Located on the Bonsecours Basin in Old Montreal, this skating rink is a must for Montrealers and tourists as it is located at the foot of the Ferris wheel and offers a magnificent view of the city and the river.
For the 2021-2022 season, the site will be open to all starting December 11, when a special opening night is organized. After that, the site will be open every day until March 6.
Skating will be possible Monday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Christmas holidays. December 31 and February 26 will be special evenings when skaters can enjoy the ice until 1 a.m.
On the program, there are DJ nights every Thursday starting January 6, special "skate dating" days, "karaoke on ice" nights on January 28 and February 26, and other special events.
It costs $8.05 for admission, but a season pass is also available. If purchased before December 11, the pass is discounted by 25% for a total of $24 for the winter.
You can rent equipment for an additional cost, like a pair of skates for $10.45, but you can also rent a lock, helmet or walker for $4.35 each. Use of the on-site lockers is free.
And, you can always end the day with a good coffee and a meal at the Bistro de la Grande Roue. The perfect recipe for a perfect day!