Tired of going to the same old bars in Montreal? Hiverside, which opened the doors of its giant inflatable igloo on December 10, offers a one-of-a-kind (and super Canadian) nightlife experience because it's crafted out of actual ice.
Between the glacial furniture, festive drinks and magical entranceway full of fairy lights, Hiverside — which you may know as Riverside St-Henri when it's not frozen over — has transformed into a true winter wonderland.
"The cold winds of winter have frozen Riverside, the lush greenery has been enrobed in ice and snow. Amongst the frozen landscape of the sud-ouest and the Lachine Canal, a winter-wonderland has emerged," reads the Hiverside website. It notes that the pop-up is a partnership between Riverside, Grey Goose Vodka and Cointreau.
You may be expecting a bar made from ice to be cold and, well, you'd be right. But Narcity Québec's Françoise Goulet-Pelletier, who visited Hiverside, said, "as the evening progressed, I felt more and more comfortable and my body gradually warmed up." Goulet-Pelletier said the Hiverside team provides blankets and hand warmers for all clients, plus there's a heated section at the back of the bar where chilly patrons can warm up.
A Montreal restaurant promises to open on January 30 in violation of public health rules. Quebec ordered the closure of bars on December 20 and restaurant dining rooms on December 31 and has not said when they can reopen.
"We can no longer comply with these arbitrary measures that have been proven NOT to be effective in solving the issue we are all faced with," avenue Fairmount Italian restaurant Kesté wrote in an Instagram post Thursday, further warning that "if something doesn't change and we don't take a stand small businesses will turn into something of the past."
Kesté is calling on other restaurants, bars and cafés to open on January 30, too. It shared an image of a flier encouraging businesses to "take back our rights" and participate in a "national mass movement" of civil disobedience.
"As a city we all need to work together to no longer allow any more unnecessary lockdowns that no one supports," the Instagram post reads. "We cannot fix the damage done in the past but we can definitely prevent it from happening again."
Health Minister Christian Dubé responded to Kesté's commitment to reopen in a press conference on Thursday.
"We understand that people want to go back as quickly as possible to a normal life," he said. "But we need to do things gradually."
"I would just ask this restaurant owner and all other merchants to be patient. I know it's difficult." He pointed to government programs offering businesses financial support.
"I'm just saying, let's make sure that we don't go back."
UPDATE: The Government of Quebec has introduced new COVID-19 health measures since this article was published. Please review guidelines and double-check the website and social media pages of the event or activity before you head out. We strongly recommend calling before you go.
Why You Should Go: Indoor gatherings are limited to six people right now, so call your besties up and plan a little shindig at one of your apartments. No better way to start the New Year than with your closest people.
Address: 463, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
Why you should go: Three similar interactive works, titled Les Diamants, will spend the holiday season on the front lawn of St. James United Church. You spin them around to enjoy a little light and sound show.
Sure, there are COVID-19 measures in effect, but you can still get outside and explore your city. From enchanting scenery to winter sports to illuminated walks with a cup of hot cocoa in hand, Omicron can't take away ALL our fun.
Why You Need To Go: Feel the magic as you skate across this illuminated 500-metre trail at Parc Jean-Drapeau. According to the website, it's "refrigerated and regularly maintained, thereby ensuring a memorable experience, especially after a small snowfall."
When: December 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and December 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed December 25)
Address: 105, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: With more than 30 local artisans, in a setting fit for a Christmas movie, The Great Montreal Christmas Market is the ideal holiday weekend activity. On-site, you can taste all kinds of delicacies such as tartiflette, waffles, churros and hot chocolate.
Address: Starting at Lola Petite Bourgogne, 2652, rue Notre-Dame O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: If you're up for a challenge this weekend, the escape game company A/Maze has put together an outdoor escape game, "The Winter Store Fronts," a holiday treasure hunt in the streets of Little Burgundy. To play, you'll use a special journal to solve riddles that "the holiday spirit spread around the neighbourhood shops."
Address: On Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, between Crescent and McGill College
Why You Need To Go: This Saturday, warm your heart with a choir that will sing holiday classics with a hip-hop twist. With a cup of coffee or hot cocoa in hand and their sweet voices ringing in your ears, you might just believe in the magic of Christmas.
Why You Need To Go: The borough of Verdun is known for being one of the most decorated neighbourhoods on the Island of Montreal. Take a stroll through its streets and take in the bright lights that could almost blind Santa Claus.