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Montreal's Esplanade Tranquille skating rink.

Montreal's Esplanade Tranquille skating rink.

Hoping to attract tourists this holiday season and beyond, officials have unveiled this year's winter programming for downtown Montreal. Plans include the 13th edition of the popular Luminothérapie installation, a "half-million light trail" through the city and the return of the Esplanade Tranquille skating rink. At 1,500 square metres, it's over twice the size of the famous rink in New York City's Rockefeller Centre (669 square metres).

There's no set opening date yet, just a promise to bring it back.

Last year, the rink was free to access. An on-site rental service offered equipment for visitors without skates and sharpening for more frequent skaters.

Other downtown Montreal winter and holiday attractions highlighted by officials include the holiday sets and fountain show at the Complexe Desjardins, the Ogilvy holiday window displays outside the McCord Stewart Museum, a "Noël dans le Parc" festival at Place Émilie-Gamelin, artistic projections on the Museum of Fines Arts and Esplanade PVM at Place Ville-Marie, and the Grand Marché de Noël, which for the first time this year will have an on-site sit-down restaurant with six-course brunch, high tea and dinner menus.

@mtlblog

The perfect winter activity in Montreal is officially making a comeback! Montreal’s giant skating rink is coming back, and it’s over 2X the size of Rockefeller Centre’s ⛸ #montreal #mtl #mtllife #montrealcanada #skatingrink #winteractivities #greenscreen

In a press release, the downtown's partner organizations, including the Chambre de commerce, Tourisme Montréal and the Quartier des Spectacles, pointed to a Leger survey in which 62% of downtown visitors said "pleasure" is the "main factor that motivates their choice to visit" the area.

"The numbers don't lie," Montreal Centre-Ville Director Glenn Castanheira said in the release. "If our downtown is so attractive, it's largely because it offers a unique experience."

    Thomas MacDonald
    Senior Editor
    Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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