Even though Christmas is over, winter definitely isn't. To be fair, winter has barely begun and there's plenty of time to enjoy the snowy season. And winter in Montreal means one thing: sledding!
Already, several Montreal parks are opening up their slopes for sledding, tubing and tobogganing — depending on weather conditions, of course. The beauty of it is that many of the city's premier sledding locations are absolutely free to enjoy.
Here are some of the city's best designated public sledding spots.
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.
Missing indoor dining? Us too. But luckily, a group of chefs and sommeliers found a way for us to be able to live out this experience again while we wait for Montreal restaurants to be allowed to reopen.
Sommeliers Xavier Richard-Paquet and Joris Gutierrez Garcia and chefs Paul Toussaint, of Kamùy and Americas BBQ, and Massimo Piedimonte, the former chef of Le Mousso, created an outdoor pop-up restaurant in Montreal with a heated terrasse to keep us warm and eating well this winter.
Located in the Quartier des Spectacles, outdoor pop-up Cinquième Vague (referring to the pandemic's fifth wave) offers gourmet après-ski comfort food with a mix of Caribbean and Italian flavours.
On the menu, you've got options like cod acras, tortellini in brodo, jerk chicken and a homemade burrata. Plus, a delicious wine list prepared by the two experts.
Although being on a terrasse makes it feel like summer again, you'll be able to warm up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate if you get cold. And to finish your meal, you can indulge in some roasted s'mores.
Once you arrive, you'll have the option of sitting at the picnic tables on the heated terrasse or taking your meal home to enjoy.
Cinquième Vague told Narcity that the pop-up project is creating 20 jobs, which is great news for Montreal's restaurant industry, which has been going through some tough times in recent weeks.
"Our goal is to push the limits according to the law that allows us to continue to do business. [...] Right now, running a restaurant is becoming a seasonal job [...] it's not the winter that's going to stop us, it's us who will stop the winter. That's the goal, to give hope to people who are homebound, to offer a sunny destination. Through the snowbanks, it's a message of hope for the entire industry," said sommelier Xavier Richard-Paquet.
Showcase your snowboarding skills all winter long!
Joseph Roby | CNW Group/Parc Olympique
Snowboarding in the city just got a lot easier. Vans and the Dillon Ojo Foundation, which was founded in 2018 in honour of Montreal pro snowboarder and artist Dillon Ojo, have combined forces to create a state-of-the-art snowpark at the Parc Olympique. Montrealers can now live out their snowboard dreams right in the heart of the city, and the best part, it's free!
Located near the Viau metro station, the Dillon Ojo Snowpark offers a total of eight obstacles, including a medium-sized jump and an array of sliding rails ranging in difficulty level for snowboarders of all ages to enjoy. The park will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of March or as long as the weather permits.
Joseph Roby | CNW Group/Parc Olympique
The snowpark, which faces the famous Olympic Tower, took over two weeks to build and required over 5,000 cubic metres of snow.
The idea came about through the Dillon Ojo Foundation, which was created by Elaine Charles, the mother of the late Dillon Ojo. The 22-year-old died in an accident in 2018. Charles created the foundation in his memory, with a mission to "increase accessibility to sports."
Considering Ojo's two favourite activities were snowboarding and skateboarding, the partnership with Vans to create the spectacular snowpark was an easy choice to make.
"We want everyone to be able to discover and take part in this fine sport which our son loved so much. We know he would have wanted to pass on his passion to the greatest possible number of people, so we took on this mission in his honour," said Charles.
Ski season is upon us! While the winter slopes can be intimidating for many — not to mention, expensive — Mont Sutton, a Quebec ski hill, offers some of Canada's first Yooner rides. Since you're probably wondering, "WTF is a Yooner?" it's a ski/sled hybrid that's a must-do winter activity everyone can enjoy.
Located only 90 minutes outside of Montreal by car, Mont Sutton is the perfect place to try a Yooner. Seated 20 centimetres above the ground with shock absorbers, an easy-to-control handle, and a runner for carving stellar turns on the mountain, you'll feel like you're skiing without needing a single lesson while riding a Yooner.
Luckily for first-timers, the Yooner does not take nearly as much time to grasp as skiing and snowboarding do, and can be easily mastered in as little as one run.
A Yooner rental, lift ticket and helmet come in at $50 plus taxes for two hours, and can be enjoyed on the mountain trails of chairlift II.
Season pass and daily pass holders can rent a Yooner for $25 plus taxes for two hours. While the Yooner can be enjoyed by anyone 8 years and older, riders between ages 8 and 11 must be accompanied by an adult.
The two-hour ride can be booked in three different time blocks: 9 a.m to 11 a.m, 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m, and 2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Mont Sutton recommends you book your equipment in advance. Don't worry about needing ski boots — your good 'ole winter boots are the right match for this activity.