Montreal's Very Own Winter Wonderland
The best time to visit Montréal is during the winter. From mid-January to mid-February, the people of Montréal celebrate “Fête des Neiges”, which means Festival of Snow in English. Families play outside and enjoy a variety of activities in the Montréal Snow Village located in Parc Jean-Drapeau. It’s the only snow village of its kind to be built in a major metropolitan area worldwide. You can do everything from eating, drinking, sleeping, and even getting married on ice. It costs the city 1.5-2 million dollars to annually rebuild this winter wonderland, but it won’t cost you a penny to walk around and see everything.
Visitors can enjoy ice skating, cross-country ski trails, dog-sled rides, a tube slide, a ferris wheel, zip lining, ice sculptures, music, entertainment, and so much more. There’s also the Grand Cirque Polaire, which has colorful characters that are both hilarious and whimsical.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it’s like to spend the night comfortably surrounded by ice and snow in subzero weather, then make a reservation to stay at the Montréal Ice Hotel. There are three room formats with temperatures ranging from 23° to 28°F to choose from: polar igloos, standard rooms, and prestige suites. Out of the three room formats, the polar igloo is the only option that isn’t an actual room. The igloo gives you a glimpse of the modern Inuit lifestyle. Plus, you’ll have hotel amenities such as access to an outdoor Nordic spa hot tub, continental breakfast, and access to Montréal Snow Village’s heated chalet.
Another popular attraction besides the Ice Hotel, is Montréal’s ice restaurant, Pommery. Even the chairs are made of ice; fortunately, the backs are covered in fake fur. There’s a seating capacity of 60 and a three-course dinner meal costs $69 per person. Past meals on Pommery’s menu have been vodka and lime Atlantic salmon prepared Gravlax style, Norwegian vanilla and raspberry omelette flambéed at your table, and “Chantilly” butternut squash soup with hazelnut truffle and crispy bacon garnish. There isn’t a dress code but make sure to bundle up because it will be cold. And afterwards, you can head on over to Ice Bar Amarula for drinks. In keeping with the theme, the bar is completely made of ice and they serve mulled wine, beverages served in ice, and cocktails.
Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, Montréal’s “Fête des Neiges” has something for everyone.