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View of Montreal Skyline from Park Jean Drapreau

Top Parks To Visit on the Island of Montreal This Winter

View of Montreal Skyline from Park Mont-Royal

View of Montreal Skyline from Park Mont-Royal


Ah, Montreal parks. The perfect setting for people watching, romantic strolls, picnics with friends, quirky activities like slack-lining, quidditch, extreme frisbee or practicing cartwheels because, why not? At least they’re great for all that (and more) in the summer and fall. But, what about winter?

Don’t despair, folks. The parks stay open year round, and there’s plenty to do at Montreal’s parks throughout the long winter months!

Here are 4 of the best parks in Montreal to visit in winter:


1. Parc la Fontaine

Located in le Plateau, Parc la Fontaine is bordered by Sherbrooke, Avenue du Parc La-Fontaine (obvs), Rachel and Papineau. It’s a great park for a stroll, a picnic, chilling by the duck pond or kicking back with a good book. In the winter, it transforms into a snowy wonderland, surrounded by some of the city’s trendiest hotspots.

Why it’s awesome for winter:

The skating! There’s something truly romantic about this park, so while you can definitely take the family skating, or go for a pick up hockey game, it’s a really special spot for an evening skate with your special someone. Don’t have skates? No worries! You can rent skates at the onsite chalet. You can also get your own skates sharpened there if you quite literally had to dust yours off. There’s also a little restaurant onsite to grab a snack or a hot drink, but… 

Kick it up a notch:

In case you weren’t aware, you can drink alcohol in Montreal’s public parks! The catch is, you have to be consuming a meal if you’re drinking. Ah, but there’s another catch! There’s really no definition of what constitutes a meal. So, if you were to bring a few yummy pastries or holiday baking alongside your thermos of spiked hot chocolate or egg nog, you’re probably good to go! If that isn’t the perfect budget-friendly, yet romance-packed date night, we don’t know what is!

More awesomeness:

Though the park is known more for its beautiful skating rink in the winter, you can also use the cross-country skiing or snowshoeing trails throughout the winter. Even just a snowy stroll through the park can be pretty special.

Park la fountaine in downtown montreal


2. Parc Mont Royal

Pretty much all of the mountain (note to non-Montrealers: it’s more of a large hill than an actual mountain, but to Montrealers it is 100% “the mountain”) is Parc Mont Royal and since that’s a lot of ground to cover, there’s an awful lot to love about it. Montreal's lake - Beaver lake in the park of mont royal

Why it’s awesome for winter:

Snow tubing! There are a few spots on the mountain where you can bring your own sled and coast down the hill, but the groomed tubing tracks overlooking Beaver Lake are hands down some of the most fun you can have in Montreal during the winter!

You rent a tube onsite (prices for this year have not yet been announced, but have always been extremely affordable in the past) and if you bring your own lock, you can make use of one of the onsite lockers so you can whoosh down the hill at top speed without a care in the world!

This is obviously an awesome activity for kids, but if you’re an adult or semi-adult and feeling nostalgic for the days when snow felt thrilling and magical, trust us… there is no joy quite like tubing! So slap on your snow pants and get ready to yeehaw!

Kick it up a notch:

Scrap the office Christmas party this year and take the whole team out to the hills for a day of totally unprofessional fun! When was the last time you fell into a fit of giggles with your coworkers? Forget the team building exercises. Nothing bonds a team together like tubing!

More awesomeness:

Like we said, this is a BIG park. Aside from tubing, there’s also snowshoeing, cross country skiing, bird watching, skating, hiking and more!


3. L’Escapade in Rigaud

So this one’s actually outside the city and – bit of a bummer – not accessible by public transportation. It’s about a 45 minute drive away in the town of Rigaud, but it makes our list because… 

Why it’s awesome for winter:

The cross country skiing! L’escapade is a linear park. Yes, that is a boring description, but what it means is that the park is a lot longer than it is wide. Because of that, it’s the perfect layout for trails! There are about 27 kms of groomed ski trails in gorgeous l’Escapade park. The 27 kms are divided into five distinct trails, rated from easy to difficult. Given the length of the trails, you can really make a full day of it.

Kick it up a notch:

Combine your ski day with a little history! Rigaud is a town packed with historic sites and rich in quebecois culture. Sure, there’s plenty of history in Montreal as well, but this is a little different and immersing yourself in the roots of Quebec culture is an experience every Montrealer should have. So, spend a morning skiing the trails, then stop for lunch before visiting one (or more) of the many stops along the heritage and cultural circuit.

More awesomeness:

If you’ve never tried snowshoeing, this might be the perfect opportunity as you can rent the equipment onsite. There are also walking trails open year round, and while dogs are not allowed on the ski trails, they are more than welcome to join you for some furry fun on the walking and snowshoeing trails.


4. Parc Jean-Drapeau

This is probably the most action-packed park the city has to offer. Year round, there are all kinds of events and activities happening at Parc JD. Located on Île Sainte Hélène, Parc Jean-Drapeau is surprisingly easy to get to with plenty of parking and access via the metro’s yellow line. In the summer, you can even take a river shuttle from the Old Port. But in winter… 

Why it’s awesome for winter:

Fȇte des neiges! For the 37th year in a row, this event will be bringing the joy of winter to Montrealers for four weekends in a row. This year’s festival will include the ice boat (a giant pirate ship made of ice), snow tubing, a refrigerated skating trail, boot hockey games to join, a human foosball game, an “alpine adventure” activity organized by Cirque Éloize acrobats and much more. There’s even a mini-hill and equipment for kids to take their first shot at downhill skiing or snowboarding!

This is definitely a family friendly festival, with plenty of activities for kids of all ages, but it is by no means exclusively for kids and families. The ice slides are fun for everyone, there are plenty of activities to join in, and last year’s festival had amazing food trucks to sample some of the best cuisine in the city. This year’s food truck lineup is gearing up to be just as delicious.

Kick it up a notch:

Access to just the festival is free, but some activities require a ticket. Opt for the ridiculously affordable pass and you get unlimited access to all activities for ALL 4 WEEKENDS of the festival! Skate one day, go tubing the next, eat yourself silly at the food trucks, take a snowshoeing lesson, join a game of boot hockey, then do it all again!

More awesomeness:

If you opt for the festival pass, you also get free admission the Stewart Museum, which has great exhibits and programming for all ages, as well as 25% off admission to the Biosphere. If you’re tired of hearing “I’m bored” from your kids… or partner… or friends… there’s four straight weekends packed with activities!

View of Montreal Skyline from Park Jean Drapreau

What’s your favourite Montreal (or nearby) park to visit in the winter? Share it in the comments!

Read more about some activities that you can do this winter in Montreal.

Also make sure you are all set for winter, and see what we recommend for a Canadian winter Jackets

Indoor Activites to do in Montreal for Winter 2020

Baby, it’s cold outside! And as much as we strive to embrace the snow – it is here for long enough, after all – sometimes embracing the cold means enjoying all the amazing indoor activities Montreal has to offer.

So, if you’re looking to spend some time not freezing your baguettes off, here are some of our favourite indoor activity spots for the 2019/2020 winter season:

Nerf gun in hand

Get Physical

Here is list of activities that require physical effort in Montreal.

If staying active is important to you, there’s no reason to give that up in winter. There are plenty of indoor activities that go beyond your neighborhood gym, but still get your heart (and muscles) pumping:

  • Climbing: This is a great activity for almost all ages and is fun solo, or with a group. And two great climbing gyms are super close by: Allez Up and Centre Vertical.
  • Nerf: Yes, you can have an all out Nerf war with your friends, family or coworkers. It must be pretty popular because there are several highly rated places including Sports de Combats, Combat Nerf and Nerf Hero. Look out, Aunt Ida! The family reunion’s about to get wild!
  • Trampoline: Get your bounce on at your choice of Sky Zone (Dorval), iSaute (multiple locations), Sky Tag (DDO) and more.
  • Escape rooms: So you can “escape” winter! Sorry. Unavoidable dad joke. You can find our top 5 escape rooms here.
  • Axe throwing: Do you get angry in the winter? Angry at the ice? The snow? The traffic? The cold? The 4pm darkness? The 12 layers you have to put on before leaving the house? Get that rage out, axe style! Try Rage Axe Throwing (Montreal and St. Hubert), Combat d’Archers (Montreal) or Maniax (St. Leonard).


Get Artsy

Here is a list of artistic and creative activities to do in Montreal.

Not everyone wants to throw axes (or at least, not all the time). Some people want to create! If arts and crafts are more your thing, check out these activities:

  • Ceramic Cafe: With locations in Montreal, DDO, Laval and Greenfield Park, there’s bound to be one not far from you. Ceramic Cafe is also a true cafe, so you can get food and drinks to enjoy while you work on something special for yourself or as a gift.
  • Paint Night: Unleash your inner Bob Ross and a few “happy little trees”! A lot of people feel intimidated by painting, but Paint Night isn’t about doing it perfectly. It’s about having fun and trying something new. There are events held all over the city, so check out the website to see what’s coming near you.
  • Museum workshops: Did you know that many of Montreal’s museums offer workshops? Check out the art workshops available at le Musée d’art contemporain, the many workshops and programs available from the Fine Arts Museum, or some of the arts and crafts activities at the McCord.
  • Take a pottery class: Lose yourself in clay! Check out the upcoming winter session at Atelier Spirale (starts January 2020), sign up for a workshop at Atelier Forma, or choose a workshop or course at Atelier Make (new session of courses begins every 8 weeks).
Girl painting Ceramic cups

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Expand Your Mind

Here is a list of Educational Activites to do in Montreal:

  • Museum exhibitions: There are always great exhibits to check out. Happening this winter is: 
  • Science time: There’s plenty to learn and experience at the Planetarium, the Science Center, the Environment Museum at the Biosphere, or leg it out to Laval for a trip to the Cosmodome.
  • Grow your career: Why not take advantage of the winter to learn a new skill or expand your knowledge? Both McGill and Concordia universities offer a range of workshops to help expand your career possibilities as well as your professional network.
museum hallway

Photo by Deanna J on Unsplash

Get Musical

Here is a list of Musical Activites to do in Montreal:

There is live music all over this city, and it doesn’t disappear with the sun. It just moves indoors! Here are a few hotspots where you can take in live music, often for free or very little cost:

  • Hurley’s Irish Pub – Live music and entertainment 7 nights a week
  • Bistro a Jojo – Live blues & jazz 7 nights a week
  • Casa del Popolo – Live shows most nights for a small ticket price – be sure to check the calendar!
  • The Rialto Theatre – While not free, and sometimes a bit on the pricey side, there are some really unique shows at the Rialto, while the venue itself is something to be experienced as well. If you really want to get decadent, they’re holding a “Party Like Gatsby” event in April 2020 (which, let’s face it, is still winter in Montreal).
  • Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill – Live shows 7 nights a week – check their calendar as they have some great folks lined up!
People playing jazz music in montreal

Photo by Jens Thekkeveettil on Unsplash

Get Board

Here are some places to play board games in Montreal:

As in, board games! Check out your local independent cafe, as many of them have board games on site. Most will allow you to bring your own board or card games, as long as you’re also purchasing something. Aside from that, there are actually dedicated board game cafes in Montreal. Our top pick is La Récréation on Ontario street, but there’s also Randolph’s with several locations in and around the city. 

Whether you’re looking for things to do in Montreal in December, January or the many more long months of winter, there is plenty to choose from that doesn’t end with a case of frostbite.

Board game on a table in a bar in montreal

Photo by Christopher Paul High on Unsplash

What’s your favourite indoor activity in or around Montreal? Share it in the comments!


New to Montreal? New to Canada? Here’s How to Dress for Winter!

Whether you’ve recently arrived from a country without a yearly deep freeze, or you’re from one of those Canadian oases that stays mild (by Canadian standards), your first winter in Montreal can be a little… startling.Girl Wearing Winter Clothes

The ice, the snow, the WIND! Oh, the wind! With wind gusts taking us down to -30℃ (-22 ℉) and below on the reg, just how do Canadians survive winter?

It’s all about the layers! But you need to get strategic and plan for where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.

You also need to put aside any hangups about looking a bit ridiculous. Trust us, you’ll be warm and you won’t care.

Now, if your commute and lifestyle are such that your only outdoor time is getting from door to car and back again, you don’t need to worry as much about blocking out the cold. But, if you have to (or want to) spend more than 15 minutes at a time outside, dressing warmly and smartly is a must. So without further ado…

Here is what Montreal Tips thinks you should wear in Canada in winter:

The Coat

Let’s start with the most basic of Canadian winter essentials – the winter coat.

What type of Coat should you get for a Canadian winter?

You have 2 options, the super warm or the moderately warm. Check below for details on each.

Super WarmGirl Wearing Winter Clothes

If you want something that will keep you warm, even over a simple t-shirt, your best bet is one of the higher end brands. These are brands like Canada Goose, North Face, Arc’teryx, Nobis and Patagonia. They are typically very pricey, but they will do the job and they’re built to last. Many are made with goose down, or another down blend, but there are synthetic animal friendly materials as well.

Many of these coats can run you well over $400 and high price tag isn’t the only downside. If you’re walking around a mall or museum or anywhere heated with one of these on, you’ll quickly end up dripping in sweat. On the other hand, they are oh so very warm and cozy.

Moderately Warm

Of course, there are plenty of winter coat brands that are moderately warm and can be found at stores like l’Équipeur, Winners, The Bay and even places like Walmart and Old Navy.

These coats are usually warm enough up to about -20℃ (with no windchill), but beyond that, you’ll be feeling the cold. That’s where layering comes in. If you opt for a moderately warm coat, ensure the fit allows for a heavy sweater underneath, then look for something in a chunky knit – ideally a wool blend, but synthetic works too. Chunky knits work really well at providing an insulating layer and keeping you toasty. Opt for a cardigan style that does up and you can even use safety pins to attach it to the inside of your coat, making it easier to put it on and take it off as one piece.

Fleece layers can be great as well, but they aren’t as breathable, so if sweatiness is a concern for you, avoid fleece.

See a list of the best jackets to wear in a Canadian winter. 


The Boots

What type of Boots should you get for a Canadian winter?

You WILL need good boots. Boots to keep you warm, to give you traction on snow and ice, and to keep your feet dry, especially when slush happens (and it happens a lot).

All that to say, you want to look at three key things when choosing winter boots: temperature rating, treads and waterproof level.

As with many things, the best performing brands also tend to be the most expensive. When it comes to boots, those brands include Sorel, Bogs, UGG, The North Face, Timberland, Columbia and more.

With many of these brands, you can often find an excellent pair for between $150 and $200, which can be a lot upfront, but with proper care, they should last you several years. Proper care means regularly cleaning them (to get rid of road salt, which can be especially damaging) and using protective sprays.

If these options are out of your price range, the Canadiana line at Walmart is also decent, and you can find good options at stores like Joe Fresh, Globo or Winners.

With lower cost options, prioritize waterproofness. Buy them one size – or half a size – larger and you can layer warm socks or even add in thermal insoles which make a world of difference. For traction, you can buy products like GripOns that turn virtually any boot into prime winter wear.

See the best boots for women in a Canadian Winter.

See the best boots for men for winter in Canada.


Girl wearing winter boots in canada

The Pants


Remember back at the beginning when we said to let go of looking ridiculous? Even lifelong Montrealers struggle with this one, but when that temperature drops and the windchill kicks up, being afraid of looking silly leads to frozen – sometimes literally – legs. Is it too cold in Canada? Well, when your thighs are burning from cold and then start to itch and ache as they thaw out, it sure does feel that way.

So here’s the thing: give snow pants a try. You won’t be among the majority, but you also won’t be alone.

What pants to wear for winter in Canada?

Depending on where you shop – which can be anywhere from Walmart or Aubainerie, to MEC or even L.L Bean, you can pay anywhere from $25 to $200 and beyond. Higher-end pants do tend to be warmer (and a little better looking), but if you’re using these for commuting, picking the kids up from school, running errands or the occasional skating or winter hiking adventure, you don’t need to go high end. If you plan to do a lot of skiing, skating, snowshoeing or any other outdoor activity, you may want to opt for something higher quality and waterproof.

Winter scarfs stacked on a shelf


The Accessories

What kind of accessories should you have for a winter in Canada?

Hat, mitts, neckwarmer… you need all three! 

  • Hat

There are a lot of great looking hats out there. And most will be just fine when things aren’t too cold. Even a headband or ear muffs will do the trick. But, when it really gets cold, you’ll want a proper hat – either fleece, or knit with a thermal lining. Pom poms are cool, but they don’t always fit under hoods, so they may limit your coziness factor.

  • Mitts

Mittens are usually warmer than gloves, but with newer materials like gore tex and even tried and true textiles like merino wool, you can get decently warm gloves as well. That said, if budget is an issue, opt for mittens as they will keep you warmer when made with less expensive materials.

  • Neckwarmer

A scarf is definitely an option over a neckwarmer, but for safety’s sake, style it tucked under your coat so there are no loose ends. The safety concern is greater with children, with many schools and daycares outright banning scarves, but the danger doesn’t disappear for adults. Scarves can get caught in bus, metro or even car doors, so make sure those ends are tucked, or opt for a neckwarmer or infinity scarf instead.


If you really want to avoid the cold, or if you’re dressing for outdoor sports, a full-coverage balaclava is great for keeping the frost off your nose and cheeks.



So we’ve got your outerwear covered, but here’s another concern when it comes to dressing for winter in Canada: indoor heating! Or being outside for extended periods! Ugh. So may things to consider.

Layering for indoor heating

If you’re a student or work indoors, odds are your workplace or classroom are heated. Sometimes OVERheated. So you dress warm for outdoors, then sweat half to death throughout the day.

You need to layer. When choosing winter clothing, focus on light fabrics like cotton or thin knits and layer a sweater or cardigan overtop. You can also layer warm socks over tights or thin dress socks for outdoors. Dress for the temperature of where you’re going, then layer on top of that for warmth outdoors.

Layering for outdoor activities

Whether it’s winter sports, long walks, watching your kid’s hockey practice or an outdoor holiday market, there’s no reason to spend the whole winter inside. Instead, layer up and embrace the season!

Thermal long underwear is, hands down, the best way to go. Often called a “base layer”, long underwear is another instance where price range varies immensely. If you’re opting for a lower price range, look for a breathable fabric. Cotton waffle knit is a great option. It will give you the insulation you need to stay warm, but will be breathable enough to keep you from overheating. 


Guy and girl standing in the snow

Of course, every Canadian (and every Montrealer) has their own favourite tips for staying warm throughout the winter or for how to pack for a winter trip. What’s your top tip? Share it in the comments! You just might save a tourist or new arrival from the dreaded windchill thigh burn.

Branche d’Olivier - Organic and natural shopping with a twist | Health

Branche d’Olivier – Organic and natural shopping with a twist

Healthy Groceries in Montreal


The world is changing. People are waking up to where their groceries and household goods are coming from, what goes into producing them and the impact they have on health, well being and the environment. Because of this, consumers are demanding more choice, which has led to a rise in alternative shopping experiences throughout Montreal.

Accessible and affordable to everyone

We recently checked out Branche d’Olivier and fell in love. Their belief is that organic and all-natural products should be accessible and affordable to everyone. As such, they offer a wide range of products to suit organic, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, fair trade and sustainable diets and lifestyles. 

A family-owned business

This family-owned and operated chain saw its first location open in 1992 by the Habib-Haidar family. They now have five locations across the city in Verdun, NDG, St Henri, the Plateau and Griffintown. The family came to Canada from Iraq in the 80’s and bring elements of their culture to their stores through wonderful products like Arabic coffee and mate tea.

Branche d’Olivier products

Branche d’Olivier locations carry a variety of grocery products like fresh produce, dry and canned goods, prepared foods, spices and more. You can also buy some items in bulk to cut down on product packaging, as well as household cleaning products, personal care items and a range of vitamins, supplements and other natural care products.

They really seem to promote a more aware lifestyle by stocking their shelves with items you won’t find in most grocery stores or pharmacies. It opens up a world of possibilities for people on restricted diets, with certain product sensitivities or who just want to be more conscious of what they’re consuming. The staff is also quite knowledgeable, so if you’re looking for something specific or even looking for help creating a new lifestyle or healthier habits for yourself, they can answer your questions and guide you towards products and ideas that will help you.


Want to check them out? See all current Branche d’Olivier locations. Happy shopping!

Camino De santiago Montreal

SPOTLIGHT: Centre La Tienda – Helping you find your way to the Camino


As you may or may not know, Tarek Riman, founder of MontrealTips, is a huge fan of the famed Camino de Santiago – the historic pilgrimage hiking trail from France to Spain. In fact, he is such a fan that he even wrote a book about the insights he gained on his three (THREE!) biking trips along the epic trail.


And Tarek is not alone in his near obsession with the pilgrimage. Following an operation that rendered her disabled for almost two years, Anne St-Hillaire felt drawn to the Camino. So, she did the only logical thing – left her career in finance behind and set off to conquer this 1400km pilgrimage!


But not before first struggling through all the planning and preparation required to undertake such an adventure.


1400km is quite a feat to accomplish. Even more so when you’re struggling under the weight of everything you’ve brought with you. After nearly endless shopping trips, weighing every single item (literally and figuratively), and spending more money that ended up being necessary, she finally embarked on her journey.


And what an experience! It was then that she decided she wanted to dedicate her career to making the Camino more accessible to others.


Located in Verdun, Centre La Tienda is part shop, part cafe, part travel agency, and helps people plan their entire Camino de Santiago journey, from transportation, to accomodations, to guides, to food, to packing and equipment. The centre even hosts workshops and conferences for people to learn, discuss and share their experiences.


Winding through historic villages and breathtaking landscapes, the Camino de Santiago has been described as one of the best walking trips in the world. Whether they’re in it for the physical test, sightseeing, meeting new people, or for the deeply spiritual element of the pilgrimage, it seems clear that everyone who embarks on it comes away from this journey changed, for the better.


Having experienced the Camino herself, Anne knows what equipment truly is needed and what isn’t. She knows the best times to plan your journey and what to expect when you arrive. She knows the steps you need to take, start to finish, to get the most of your Camino journey. If you are thinking of experiencing the pilgrimage for yourself, Centre La Tienda should absolutely be the first stop on your journey.