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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

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!

Daniele Soare

SPOTLIGHT: Montreal-Based Financial Sherpa Will (seriously) Change Your Relationship With Money

She was one of the first three women ever on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange. And she can heal your heart. At least when it comes to finances.Daniele Soare

After living and breathing finances for much of her impressive career, Daniele Soare is now an abundance coach (or, as she aptly puts it, a Financial Sherpa), guiding people to get their finances on track, but also to work through the often painful and intense emotions that surround money.

Think about it. How often during your life have you been given negative messages around money? Especially debt? If you’re like most people, probably a lot.

When it comes to finances – financial struggles or even lack of understanding in particular – guilt, shame, fear, doubt, feelings of scarcity, even feelings of failure, can all form a thick cloud around everything, holding you back from truly taking control of your financial life. That’s pretty challenging considering our finances can impact virtually every aspect of our lives.

Daniele believes that changing our perspectives around money and embracing more positive emotions are critical to allowing (yes, allowing!) financial abundance into our lives. And she would know. She started on the trading floor, thriving in the chaos, working her way up to one of the most prestigious roles in trading at that time.

But Daniele felt a greater calling; to help other people thrive in their financial lives as well. She realized that, “We’re taught how to earn money… but not how to manage or invest it.”

Queue every millennial collectively looking back on their education and thinking… “Yup. Sounds about right!”

Daniele Soare Because so many of us are not taught these things, coupled with those limiting emotions we all have around money, effectively managing and investing our money can feel so far out of reach. We know darn well it isn’t avocado toast keeping us from home ownership, for example, but how to negotiate a mortgage, build a retirement portfolio, manage debt, save for our children’s education while still paying off our own education, put a vacation in the picture, but also the potential needs of aging parents… all while enjoying (and juggling) our lives, work and families?

That gap between where you are and where you want to be can feel like the Grand Canyon. And me without a helicopter… or any idea how to fly one.

That’s what Daniele strives to correct. To narrow that gap between where most people are, and where they have a right to be! Because she truly believes that a life of abundance is everyone’s right, and she’s teaching people the practical strategies to make it happen.

Daniele calls her approach (and her business) The Spirit of Money. She takes a “humane, loving and holistic” approach to guiding people through daunting terrain, helping them work through their fears and difficult feelings, to understand things in a way that makes sense for them, and to get on a financial path that’s right for them and their families.

What Daniele teaches is not just the basics, but really a whole way of life that allows abundance in and clears away those negative, limiting, get-you-nowhere feelings and beliefs. This should really be part of our standard high school curriculum but, until that time, you can contact Daniele here.

 

Louis Heroux | Real Estate Agent West Island of Montreal

Open your news app on any given day and you’ll find at least one news item about the real estate market on (and around) the island of Montreal. Trends are constantly changing. New neighbourhoods come into the spotlight. Gentrification starts. Stalls. Picks up speed.

 

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to sell, a first-time buyer, a seasoned buyer, or even looking to expand your portfolio, maybe looking into income properties… there are just so many questions!

 

Add in the often complex laws around taxes, ownership, zoning, etc, and things can feel pretty hectic.

 

Maybe your dreams even start to look less possible.

 

That’s where real estate brokers like Louis Heroux come in. In the Montreal area alone there are probably hundreds of truly amazing realtors but, as in many industries, they will all have their own unique approach to the work that they do. The key is finding someone who is a right fit for you and what you want to achieve.

 

Louis’s approach is one of teamwork: broker and client working together to clarify the client’s vision, explore possibilities and get the client to where they want to go in the real estate world, whether that’s a selling, buying or expanding vision.

 

He currently serves areas primarily in Montreal’s West Island, and has expertise in a variety of real estate ventures.

Louis believes in being a go-to person for his clients. With years of experience, he has a deep understanding of the ins and outs of real estate, particularly in Montreal’s dynamic market. His aim is to provide clarity and peace of mind, helping clients see through the often intimidating layers of laws, regulations and paperwork, to what really is possible. When you have someone on your side who knows every base that needs to be covered, it brings your dreams closer to reality.

 

In a market like Montreal, where the landscape is constantly changing, Louis strives for win-win situations, where his clients come first and all parties feel good about the outcome, and empowered by their real estate experience.

 

If you’re looking for a personal approach, where the strategy begins with what you want to achieve, that’s the approach Louis Heroux takes; helping his clients, one by one, get to where they want to be.

As a strong believer in everyone having a safe and empowering roof over their heads, Louis is also a supporter of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, which is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.

 

If you have questions for Louis, or would like to know more about working with him, you can contact him at [email protected]

Ȋles-de-Boucherville: A family-friendly oasis 20 minutes from Montreal

 

Just a hop skip and a jump (a.k.a across the bridge) from Montreal’s bustling Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood is an island oasis you won’t believe is city-adjacent.

 

Parc National des Ȋles-de-Boucherville is a peaceful sanctuary of five small islands right in the middle of the Saint Lawrence known for its white tailed deer and kilometers of breathtaking nature trails, many which are bicycle-friendly, and some reserved exclusively for walking. 

We’ll get to the numerous activities available in a moment, but what makes Ȋles-de-Boucherville truly unique is that one of the islands – l’Ȋle Grosbois – is home to an archeological site and reconstructed Iroquoian village. The site is about a 45 minute hike, or 20 minute bike ride, from the main parking area, so plan for a trek, but it is well worth it.

 

Now, a lot of people visit the area to hike or bike, enjoy nature and have a peaceful picnic with (hopefully) some deer spotting. But there are actually a whole host of activities available year round including canoeing, kayaking, rabaska (those extra long canoes that fit 12-20 people), beach volleyball, standup paddling and more during the summer. In the winter, there is snowshoeing, skiing, kicksledding, winter hiking and even those awesome fatbikes that are designed for biking through snow or sand.

If you’re like many Montrealers, the thought of a tranquil lakeside vacation sounds like heaven. Battling traffic and hours of driving to get there… not so much. This is what makes Ȋles-de-Boucherville even better. There is a gorgeous, secluded campground where you can pitch your own tent, or reserve one of the ready-to-camp Huttopia tents. It’s riverside instead of lakeside, but if you spend most of the year alley-side… po-tay-to, po-tah-to, right? (Not really, but you know what we mean.) 

 

Do be aware that the campground is not accessible by car – only on foot or by bike – but that just adds to the tranquility of the place. No traffic noises!! You will also take a river shuttle to get there, which is about as charming as it gets.

If you’re bringing the family, Ȋles-de-Boucherville is incredibly family friendly. So, while you can’t bring everything your car can hold (since cars can’t get to the campsite), there are several necessities available on site including booster seats, highchairs, changing tables, strollers and trailers, playpens and even children’s dishes. Huttopia tents even come with microwaves. And everything for kids aged 17 and under is free.

 

If you’re the RV type of camper, there are a few RV spots available as well, but obviously in a different area. One that’s accessible not only by car, but by massive tenement on wheels.

 

Ready for an island escape? Check out the Ȋles-de-Boucherville site!