7 Things You Should Know About Montreal
Snow Shoeing at Night
I never thought my first trip through Mount Royal Park would be trekking on snowshoes, or for that matter at night. However, after strapping on these large racket-shaped frames designed to keep me from falling through the snow, I tentatively set out on what would end up being the most wonderful experience ever. While following our authentically clad, blue
While following our authentically clad, blue toqued guide to the top, she spoke to us about the history of the park, the flora and fauna, and the animals that make their homes there. Before we knew it we were standing underneath the Mount Royal Cross at the top. After enjoying some hot chocolate, we slowly wound our way back down and returned to Masion Smith where there is also a small cafe. You can coordinate a tour for your family from there.
Forget the Food Court
Located in the center of the city, and adjacent to Little Italy, you will find one of the best open-air, public markets in North America. The beauty of the Jean Talon Market lies in the fact that not only does it offer one-stop shopping for the most beautiful fruits, vegetables, meats, syrups, oils, flowers, jams, and more, but the surrounding streets have so many more little boutiques shops that you could spend all day sampling and eating. Treat yourself to breakfast at Premiere Moison with the most delicious croissants. Then make sure to check out Marché Des Saveurs which stocks products only produced in Quebec.
You Can Sleep In an Ice Hotel
Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau hosts the Snow Village. With five large igloos, an Ice Hotel with 20 rooms, and Ice Restaurant, an Ice Bar and even an Ice Chapel it truly is a sight worth seeing. It usually opens in January and shuts down at the end of March, or whenever the snow begins to melt. Hotel rooms are kept at a comfortable temperature of 26 degrees, so if you are not thinking of an overnight stay with the kids, there are still lots reasons to visit for the day/evening with the family. You will find, a large inflatable bouncy house, Norwegian Sleds, fireworks every Saturday night, as well as board games and movies in the Ice-Breaker Heated Dome. Each year there is a theme. This year it was the Big Apple. I loved taking the tour to see all the snow buildings and sculptures replicating famous NYC sites.
The Circus is Always in Town
I was fortunate enough to catch a show at La TOHU last time I was in town. It was absolutely incredible. Did you know that Montreal is renowned as the Circus Arts Capital of the world? TOHU is home to the National Circus School and right next door are the headquarters of the famed Cirque Du Soleil. Every summer there is an annual circus festival that takes over the city for a few weeks. With both indoor and outdoor sites, the performances will entertain and delight the whole family.
There are 38 museums in Montreal. I was surprised to learn that too. For Families who enjoy history, don’t miss the Redpath Museum, the McCord Museum or Pointe-à-Callière. Of course, curious kids are going to love the Biodome, the Science Center and possibly even the Insectarium — home to giant stick insects, beetles, and other busy, buzzy things. There is also the Museum of Fine Art with its family weekend activities. If you are going to be in town for a few days and checking out a bunch of them, I would highly suggest purchasing the Montreal Museum Pass. You will gain access to 38 museums over 3 days for a reduced price.
I am always baffled by the Underground City of Montreal. It is no wonder, as it the biggest of all the man-made underground networks in the world! There are 33km of pedestrian walkways, indoor areas, and tunnels that link boutiques, shopping malls, hotels, movie theaters, conference centers, universities, train stations and metro stops together. When you are outside on the streets of Montreal, simply look for the blue RESO sign that will lead you indoors. Head to the lower level and start exploring. In the winter months, it is easy to imagine never having to go outside, even for ice skating!
Right now, there are some sweet deals to be had at several Montreal Hotels. And by sweet, I mean book 1 night and the 2nd night is 50% off! Plus you get a coupon book with discounts worth up to $500! Like 2-for-1 tickets at the indoor skating rink of Atrium Le 1000 or at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History.
Check out our photo gallery from this trip for more pictures!
Disclosure: While I was invited to Montreal by Tourisme Montreal and they paid for most of my expenses, my review reflects the honest opinions of my experiences without outside influence.