Visit Montreal this winter to experience a true frosted piece of paradise
A captivating historic city that breathes elegant simplicity, but at it’s core is complex, Montreal is a whirlwind of fantastic cuisine, breathtaking architecture, and a winter wonderland of ski resorts. The snow may pile here, but the people of Montreal embrace the cold, making this a must-visit travel destination.
By Megan McDermott
Places to visit
As the site of the original city of Montreal, Vieux-Montréal is the pivot of the city’s alluring culture. Welcoming the cities rapid expansion you still get a glimpse of what old Montreal used to represent. From horse-drawn carriages to cobblestone streets, notable sites such as the Basilique Notre-Dame, the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), the Vieux-Port (Old Port) and the Marché Bonsecours (Bonsecours Market), make it easy to get lost in an old world.
Here you’ll mingle with residents at sidewalk cafés while overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Old Montreal is also a popular shopping area and numerous bars and nightclubs bring Vieux-Montréal to life come sundown. You can get lost in an array of gentlemen clubs that wind down the streets, where casinos and Montreal’s nightlife bustle in the dark nights that light the way.
Montreal is famous for beautiful churches and temples with mesmerizing architecture and traditions that span centuries. It’s easy to find a higher power in these beloved places of worship.
Basilique Notre Dame de Montreal
Notre-Dame Basilica is in the historic district of Old Montreal, and is located at 110 Notre-Dame Street West, at the corner of Saint Sulpice Street. Weather your looking inside or out, the details of the Basilica take you to another world drenched in beauty and delight.
Chapelle Notre Dame de Bon Secours
The Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is a church in the district of Old Montreal and is one of the oldest churches in Montreal. Built in 1771 over the ruins of an earlier chapel, it exudes history.
Montreal is second only to New York in restaurants per capita in North America and offers the opportunity to sample the world without leaving the city through various cultural cuisines. Try a bite of the Portuguese culture or head to the Jewish quarter of the city and sample their tradition. You can always visit little Italy where the Italians are one of the largest groups in Montreal. Needless to say, eccentric French gastronomy can be found throughout the city.
The food of Montreal is uniquely distinctive with its rugged spirit and excessive indulgences; it’s easy to get full quickly in this food-frenzied metropolis. Restaurants are French inspired with a twist on traditional cuisine. You don’t come to Montreal to eat French food; you come to Montreal to eat, and eat, and well…eat. Here are a few establishments that inspired us.
Les 400 Coups
400 Rue Notre-Dame Est
Superior & eclectic, Les 400 Coups restaurant aims for a refined & original cuisine that uses all local ingredients.
219 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est
Montréal, QC H2T 2T2, Canada
This worthy restaurant constructs creative seafood-focused dishes, adding a glamorous ambience, along with a seasonal terrace.
2491 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
This charming seaside cottage style clubhouse is prefect for a night out with friends. Head to the bustling oyster counter while drinking a variety of Old World wines as the fresh market food aromas filter through the air.
1862 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Inspired Japanese cuisine, Kazu chefs are consistently trying to create tantalizing dishes, from house-made tofu to shrimp burgers, located in a cozy nook with an open kitchen.
1425 Rue Jeanne-Mance
A pristine atmosphere with a patio next to Montreal’s famous fountains, Brasserir T! has glass-wall space for house-made charcuterie and constructs delightful bistro classics.
If you’re searching for cultural bliss, then you must visit the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art. It is the most recent addition to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Pavilion blends old and new, incorporating the former Erskine and American Church into one design. The old church now houses the Bourgie Concert Hall, while the new addition features four levels of Canadian art. Admission to the pavilion is complimentary.
Travel the depths of the Montreal’s metro system and discover an underground art exhibit where 140 permanent pieces of contemporary art make Montreal’s subway station the longest art gallery in the world. As you crisscross throughout the city, take the time to view the distinctive art in each station and in the pedestrian tunnels that connect downtown to Montreal’s underground.
Montreal en Lumiere
What better way to celebrate winter then an 11-day winter festival. The Montreal en Lumiere, is one of the largest celebrations of winter in the world, drawing nearly one million participants and featuring performing arts, gastronomy and free outdoor family activities. Performances, culinary and wine events, and art are featured throughout the city during the festival, concluding in Nuit Blanche, an all-night, city-wide party.
The entire city comes alive on Nuit Blanche to take part in over 180 mostly free activities throughout Montreal. The festival takes place February 19 to March 1, 2015.
A must see place in Montreal during winter is Mount Royal. Just minutes from downtown you can enjoy this 500-acre paradise designed by Central Park’s landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, by cross-country ski, snowshoe or by hiking. Within the park are family-friendly activities like ice skating and tubing.
Skate in an Office Building
When the weather is too breezy and you’re feeling too frigid to skate outside, Montreal will have you heading downtown to Atrium Le 1000. It’s Montreal’s best indoor ice skating arena, held in the tallest building in Montreal. Located at the Bonaventure metro station, this unique experience is not one to miss.
Mont Blanc Ski Resort
This popular ski destination is just over an hour north of Montreal. Located at the gateway to the Mont-Tremblant region, Mont Blanc has the 2nd highest ski mountain in the Laurentians and provides a great choice of terrain for all levels of skier.
Perhaps one of the best ski resorts in Eastern North America, Mont Tremblant combines varied ski runs with plenty of ski lifts and a pedestrian only village at the mountain base.
Saint-Sauveur is a ski area just north of Montreal that offers a tube slide, snow park and new in 2009 – an alpine coaster. Saint-Sauveur also includes night skiing, and the longest ski season in the province which makes this a good family resort.
Ninety minutes southeast of Montreal, Mont Sutton is located in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. A charming winter destination, skiers head to Sutton for long runs and glade skiing. Mont Sutton is located close to three other ski hills, so skiers can mix up their ski adventure every day.
Bromont is the closest ski hill to Montreal. Only 45 minutes away, it boasts the largest lit skiable terrain in North America with 69 nighttime ski trails and glades.