Bundle up and Head for the Winter Carnivals in Québec!
Montréal’s Winter Festivals
Montréal, with its more modern and international urban vibe, will host their biggest winter celebration ever in 2017 with Montréal en Lumière while commemorating the 375th anniversary of the city of Montréal and featuring Lyon, France as their honored city.
The Festival is partnering with several other winter events, such as Les Hivernales and Igloofest, to extend the celebration from early January to mid-March. Offering activities and programs for all ages, with a particular focus on winter sports, the arts, entertainment, technology, and dining, there is something for everyone to get excited about in Montréal this winter.
Les Hivernales, one of the landmark events by the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th anniversary, invites Quebecers and visitors to the city to head outdoors to embrace the cold Montréal-style and celebrate their “nordicity.” Activities and events will take place in Old Montréal, downtown’s Quartier des spectacles, and Parc Jean-Drapeau. With an exhilarating mix of sports activities such as winter cycling, snowshoeing, curling, and ice hockey, to watching extreme sports like snowboarding and racing through an obstacle course, there’s no better way to stay warm while enjoying this exciting city.
This year’s special edition of Igloofest, a spectacular outdoor electronic music festival, is scheduled over an astounding six-week period. Known as one of the hottest events in the city and taking place at The Old Port, crowds of fans dance under the stars to light shows and architectural programs created by some of the best local and international DJs.
Montréal en Lumière
Montréal en Lumière takes place from February 23 to March 11, 2017 and includes a wide variety of live music and theater performances. For the culinary enthusiast, special tastings, lunches, brunches, and dinners play a major role in the festivities. With Lyon, the gastronomic capital of the world, named as the honored city, attendees will be delighted at the long list of impressive local and international guest chefs participating at the themed events hosted at many venues throughout the city.
Illuminart, the city’s free outdoor itinerary, and part of Montréal en Lumière, will focus on interactive and illuminated avant-garde technological and light projects from around the world, especially those from Montréal and Lyon. One of these exhibits, L’îlot de Chaleu (Islands of Warmth), is a bonfire created from light bulbs. Expect to be mesmerized as the fire comes to life. As it reacts to more human body heat, the higher the flames soar, exuding more light, sounds, and music.
While you’re in town, don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of Montreal’s wonderful museums and art and history exhibits, such as the impressive Pompeii exhibit and Napoleanic collection at the Montréal Museum of Fine Art (these were on display during the 2016 festival). If you find yourself in the museum at lunch time, the Beaux-Arts Restaurant is excellent. Also, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, located at the Festivals Plaza, has interesting contemporary art collections and is worth a visit.
Finally, make time to visit the city’s incredible food markets, the Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market. Leave room to nible and nosh your way through the amazing selection of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, artisan breads, pastries, chocolates, and desserts.
So, this winter, step out of your comfort zone (as we did!) and don your parka, thermal wear, hand warmers, and fur-lined boots and head north to Québec City and Montreal to join in the fun. This is an experience you’ll never forget (we can’t stop talking about how much fun we had) and you’ll be so glad you made the trip!
Where to Stay
The Hilton Hotel Québec City is the official hotel for the carnival and overlooks Bonhomme’s Ice Palace and the main festival site in the distance. The Sheraton Le Centre Montréal Hotel is located across from the Festivals Plaza and where the majority of the Illuminart exhibit will be set up for the festival.
Disclosure – We want to thank Québec City and the city of Montréal for their assistance during our trip to Québec. The opinions expressed regarding our experience are our own.
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