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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter Festivals

This week has really felt a little more like winter, dipping well into the negative range – brr! I’m still waiting for a good snow fall, but it won’t be long before winter is upon us. Today why don’t we look at a couple of Montreal winter festivals? We all love what the city has to offer in the summer; the Jazz fest, the Just for Laughs Festival, and much more! But with summer a distant memory at this point, I thought we should look into some winter cultural events.

Last year, I did head out to the Fête des Neiges ( which turned out to be a bustle of fun activity! I went with a large group of friends – we rented skates, and went tubing down the mountain - the festival had a really great turnout and there was so much excitement!

This year, I’m really looking forward to checking out the Montreal Highlights festival ( I can’t believe that I’ve never explored this very exciting event that has so many diverse activities to cater to everyone’s interests. And this year, it’s the festival’s 10th anniversary, so there’s bound to be some additional exciting things to do!

Let me tell you about these 2 great festivals, so that you can go and check them out with friends, kids, or grandkids. And, if you’ve been to either of these festivals, please do let me know!

This festival draws a very diverse crowd. It’s a great place to take your kids or grandkids, but personally I don’t think you need to take the kids to have fun – it will just really bring you back to your childhood! You can rent skates and sleds and enjoy some winter fun – but don’t forget to dress in layers, so that you’re comfortable regardless of what the weather may bring. You can leave any extra clothing in lockers available for rent.

The festival takes place on Ile St-Helene and features a 1.5 km skating path and 14 tube slide tracks. There is also a “Tiny Hands” Workshop for kids that teaches them about snow sculpting.

The festival is free but there is $12 fee for parking. The exact dates are not yet confirmed.

If you would like to volunteer at the event, you can visit to sign up.

The Montreal High Lights festival will take place from February 19 to March 1 2009 and is a great way to bring the winter to a close. There are 3 main themes to the festival;

Hydro-Quebec Celebration of Light

Although the exact events for this year are not yet posted, check out the 2008 events at This theme incorporates free outdoor concerts, street entertainers, and light displays at the old Port. There’s a skating rink, ice slides, and bonfires to warm up by with some night time fireworks displays. There is so much fun to be had at no cost!

Air France Wine & Dine Experience presented by American Express
The 2008 activities are available at There are tasting events, gala evenings, demonstrations, conferences, and even some chef workshops! Since 2000, the event has hosted more than 200 chefs with wine producers from all over the world.

Sun Life Performing Arts
The 2008 events surrounding this theme of the festival are at The event hosts international artists, contemporary and classical music orchestras, theater groups, dancers, etc.

In addition to these 3 themes, the festival also incorporates two other major events; the Montreal Underground City Race and the Montreal Hydro-Quebec All-Nighter.

Montreal’s Underground City Race:
This is a 5 km walk or race through corridors, tunnels, and halls – not to mention 100 steps to climb and descend – ugh! Did you know that Montreal’s underground city is the most extensive network of its kind in the world??? There is a total distance of 31 km, 113 buildings, and 69 real estate complexes that make it up!

Montreal Hydro-Quebec All-Nighter
This party scene incorporates a little bit of everything; tango, techno, jazz, pop, classical, etc. There are also horror films, storytelling, and other activities - all celebrated by moonlight. The event ends with a breakfast in Complexe Desjardins at 4:30 AM. So, if you really love Montreal nightlife, this is something you should check out!

For ticket information go to; and if you want to have access to exclusive advance sale tickets, contests, and discounts you can subscribe to the newsletter

I think this is a great way to see winter in Montreal! What do you think?

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