Though snow has been scarce this winter, there is certainly an ample amount for our favourite urban winter sports: tobogganing and skating! The Island of Montreal is blessed with an entire mountain and a plethora of parks – what better way to spend an afternoon than with your best friends hurtling down a hill on a thin piece of fluorescent plastic? Exactly. Here are four exceptional tobogganing and skating locales in the city!
Parc Mont-Royal: Mont-Royal caters to young and old with leisurely group and individual winter activities and classes. The mountain is replete with hiking paths and sliding slopes; inner tubes can be rented for $9 per person, in addition to cross-country ski and snow shoe rentals for an equally low cost. Head over to the well-maintained ice rink located beside the Lac aux castors Pavilion for free daytime or evening skating! Bathrooms and vending machines available.
Parc Lafontaine: Perhaps the best skating in the city can be found at Parc Lafontaine, where long, winding ice paths through the snowy trees will literally keep you occupied for hours. The park is also home to two outdoor rinks that are quite excellent for impromptu hockey matches! Helmets ($4) and skates ($8) can be rented on location.
Parc Pointe-Aux-Prairies: Get back to nature and out of the city with a winter visit to Parc Pointe-Aux-Prairies on the Island’s eastern tip. Renowned for an abundance of wildlife and great bird-watching, this park is perfect for a winter hike or snowshoe expedition, followed by a few hours of tobogganing (rentals are $4 for three hours). Great for families and groups.
The Quays Skating Rink: Each year, a huge ice rink is constructed in Montreal’s Old Port district, right by the river. Historic views, beautiful lighting and themed music (a different theme each day of the week!) for evening and matinee skates make the Old Port experience unparalleled. One day access is $6 (different rates apply for children and families) and single season passes can be purchased for $27.
~ Tyler Yank