Montréal is a city of seasons, and wintertime is especially magical. Winter is an ideal season to “wow” your attendees with merriment and enchanting snowy side activities. Despite chillier temperatures, adventures and rich cultural offerings happen right downtown, often only steps from your hotel. Which means the perfect balance of business and cheer.
The charm of Old Montréal
One of the most distinguishable factors of Montréal is the historic architecture. On the shores of the St. Lawrence River, Old Montréal is a neighbourhood that offers vintage-chic alleyways and European charm. And it’s even more dreamlike in the winter. While most of the architecture remains unchanged since the 1700s, don’t mistake this quartier for being quaint or old fashion. From fine dining to only-here designer shopping, this is the ideal spot to wander between meetings. Book a walking tour with Spade & Palacio and explore the most ornately decorated Basilica in North America (Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal), as well as cobblestone streets, and significant urban squares. The Old Port is home to a skating rink, fireworks, and outdoor dance parties during winter. And don’t miss Montréal’s massive Ferris wheel, where the views are fantastic (and the cabins are heated)!
The majestic Mount Royal
Montréal’s pride and joy, Mount Royal is a beautiful snow-blanketed bump directly in the heart of the city. Both residents and visitors take advantage of its natural bounty through activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter hikes, and skating on a twinkly pond. Or simply tuck into one of the restaurants, such as the Chalet at the top of the mountain, to cradle a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Book an activity with Fitz & Follwell and you can rent additional winter gear like toques, mittens, boots, and parkas!
The incredible festivals
Montréal is a city of festivals. There isn’t a week of the year that isn’t animated with street happenings, light shows, feasts, and fun. At the end of February and into March, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is one of the largest winter festivals in the world, with a unique program that includes a variety of activities from performing arts to gastronomy to outdoor ice slides and more. Plus, a full night of original discoveries during Nuit Blanche, when cultural spaces around the downtown stay open all night to offer thousands of visitors incredible (and free) programming. This concept is so popular, it’s begun spreading into other cities across Canada.
The comfort food
If there’s something Québec knows through-and-through, it’s hearty winter food. In terms of dining that translates into a rich restaurant scene, we have everything from warm comfort foods to meat-loving decadence (here’s looking at you, Au Pied de Cochon) to fine French dining experiences and flavours from around the globe. We also have an abundance of vegetarian and vegan restaurant options. Aside from the slew of special food events, the hotbeds of amazing choices every day of the year surround all major hotels, from downtown to Old Montréal, while other popular hoods like the Plateau Mont-Royal, Little Burgundy, Little Italy, and Mile End are accessible within a 10-minute cab ride.
The underground scene (literally)
Montréal’s famous Underground City is the world’s largest underground complex, making the perfect setting for a warm and comfortable time on those days when winter is maybe too wintry. The underground network — known as the RÉSO — links to 4,000 hotel rooms and several metro stations. Discover its shopping options solo, get a guided tour, or to add a little adventure, sign your group up for the JPdL International Underground City challenge! Armed with maps, a series of questions, and their own common sense, teams race through this maze and travel to different locations to correctly answer as many questions as possible.