Montréal: Global capital of urban sports

published on May 11, 2023
Sporting event Tourisme Montréal: News and People What's New in Montréal

Montréal is a city known for sports. We have hosted the world’s largest sporting event (the summer Olympics). We have a massively successful hockey team (go Habs!). We host annual events that attract visitors from all over the world (such as the Canada Masters tennis tournament and the F1 Canadian Grand Prix). And we’re also a hotbed for urban sports.

What are urban sports?

Essentially, urban sports are sports that are performed in urban settings. For instance, downhill skiing and golf — in their traditional forms — would not be considered urban sports. But activities such as skateboarding, parkour, and buildering were born and developed in city environments, and are still performed mostly in urban centres today.

A growing scene worldwide

There are millions of new urban athletes in North America. In the past few years, skateboard sales across the world have reached an all-time high. People are also flocking to climbing gyms. Both skateboarding and climbing made their debut at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and will also be a part of Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028). Breakdancing will also be officially added to the Paris Olympics!

Montréal’s urban sports street cred

The city has a vibrant outdoor sports scene on both the amateur and the pro front. For over a decade, Montréal has been producing and hosting some of the world’s preeminent urban sports events (see below). But that’s not all — we also have some noteworthy claims to fame.

- The Vans Skatepark is the first permanent skateboard facility to be installed at an existing Olympic site

- The clothing brand Dime — born right here in Montréal — is one of the most prominent urban sports brands, and consolidates fashion and skate brilliantly

- The Allez-Up climbing center is an architectural icon and the largest climbing gym in Canada

Exciting upcoming events

Given Montréal’s busy annual sports hosting schedule, it comes as little surprise that we are often named the Top Sports City in Canada. Increasingly, some of the coolest, most unmissable competitions in town are urban sports events, marking Montréal as a hotspot for sports that are born within cities. Here are just a few of the events and competitions that we host or have hosted.


The unique double-decker event DISTRIX will take over Montréal this summer with competitions uniting the world’s best athletes in two exciting urban sports: breakdancing and 3X3 basketball. Many of these athletes will be on their way to the Paris Olympics! 


A blend of extreme urban activities, the thrilling Jackalope is the largest action sports event in Canada held each August at the legendary Parc Olympique. Featuring BMX, base jumping, fixed gear riding and bouldering, Jackalope is also the only Canadian stop on the World Cup skateboard circuit. Beloved by adrenaline junkies young and old, Jackalope’s nail-biting action leaves everyone on the edge of their seats.


This free ski and snowboarding event in the heart of Montréal is perfect for adrenaline enthusiasts. At Apik there are winter activities for all ages to go with the pro demos, including a mini snow park, an obstacle course and a boulder climbing wall.

FIBA 3X3 World Tour

Three-on-three basketball is not only the largest urban team sport in the world, particularly in Western Europe and Asia – at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it became a bona fide Olympic sport. Montréal is an international FIBA 3X3 World Tour host city — so game on!

WFTDA Championships

Montréal has one of the top 10 ranked roller derby teams in the world and has been known to host the biggest battle for the title in the International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, or WFTDA.

Empire Games

This annual snowboarding competition on hills near Montréal features pro competitions as well as demos, where the world’s best demonstrate their skills. (The Empire Games are also famous for their afterparties!)

Dime Glory Challenge

Montréal’s own Dime launched their Glory Challenge to bring skateboarding back to the streets with a series of challenges using the topography of Montréal’s iconic Olympic Stadium. Full of leaps over picnic tables, down railings and eye-popping staircase jumps, it’s a street skater’s paradise.


An extreme free-climbing competition performed without a rope or a net, Psicobloc has two fierce competitors simultaneously climb up a 55-foot wall overhanging a deep-water pool. It’s a “climbing duel” that merges speed, agility and endurance. 


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