Activities for making the most of winter in Montréal’s large parks

Last updated December 14, 2022
Reading time: 3 min

This winter, a full slate of activities will be offered in the city’s nature parks and at Parc du Mont-Royal, Parc Frédéric-Back and Parc Jean-Drapeau. A perfect opportunity to appreciate the joys of getting active outdoors without leaving the city.

In addition to the regular activities (cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, walking and sliding and fatbike), here are some suggestions of winter outings not to be missed. Most of them are free.

Storytelling around the fire

Cosy up to a warm fire while letting a storyteller regale you with tales. This activity takes place at the Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, the Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques and the Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation.

Fatbike in February

Come try one of these bicycles with outsized wheels. In February, bike loans with a reservation are offered on Saturdays at the Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies and on Sundays at the Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques.

Self-guided or guided hikes

At nightfall, take part in a free guided hike on cross-country skis, snowshoes or on foot. Guided theme-based treks are also on the program. These activities take place at the Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, the Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques, and the Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation.

The Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, the Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation and the Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies offer hikes for people ages 65 and over.

On the mountain, meanwhile, several guided hikes on foot or in snowshoes are offered, during the day or in the evening, with the city lights twinkling in the distance. Residents will also want to discover Shinrin-yoku, a meditative walk involving sensory exploration, relaxation and contemplation. There is a charge for these activities.

Venture out to discover the winter wildlife and flora at Parc Frédéric-Back. Guided tours in snowshoes are offered during the day (8 to 12 years old and 12 years and up) and at nightfall.

Training in the snow

Breathe in the bracing winter air while taking part in a supervised training session in the snow. This activity takes place at the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse and the Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation.

Cross-country skiing courses and initiation clinics 

The Jack Rabbit program allows young skiers aged 6 to 13 to learn to cross-country ski or to perfect their technique (levels 1, 2 and 3). It is offered at parcs-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies, du Bois-de-Liesse, du Cap-Saint-Jacques and de l’Île-de-la-Visitation.

People 14 years of age and older can take advantage of à la carte courses in cross-country skiing initiation, endurance, improvement and vertical drop management. These courses are offered at parcs-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies, Bois-de-Liesse, Cap-Saint-Jacques and Île-de-la-Visitation.

Want to learn to cross-country ski as a family? Classes are offered on some Saturdays at Île-de-la-Visitation nature park.

Cross-country skiing lessons for adults of all levels are offered at Mount Royal Park.

Every Saturday and Sunday, in the afternoon, an expert will be present on the trail on Île Sainte-Hélène to offer tips and advice to those interested.

Shuttle service to three nature parks

A shuttle service from downtown (Square Dorchester) will take you to the following nature parks, with eight days scheduled:

  • Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse : January 21 and February 28
  • Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques : February 5, 19 and 27
  • Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies : February 25, March 3 and 12

Reservations are mandatory and must be made 14 days before each outing with Navette Nature.

Riddles

“Une bête dans les parages” (“A beast in the vicinity”) is a riddle that invites participants to follow the traces of a mysterious animal hiding in the Parc du Mont-Royal. This is a paid activity.

Snow sculpture

Learn how to make snow sculptures at Parc Frédéric-Back. This supervised activity takes place every Sunday in February and during spring break. Materials provided.

Please consult the calendar of winter activities in Montreal’s major parks for more information.

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