Even though winter’s official arrival isn’t until December 21, the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) eagerly got a head start by unveiling the main features of its new winter program, which will run from December 19, 2020 to March 7, 2021. The program has something for everyone, in a unique playground-type of setting in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River that is easily accessible by taking the métro. With the help of Québec Government funding, the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau is enhancing its winter offering and enabling park users to fully embrace the joys of winter in the city. While the pandemic has forced the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the Fête des neiges de Montréal, there’s no need to be confined to staying indoors!
Keep active, even in winter
Whether you are a sliding enthusiast or a cross-country skier, cyclist, climber, hiker or simply a nature lover, Parc Jean-Drapeau will be well prepared to accommodate everyone this winter. Of course, it will still require the collaboration of Mother Nature to stage some of the activities but, fortunately, the forecast is for a mild and snowy winter!
Visitors are invited to make their way to Espace 67, where a refrigerated rink and open-sliding area will be set up. People of all ages can bring their skates and sleds so they can spend an enjoyable time as a family, along with getting a great view of the city’s downtown area. A musical ambiance will be livening up the site through the collaboration of Radio-Canada, which is part of the Parc’s winter program. So, head on over to the Patinoire Radio-Canada OHdio! Lace up your skates and then roam around as you listen to the sounds and ambiance of the relaxing musical lists of the Radio-Canada OHdio app that’s been specially designed just for you.
Two traditional cross-country ski trails will be laid out and maintained to enable cross-country ski enthusiasts to practice their sport. A trail for introductory cross-country skiers will be set up at Espace 67 on Île Sainte-Hélène and a second trail, over a distance of five kilometres, will be laid out on Île Notre-Dame. Free introductory lessons will also be offered by Ski de fond Montréal, in compliance with the health and safety measures in effect this winter.
Fans of the growingly popular Fat bike will be able to go on twisty trails, into the underbrush and on plenty of inclines on the Mont Boullé trails of île Sainte-Hélène. And Parc Jean-Drapeau’s rock-climbing wall will be turned into a veritable ice wall, where climbers can meet the challenge of their favourite sport.
Parc Jean-Drapeau will also be making equipment rental available to visitors (skates, cross-country skis, Fat bike, snowshoes, etc.) which will be free for people under the age of 18. (Further details are upcoming on the Parc Jean-Drapeau website). The Société du parc Jean-Drapeau urges visitors to practice the seven principles of the Leave No Trace program for conducting sustainable and responsible outdoor activities to preserve natural heritage and minimize the impact on the environment.
While Parc Jean-Drapeau’s hiking trails are open every day of the year, hikers will be able to come and stretch their legs on a trail that is almost two kilometres long, bordered by signs that provide an explanation about the public art works and heritage buildings. If you like, you can go snowshoeing on the playground flatlands and wooded trails surrounding Mont Boullé, where you can learn more about the history of Île Sainte-Hélène thanks to the explanatory signage developed in collaboration with the Stewart Museum.
Bird-watching enthusiasts are invited to come and admire the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and other birds that make their home in the Parc. In collaboration with the QuébecOiseaux organization, bird feeders will be set up in the woods near the Aquatic Complex to make it easier for people to birdwatch.
Hygiene and safety measures
The Société du parc Jean-Drapeau prepared to welcome visitors by undertaking concrete action plans to comply with health and safety measures pertaining to a pandemic.