Things to do at Parc Jean-Drapeau this winter

Things to do at Parc Jean-Drapeau

Although winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) is getting an early start to the season by announcing the main components of its winter program, which extends from December 18, 2021 to March 6, 2022. The activities are free and open to all, and they take place in a setting which is a one-of-a-kind playground in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, a venue easily accessible by subway.

Embrace your northern spirit in the heart of the river

Whether you are a practitioner of such sports as sliding, cross-country skiing, cycling, climbing, hiking or simply a nature-lover, Parc Jean-Drapeau can accommodate all your interests this winter. While the help of Mother Nature will be needed to set up some of the activities, current forecasts are, fortunately, calling for a mild, snowy winter!

Things to do at Parc Jean-Drapeau

As one of the new features this year, Espace 67 boasts an impressive Skaters’ Trail, a 500-metre long layout presented by Radio Canada. The magical, ice-covered pathway will be refrigerated and mechanically maintained all winter long, thereby ensuring a memorable time, whether you are with family or friends, or just by yourself. The trail will be accessible every day, and it will be lit up in the evening; some nights will be enhanced by the presence of DJs on site to create a truly unique northern experience. Meanwhile, near this new facility, people of all ages will be able to enjoy an open sliding area, a place where they can have loads of fun while getting a fabulous view of downtown Montréal. As an added treat, the Biosphere museum will be open throughout the winter months, with three exhibitions.

Another highlight attraction at Parc Jean-Drapeau this winter: three cross-country ski trails will be marked out and maintained, enabling cross-country enthusiasts to indulge in their favourite sport. On Île Sainte-Hélène, cross-country skiers who are newcomers to the sport can do so on a 300-metre trail. Nearby, the more seasoned skiers have an 800-metre layout for their skill level. There will also be clinics conducted by the Ski de fond Montréal organization, making it a great spot for cross-country skiers that want to train in the skate-skiing technique. The third trail, which is 5.4 kilometres long, is on Île Notre-Dame; this one will accommodate more experienced skiers seeking to get away and go on a trail interspersed with public art displays, heritage buildings and abundant nature. A locker room with waxing tables will be available for visitors at the Pavillon de la Tunisie.

Fans of fat bikes will be able to go on an introductory trail to get familiar with this popular sport. And, once again, Parc Jean-Drapeau’s climbing wall will be turned into a wall of ice, where climbers accredited by the FQME can tackle their favourite sport. It’s a unique experience – one that is seldom accessible this close to the city.

Enjoy nature 

Snowshoeing is one of the easiest, most accessible and fun sports in the winter months. Whether it’s for observing wildlife and plant life, spending some time outdoors or replenishing your energy level, snowshoeing is tailor-made to tame winter in the best possible way. Part of Mont Boullé will provide a great setting for visitors to take a reflective and memorable walk. 

If bird-watching is one of your interests, come over and get a close-up view of the nuthatches, chickadees and woodpeckers that make their home at the Parc. Bird-feeders will be set up in the wooded areas near the Biosphere, Pavillon de la Tunisie and Floralies Gardens to make your bird-watching easier.

Parc Jean-Drapeau will also be making it possible for visitors to rent equipment (skates, cross-country skis, bikes, snowshoes, etc.). In some instances, the rentals will be free for Montréal residents under the age of 17. The services offering will be complemented by food concession places that will serve comfort food and hot drinks to recharge your energy levels so you can fully enjoy the Parc’s winter program of activities. The Société du parc Jean-Drapeau urges people to respect the  7 Principles of the Leave No Trace Program  for the practice of outdoor activities in an ethical, responsible manner to protect natural heritage and minimize the impacts on the environment.

Safe and sanitary measures 

The Société du parc Jean-Drapeau prepared to accommodate visitors by developing specific actions for compliance with the health and safety measures in a pandemic situation. The vaccination passport will not be required to practice winter activities, because they are deemed to be of an “open-activity” nature.

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