Fête des Neiges offers new and improved activities

Thousands of families head to Jean Drapeau park every winter to enjoy a multitude of activities at our winter festival

Gilles Proulx

Our winters may be long and cold, but in communities all around the province, just as the bright spark of Christmas fades, we can look forward to winter festivals to tease us out of hibernation and rekindle our joy in the season.

One of the biggest of these festivals, the Fête des Neiges, draws more than 100,000 people clad in snowsuits, mittens and tuques, over four weekends to Jean-Drapeau Park, to brave the snow and ice, and enjoy chilly fun in late January and early February.

For 35 years, the festival has helped Montrealers celebrate winter with family-friendly activities, many of which are free. Families can enjoy tubing, sliding off an icy pirate ship, riding a dog sled, and taking in the entertainment at the festival’s many shows.

For the first time this year, the festival will feature the Big Jump, an aerial obstacle course that ends in a 50-foot bungee drop. The ice-sculpting area (photo right) has been revamped and there will be experts on hand to help budding sculptors. 

People can enjoy a historical stroll to learn about the history of Jean-Drapeau Park or take in a theatre performance by Théâtre de la Fratrie, which will use circus and dance to tell the story of the celestial legend of la Grande Ourse (the great bear). Also new this year, adults can try axe throwing.

Other popular activities returning include the skater’s path, giant foosball, a polar circus, snow scooters, mini-igloos and more. Food will be available to purchase at the Zone Faim du Loup, which will also host a variety of musical performances. Food trucks will be on-site as well as vendors offering maple taffy, marshmallow-roasting, hot chocolate and mulled wine. Animators at the event show up dressed in colourful and elaborate costumes with face paint that transforms them into lions, monkeys, bears and other fantastical creatures.

Purchasing an Accropasse is required for certain activities, including the Big Jump, tubing and zip-lines. The pass is $50 for families or $16 per individual for all four weekends. Passes are free for children under 4. Daily tickets are also available.

The Fête des Neiges will be held at Jean-Drapeau Park from Jan. 20 to Feb. 11 between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays (except the Tiny Tots zone, which closes at 5 p.m.) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information, visit parcjeandrapeau.com


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