Borrow winter equipment for free

Four Montreal libraries are lending out sleds, snowshoes, walking poles and crampons

Borrow winter equipment for free

Photo credit: Getty Images

Bring along your cold-weather gear next time you head to the library. Four Montreal libraries are going beyond books and magazines this winter and offering fun ways to stay active outdoors.

If sports equipment is out of your budget or sold out in stores, borrow some from the library — at no cost — and try it out for a day or a week.

Since January 25, 2021 library users can borrow snowshoes, sleds, crampons, and walking poles to enjoy at home or around the city. It’s part of a new service from Parc actif, a program coordinated by Sport et Loisir de l’île de Montréal, with financial support from the Ministère de l’Éducation and Kino Québec, a program that promotes regular physical activity.

Try a new activity, for free

Residents of Montreal’s 19 boroughs can take advantage of the service as long as they hold a valid library card from the Montreal library network. The same card is valid in the 45 libraries of the network and allows access to the services offered at each.

Winter equipment available for loan include:

  • Sleds for children
  • Snowshoes for children and adults
  • Snowshoe tails (attachments that extend the length of the snowshoes)
  • Walking poles for adults
  • Crampons for different sized boots

Participating libraries

Reservations must be made by phone or in person, at one of these libraries:

Mordecai-Richler
5434 Parc Ave., Plateau-Mont-Royal
514-872-2141

Saul-Bellow
3100 Saint-Antoine St., Lachine
514-872-5080

Marie-Uguay
6052 Monk Blvd., Sud-Ouest
514-872-4097

Rosemont
6100 9e Avenue, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie
514-872-4701
(equipment will only be available at this location in early February)

You will be contacted when the item is ready for pick up, and loans are for a duration of seven days (or longer if there are no holds). To enjoy activities together, families can borrow more than one item at a time. Note that the equipment may vary from one library to another. For more information, contact the participating library closest to you.

If you are a City of Montreal resident but do not have a library card, you can sign up for one at bibliomontreal.com/abonnez-vous/

Find more information, informative maps of the libraries’ surroundings, and winter activity tips at sportloisirmontreal.ca/parc-actif/#idpret-de-materiel-en-bibliotheques

COVID measures

The Montreal library network reminds users to follow government health instructions regarding physical distancing, family bubbles, and gatherings. All returned equipment is quarantined for a minimum period of 24 hours before it is loaned out again.

Programs across Canada

While libraries have always provided access to knowledge and encouraged literacy, they’re also becoming key community resources for recreation by encouraging members to get outside of the library walls to engage in free play, and connecting people of all ages and abilities with nature and the outdoors.

In western Quebec, all libraries of the Réseau BIBLIO de l’Outaouais offer binoculars as well as guides on birds, trees, flowers, and animals. In Ontario, the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet public libraries offer a huge selection of sports equipment for all seasons, from skates to fat bikes. And everyone in Alberta can take advantage of a bike-lending program in Redcliff, Alberta where bicycles, helmets, and locks are available to people who hold a valid library card from anywhere in the province.

Prefer to stay indoors, or want to get into a new hobby? There are libraries here in Montreal where you can even borrow musical instruments including guitars, violins, or how about a glockenspiel? Find out more at bibliomontreal.com/musique/

Have you found an interesting lending program at your local library? Let us know in the comments.