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Montreal Families

Montreal Winter Break Activities for Kids

2094567877_e7acdffcc8With schools out for two weeks and some day cares closed for the holidays, many parents will be thinking:

  • “Does this mean it’s time to put away the Halloween decorations?”
  • “Can we still book Hawaii? How about Plattsburg?”
  • “Isn’t Chinese takeout so much more festive than home-cooked turkey?”
  • “All I want for Christmas is to sleep in. Got it, Santa?”

I Spy Montreal is not in a position to answer these questions. But we can help you figure out what activities are going on for families over the next two weeks, and offer a few ways to combat cabin fever. Keep scrolling down to find out what movies are playing, December family events, information on places to go skating and sledding, and a list of general family destinations.

Children’s Shows and Theatre

Dec. 2 to Jan. 3: Baobab, a play for ages 3 to 8, about a boy trying to save his African village. Read full description on Maison Théâtre website. Weekend show times are at either 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. For tickets, call: 514 288-7211, ext. 1.

Dec. 17 to Jan. 3: Disney Live Playhouse, a show featuring Mickey Mouse and friends, the Little Einsteins and Whinnie the Pooh, at Théâtre St. Denis. Show lasts 75 minutes with a 15-minute intermission; most performances are in French, some are in English. Show times vary depending on the day, but include: 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets: $18.50 to $85. For more information, or to buy tickets go to Gillett Entertainment. Watch a video preview of the show.

Through Jan. 3: Santa vs. the Snowman: A 3-D Christmas film, 40 minutes long, at the Montreal Science Centre. Read the description.Click here for the schedule, address and rates.

Dec. 12 to 30: The Nutcracker Ballet, the classic Christmas ballet is targeted at ages 5 and up, at Place des Arts. Tickets: $20 to $114. Call 514-842-2112 or go to Place des Arts website for more information.

Dec. 21 to 24 at 11 a.m.: Julie sa muse et La magie des cloches (Read show description) at Complexe Desjardins, part of the Christmas Village. Call 514-845-INFO or go to www.complexedesjardins.com

Dec. 27, 29 and 30: Holy Cow! (Ah la Vache!), A play for ages 5 to 12 about Henriette Toutamoi, who has lost her teddy bear. Watch video preview here. Show times are either at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.; both French and English versions will be performed. Cost: $18 per person. Call 514-242-2112 or go to Place des Arts website to find out more.

Dec. 27, 28, and 30: Les Zidées Métronomes, a musical show for ages five to 12, involving percussion, various instruments and voice, performed by two virtuoso musicians. Read full description. Show is at Place des Arts. Cost: $13.50 per person. Call 514-242-2112 or go to Place des Arts website to find out more.

Dec. 27 and 29 at 1:30 p.m.: Hima, a children’s story with puppets and music for ages 2 to 5, inspired by snowflakes, by Théâtre Inimagino at la Grande Bibliothèque, 475 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E. Call 514-873-1100. Free with a pass available at the library as of Dec. 15.

Children’s Movies playing in Montreal

Through Jan. 3: Santa vs. the Snowman: A 40-minute 3-D Christmas film at the Montreal Science Centre. Read the description. Click here for the schedule, address and rates.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel. Opens Dec. 23. Watch for review. Check for Montreal theatres and times.

The Princess and the Frog, for age six and up. Read parents’ review. Check for Montreal theatres and times.

Fantastic Mr. Fox, for age seven and up. Read parents’ review. Check for Montreal theatres and times.

A Christmas Carol, for age 8 and up. Read parents’ review. Check for Montreal theatres and times.

Astro Boy, for age 7 and up. Read parents’ review. Montreal theatres and times.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, for age 7 and up. Read parents’ review. Montreal theatres and times.

Where the Wild Things Are, for age 9 and up. Read parents’ review. Montreal theatres and times.

Indoor Events

Château Ramezay offers various holiday activities through Jan. 3: Children are invited to hang a Christmas stocking on one of the fireplaces, and return after New Year’s Day to see what’s in the stocking. Outdoor snowshoeing: Families are invited to explore the small outdoor garden using snowshoes (which are provided), then have a hot chocolate. Brioche workshop: On weekends in December, as well as Dec. 28, 29 and 30, Jan. 2 and 3, children age 6 to 12 can participate in making a brioche at 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Check the holiday schedule before going. Call 514-861-3708 or go to Chateau Ramezay’s website. The museum is at 280 Notre Dame St. E., Old Montreal.

Dec. 19 to Feb. 14: Caillou Discovers Winter at the Biodome. Children have the opportunity to meet Caillou, listen to a storytelling session, take a special winter tour of the Biodome and do some winter activities. From Dec. 19 to Jan. 3, storytelling will be held at 1:30 p.m. From Jan 5., storytelling will be held Thursdays at 11 a.m. and weekends at 1:30 p.m. For more information, go to the info page on the Biodome website. Biodome is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but closed on Dec. 21, 24 and 25.

Dec. 20 to 24: Noël dans le Parc, an outdoor Christmas festival at Lahaie Park, corner of St. Laurent Blvd. and St. Joseph in Mile End. Event includes concerts, street performers, Christmas trees for sale, fires for grilling sausages and toasting marshmallows, apple cider and hot chocolate, a winter cabin and sheep shelter. See Noël dans le Parc website for details.

Dec. 19 to 20, 24, 26 to 31: Who is the Real Santa Claus? Special tours of Pointe-à-Callière Museum involve meeting various characters related to Christmas, and learning how they celebrate the holidays in their part of the world. Tours are held from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and last 45 minutes.

Dec. 4 to Jan. 3: Christmas Tree Exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, featuring more than 35 trees decorated with different themes. Call 514-285-2000 or go to www.mbam.qc.ca.

Dec. 21 to Jan. 3: Christmas Fantasy at the Atrium: The indoor skating rink at 1000 de la Gauchetière St. W. is open daily during the holiday period, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Most afternoons, a magician and face-painter will be there. Go to www.le1000.com or call 514-395-0555.

Dec. Dec. 19 to Jan. 5: Village du Père Noël is open for tons of outdoor winter activities, including tubing, slides, a zip-line, an outdoor play area, skating rink, mini train, plus some indoor attractions and a snack bar. It is located around an hour north of Montreal, off Highway 15, exit 76. Call 1-800-287-NOEL.

Dec. 27 at 2 p.m.: Christmas angels workshop for ages 5 and up at Musées des maîtres et artisans du Québec, 615 Ste. Croix Ave., St. Laurent. Cost: $10 per family. Call 514-747-7367, ext. 7204 or go to museum website.

Dec. 27 and 30 from 10 a.m. to noon: Play in the workshop at La Grande Bibliothèque, a chance for ages 6 and up to discover the toys and games in the library’s youth section, a La Grande Bibliothèque, 475 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E. For information, call 514-873-1100.

Outdoor Activities

If you’re looking for an outdoor skating rink or places to go sledding in various boroughs, this link will tell you about opening dates, times and conditions. Some popular outdoor skating rinks are at:

  • Angrignon Park
  • Bonsecours Basin in Old Montreal (rents skates, helmets, children’s harnesses and strollers)
  • Beaver Lake on top of Mount Royal (rents skates, helmets and children’s harnesses)
  • Jeanne Mance Park at the bottom of Mount Royal
  • Parc LaFontaine (rents skates and helmets)

Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered in the Old Port and on Mount Royal

Old-fashioned sleigh rides through the snow, check out La Ferme L’Auteuilloise, an equestrian farm in Laval. There is a minimum charge of $60 for a family sleigh ride (4 people). Ten-km rides take about an hour. The farm is located at 830 Milles Iles Blvd., Laval. Reservations are necessary. Call 450-625-5586.

Village du Père Noël is open for tons of outdoor winter activities, including tubing, slides, a zip-line, an outdoor play area, skating rink, mini train, plus some indoor attractions and a snack bar. It is located around an hour north of Montreal, off Highway 15, exit 76. Call 1-800-287-NOEL.

Other Family Destinations

Please consult the websites of the following places for holiday hours before heading out!

Play Centres and Parent/Baby Cafés

Book stores for children

Family-friendly indoor pools

Children’s attractions



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