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26 Jan, Thursday
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Montreal Families

Old Montreal offers slew of activities over holidays

Looking for something fun and festive to do this month? Head to Old Montreal, where you can walk amongst the twinkling lights and experience winter activities and holiday events happening all throughout December.

Rally for a chance to win

For some outdoor fun that’ll keep you moving, spend an afternoon exploring the area’s cobbled streets with the Old Montréal Winter Rallies, presented by SDC Vieux-Montréal. The self-guided rally can be done solo, as a couple, or with the kids — just choose the version for adults or families. The rally instructions are available in English or French.

It takes place every Saturday in December between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. No reservations are necessary, just show up at Place Royale, on the St. Paul Street side where bilingual animators will welcome you at the beginning of the tour to give directions and the required items. Everyone who completes the circuit will be entered in a draw to win a pair of tickets for a guided tour of Old Montreal or a Montreal Ghosts tour with Guidatour.

Light up the night

Bundle up warmly and head out to spend an evening surrounded by dazzling lights strung through the streets, and giant lit-up displays including Christmas trees, snowflakes, and wreaths. The 5th edition of Lumière sur le Vieux-Montréal shines nightly until January 5, 2023. Dotted along the lit paths are rest areas and outdoor fireplaces to warm chilly cheeks and toes. Some notable stops for festive selfies include Notre-Dame Basilica, Marché Bonsecours, Saint-Amable St., and Place Jacques Cartier. Use the online MAP to plot your walking route and to find spots for a break.

Activities celebrate Christmas

From December 26 to 30, Place Royale in front of the Pointe-à-Callière Archaeological Museum will be transformed into a winter village. Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the large igloo in front of the museum, families can enjoy the free performances of Who is the real Santa Claus? Christmas characters from around the world will take turns enchanting the audience with legends from their country. Hear about Italy’s legendary Befana, the Persian astronomer Melchior, and listen to tales of Christmas in Ecuador.

If you’re looking for indoor activities to do during the holiday break, creative workshops are taking place from December 26 to 30 and January 3 to 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. inside the Mariner’s House Lobby at the museum. The activities are included in the price of admission.

Not to be missed

And for an absolutely mesmerizing experience (I’ve been, it was beautiful!), plan an excursion to AURA, the immersive experience at Notre-Dame Basilica. Created by Moment Factory, lights and music are projected across the Basilica’s walls, vaulted ceiling and altarpiece. First created to mark the 375th anniversary of Montreal, the experience was reinvigorated this summer with new scenes and musical moments, including the addition of the Basilica’s Casavant organ, which was inaugurated in 1891 and whose 7,000 pipes can be heard being played live during the show.

Ticket prices and times vary, visit their website for information and rates. aurabasiliquemontreal.com/en

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