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27 Mar, Monday
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Montreal Families

Quartier des Spectacles kicks off holiday festivities

Residents of frosty Montreal learned long ago that when winter gives you chilly nights and snow-covered streets, embrace it. Luckily for us, there’s always something happening downtown at Quartier des Spectacles. During the holidays, the area will have no shortage of festivities to celebrate the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. From the twinkling of lights to the sounds of music, this downtown destination will be a buzzing hub of Christmas cheer.

Do a little shopping

As usual, Ste. Catherine St. will be decked out in dazzling Christmas decor, setting the scene for snowy walks with hot chocolate or a family day out at the Great Christmas Market. The market opened November 19, 2022. Shoppers can explore 30 chalets offering local and regional artisanal products and delight in local treats. The market will be open until December 31 (closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day).


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Season of Lights

Luminothérapie, the Quartier’s annual interactive light installation, will be back on December 1 for a 13th edition. Running until March 5, this winter’s event features a series of six interactive and luminous installations, four original video projections and an interactive skating experience on ice.

Esplanade Tranquille Skating Rink

On Dec. 1, the Esplanade Tranquille outdoor skating rink opened for the season. Until March, Montrealers and tourists can enjoy skating day or night, in a magical setting in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles.

The 1500 m2 rink is free to access and has a capacity of 400 skaters. It is Montreal’s largest outdoor refrigerated rink. This year, there will be a new interactive experience and special programming such as disco nights on Saturdays. There is skate rental, sharpening and lockers on site. Also, skating lessons for all ages are offered for free on Sundays.

For more information about the rink, click here

Holiday Theatre

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens will give performances of the Nutcracker from December 9 to December 30 at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Place des Arts. Bringing more than a hundred dancers together, this holiday delight has been presented to the public by Les Grands Ballets since 1964. Choreographed by Fernand Nault, the ballet comes alive on the notes of Tchaïkovsky’s composition interpreted by Les Grands Ballets Orchestra with conductors Dmitri Zrajevski and Airat Ichmouratov. After two years of absence, the children will be back on stage for the first act – including the famous Christmas scene where Clara receives her nutcracker – and the show will be presented in its entirety.


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Jean-Duceppe Theatre will also be welcoming little theatregoers for their showing of Nicolas Noël – Les livres des enfants du monde on December 27 and 30. Kids will get a chance to see Santa perform songs and ask him questions. And on December 26, Ari Cui Cui et les Patins Magiques invites viewers to listen to the music of the wind, which invites us to play outside. Ari Cui Cui friends are back to celebrate winter sports: sliding, hockey, and snowball fights. Take part in this large-scale show where Ari Cui Cui will have to face her fears if she finally wants to achieve her childhood dream: ice skating!

The sounds of music

The Quartier will be a destination for music lovers to relish the sounds of the holidays. The Christmas in the Park Festival will be on Thursdays through Sundays from December 3 to 31 in Place Émilie-Gamelin. Families can pick out a Christmas tree and enjoy live music from local artists. 

Other musical offerings will include the Imani Gospel Singers who will be performing at Le Balcon on December 28 and an introduction to electroacoustic music with Zoom-boum-boum on December 4.

Getting there

An inexpensive way to head downtown is by metro or bus. And don’t forget that the STM offers free public transportation for kids under the age of 11 at all times.

For more information about Quartier des Spectacles, click here.

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