Despite gyms and group sports being on hold, Montrealers can still profit from the mental and health benefits of staying active with a slew of outdoor activities being offered this winter at Jean-Drapeau Park.
The Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) recently unveiled its lineup of winter activities, which will run from December 19, 2020 to March 7, 2021.
Reconnect with nature at Jean-Drapeau Park
The park’s large area offers ample space to respect social distancing rules, while allowing sports enthusiasts the stretch their legs, breathe the crisp fresh air, and get a natural energy boost. Families and individuals can connect with Mother Nature while on a hushed snowshoe walk, get their hearts pumping on cross-country skis, enjoy the music by the skating rink, go sledding against the backdrop of downtown Montreal, or take a spin on a fat bike. There’s even an ice wall for climbing!
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Outdoor winter activities galore
At Espace 67, a refrigerated ice rink of 50 x 100 feet and natural sledding area will be set up, where people of all ages can bring their skates and crazy carpets. For a festive atmosphere, Radio-Canada will bring the site to life with music at the Patinoire Radio-Canada OHdio! Nearby check out the 700 x 10-foot skating oval which is located in the heart of Espace 67.
Two-kilometres of pedestrian paths along the north shore of the island will accessible to hikers (and dogs on a leash!), while snowshoers can enjoy the snow-covered flatlands and wooded paths surrounding Mont Boullé near the Tour de Lévis.
In addition, two cross-country ski trails will be marked and groomed throughout the winter. A 750-metre introductory track will be set up at Espace 67 on Île Ste. Hélène, while on Île Notre-Dame a second five-km trail will run alongside the Olympic basin and bicycle path, then meander through the Jardin des Floralies. Free introductory lessons will be offered by Ski de fond Montréal, in keeping with the health regulations that will be in place this winter.
For fat bike enthusiasts, the twisting trails and inclines of Mont Boullé on Île Ste. Hélène will offer a challenging course, and climbers can test out their skills on the park’s rock-climbing wall, which will be transformed into an ice wall.
If you want to quietly enjoy nature and the park’s wildlife, feeders will be set up in the woods near the Aquatic Complex for peaceful bird watching. Throughout the park you can find public artworks and heritage buildings, and interpretive panels where you can learn more about the history of Île Ste. Hélène.
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Rentals available on site
For those without their own equipment, or who don’t want to carry it on the metro, rental equipment is available (skates, cross-country skis, fat bikes, snowshoes, etc.), which will be free this season for Montreal residents under the age of 18. For the toboggan hill, you need to bring your own sled.
Because of the ever-changing government regulations regarding COVID-19, the availability of some activities may vary, while weather conditions may hinder others. “Bathrooms will be available at all times. For other services like food, lockers, warming areas and rental service, the availability might change depending on the evolution of the Covid-19 situation,” said Véronique Caissie, social media and media relations advisor, Société du parc Jean-Drapeau. “We invite everybody to visit our website before coming to the park. All updates on the activities and services availability will be posted there.”
Hours: Hours, info, and rental rates for each activity are posted on the park’s website parcjeandrapeau.com (winter activities)
Address: 67 Macdonald, Montreal, H3C 6A3
Accessible by public transit: Yes (Jean-Drapeau metro station). The metro station is located right in the heart of the park and is the easiest way to access the activities. A map of each activity’s location is at the bottom of each individual website page.
By car: If you are coming by car, you can reach the park using the Jacques-Cartier Bridge or Concorde Bridge (Bonaventure Expressway, Pierre-Dupuy exit.) Parking rates are 1 hour $4.50, 2 hours $9, Daily rates $11.
Phone number: 514-977-9328
To read more about other Montreal-area parks offering outdoor winter activities, click here.