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07 Feb, Tuesday
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Montreal Families

Three great spaces for outdoor winter fun

Embrace the winter season and get out there to explore! There are plenty of winter activities around Montreal to keep you and your family busy throughout the cold and gray months. From tubing, to hiking, and biking, here are three large parks where you can stay active outdoors this winter.

Parc nature les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare

2800 Lotbinière, St. Lazare, J7T 3H9
450-424-8000 ext 287

Three great spaces for outdoor winter fun

Photo credit: Ville de Saint-Lazare

I’ve visited this beautiful site a number of times in summer and fall, and my kids have zipped down the tubing hill in winter on school trips.

If you’re not into careening down a hill, there’s plenty more you can enjoy. Walking trails are accessible from sunrise to sunset (stay off the ski trails), you can snowshoe over four kilometres, and there are more than nine kilometres of cross-country skiing trails of different levels. An illuminated skating ring has free learning aids for beginners, and the obstacle course will have the little ones (and their parents!) trying out their balancing skills.

Cross-country ski (classic and skate), snowshoe, and kids’ sleigh rental is available by prior reservation only. Rental info and procedures are available on the park’s website under “plan your visit”. The use of snow tubes is included in the daily and seasonal rates.

Access is free for residents of St. Lazare, Les Cèdres, and Hudson with a valid resident’s card. The rate for non-residents and accepted payment methods is available here: lesforestiers.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/plan-your-visit/

Follow the park’s Facebook page at facebook.com/lesforestiers for daily site conditions and information on how to best plan your visit.

Photo credit: Ville de Saint-Lazare

Île Saint-Bernard and Marguerite-D’Youville Wildlife Refuge

480 D’Youville Blvd., Chateauguay, J6J 5T9

Credit: Christine Latreille

Come for a hike, stay for the wildlife! Héritage Saint-Bernard welcomes visitors to walk, snowshoe, and enjoy nature throughout its vast natural space. Located on Île Saint-Bernard — an island which is surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, the Châteauguay River, and Lac St. Louis — the 223-hectare Marguerite-D’Youville Wildlife Refuge has more than eight kilometres of walking trails through forests, fields, marshes, and along boardwalks. It’s an idyllic spot close to Montreal where you can view some of the 243 species of birds that have been observed, or admire the white-tailed deer that roam freely.

The site is open every day of the year, from sunrise to sunset. The trails are accessible to pedestrians and people using snowshoes, but off-trail wandering is prohibited, as are dogs and other pets. Access the trails of the wildlife refuge via the Pavillon de l’Île, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for access to the indoor bathrooms, to enter the trails, and for snacks at the Café de l’Ile (open daily from 9-4).

Daily rates to enjoy the site vary from $5 for children to $18.35 for a family of four. It is free for children under 2. Bring along some bird seed, because yes, you are allowed to feed the friendly birds.

Find more information, visit ilesaintbernard.com and its Facebook page to stay up-to-date facebook.com/heritagestbernard

Credit: Christine Latreille

Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles

345 Sainte-Rose Blvd., Laval, H7L 1M7

Credit: Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles

Nature lovers will surely enjoy the scenery and wildlife at this beautiful protected sanctuary on the shores of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. Bring your sleds to enjoy the free groomed sledding run for visitors of all ages, access the 4.8km Owl Trail where you can walk and snowshoe, or practice your fancy footwork on the ice rink. Along with the activities currently in place, the park plans to add ice fishing as well as additional walking and snowshoeing trails on the river once it is safe.

The park does not take reservations but works on a first-come, first-served basis and is open Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All activities and parking are free. Bathrooms and a café are available indoors.

For more information visit the park’s website parc-mille-iles.qc.ca/en/ and follow them on Facebook for updates facebook.com/parcmilleiles

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