Winter games / Jeux d’hiver

All set to go tubing at Fête des neiges! Photo: Patricia Maunder

All set to go tubing at Fête des neiges! Photo: Patricia Maunder

Since my previous post, when I wrote about starting my first winter in the Great White North, I have had a wonderful, wonderful time embracing the season’s snow and ice. While the temperature has been somewhat uneven, actually peeping above the parapet of zero Celsius on a few days (making snow melt, paths treacherously icy and outdoor skating unreliable), there has been plenty of opportunity to get out there and enjoy it. An invigorating walk up Mont Royal. Skating at the Old Port’s vast outdoor rink. Frolicking with my beau in the massive dumping of snow that fell at the end of December (45cm in 24 hours – a Montreal record!). Vodka shots on the balcony, poured from a bottle chilling in the snow …

With so much fun to be had at this time of year, it’s little wonder that there are winter festivals across Quebec (and Canada) that make the most of the sub-zero conditions. In Montreal we have Fête des neiges (Snow Festival), which happens over three weekends on an island park in the St Lawrence River. Anything that involves having a great time outdoors with snow and ice is gathered here: dog-sled rides; ice carvings that glisten in the sun; skating along a path with views of Montreal across the river (where I was amazed to see ducks contentedly floating among great chunks of ice!). Continue reading

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