Every late January to early February, Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau turns into a winter wonderland, a childhood delight that features activities for kids as well as for adults, though the festival's focus is on family, so much so that heated rest stops and a special baby centre with rocking chairs, nursing pillows, and microwaves are made available on site.
The Fête des Neiges 2020 edition runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday from Jan. 18 to Feb. 9, 2020. The festival is on WEEKENDS ONLY.
The event used to be free but now visitors are required to purchase a pass to enter the festival. On the plus side, the pass is valid for the entire duration of the festival and grants entry to all activities. Entry is CA$38 for families (2 adults, 2 children), CA$12 for guests 14 and older, CA$8 for kids 3-13, and free for kids younger than 2 years old.
Every edition usually features ice sculptured playgrounds, a hockey tournament, inner tubing, sliding, skating, snowshoeing, special activities at the Biosphere and live shows. Special facilities for parents with infants are available as are lockers and spaces to warm up the kids. Food is also sold on the premises and if you bring a reusable coffee cup you can get free coffee or hot chocolate.
Things to Do at the Montreal Snow Festival
There is no shortage of things to do at the festival but these are some of our favorites.
- Tube Slide: New for 2020, the festival set up 16 tube-sliding lanes. You start at the top of a hill in Jean Drapeau park with views of downtown Montreal before sliding to the bottom. Thrill seekers can go even faster in the "superslide" lanes.
- Skaters' Path: Skate along a refrigerated path next to the Saint Lawrence river for almost 1,000 feet (300 meters). You can bring your own skates or rent a pair on-site.
- Climb aboard Captain Crinière's ship made completely out of ice. The ship even has slides inside perfect for young ones.
- Catch ice artist Nicolas Godon in action as he carves ice sculptures live. He performs three times each day of the festival.
- Performers from Cirque Éloize don snow suits and put on an outdoor show. The Alpine Adventure sees them climb to top of Mount Boule-de-Neige while doing daring acrobatic feats. The show happens twice a day each day of the festival.
For a complete list of Montreal Snow Festival activities, consult the Fête des neiges website.
Getting to Montreal's Snow Festival by Car or Public Transit
Getting to Parc Jean-Drapeau's Fête des neiges by car is feasible but you will have to pay a parking fee. If you arrive before 4 p.m. it's CA$15 per day. If you arrive after 4 p.m. it's CA$10 per day.
It's also easy to get to the hub of site activities using public transit. Fest organizers propose attendees take advantage of special parking areas near Namur, Radisson, Montmorency, Angrignon and Longueuil metros in order to take the the subway, getting off at Metro Jean-Drapeau for direct access to snow festival grounds.
As for public transit fares, families benefit from a Family Outings promotion, whereby parents, after paying their own transit fare, can bring along up to five kids ages 12 and under for free on weekends and during legal holidays. Find out more about Montreal public transit transit fare rates.
Visit the Parc Jean-Drapeau website for details. Call (514) 872-6120 for further assistance.