If you're visiting Montreal during the holidays, the annual Fire on Ice show at Bonsecours Basin—located at the Old Port of Montreal—is a must-see event. Dubbed a "pyro-musical" show, spectators flock to downtown to see the weekly fireworks—or feux d'artifice—choreographed to music from Academy Award-winning composer John Williams, famous for scoring films such as "Jaws," "Jurassic Park," and "Star Wars."
The show is free to attend and open to all, and there are other activities such as ice skating to round-out your winter experience.
Fire on Ice Schedule
The fireworks show premieres in mid-December, and you can see it each week on Saturday evenings through early January. This year you can see Fire on Ice on December 14, 21, and 28, 2019, and January 4, 2020. The show begins at 8 p.m. and lasts about 15 minutes.
Get the full winter holiday experience and try ice skating at the Old Port skating rink, right underneath the fireworks show glistening in the sky while the music accompaniment plays around you. Bring your own skates or rent them on-site. The skating rink is open beginning December 7, 2019, and closes for the season on February 29, 2020.
Other Activities at the Old Port
Thrill-seekers will be pleased to know that the first urban zip line in Canada is open for business in the winter, but you'll have to get there early to enjoy this popular activity. The Old Port Zipline is accessible on weekends during the winter, weather permitting. Get an unbeatable view of the Montreal skyline along with an adrenaline rush.
For something more relaxing, head to the spa of Bota Bota, located on a ship docked on the St. Lawrence River. Pamper yourself in this breathtaking location with massages, facial treatments, yoga, and more. Many of the areas offer stunning views of the waterfront, so book your appointment accordingly to watch the fireworks show while sitting in a heated thermal pool.
Consider dinner around the neighborhood to pass the time until the fireworks start at 8 p.m. Nearby favorites include Modavie, La Champagnerie, and Le Bremner. Note that affordable family dining is hard to come by in Old Montreal. Your best budget bet is to walk over to Montreal's Chinatown.
How to Visit
The Old Port is conveniently located near downtown Montreal, and if you're in the city center, it's easy to walk there. If you're coming on the metro, the Champ-de-Mars, Place d'Armes, or Square-Victoria stations are all within easy walking distance.
If you're looking to park in the Old Port area of Montreal, most garages cost 12 to 15 Canadian dollars per hour. The Old Port area stretches along the promenade along the St. Lawrence River. It encompasses the Montreal Science Centre, Jacques-Cartier Pier, and the historic clock tower.