Montreal Christmas Parade: Défilé de Noël 2017
A low-key alternative to Montreal's largest Christmas parade is Montreal's arguably second largest Christmas parade, shopping destination Plaza St. Hubert's défilé de Noël (that's French for "christmas parade"). Called Défilé des rêves, this particular Montreal Christmas parade runs December 1, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Expect up to 30,000 people in attendance. Here's a map of the parade route.
Le Défilé de Noël Is Actually Called Défilé des Rêves
Renamed Défilé des rêves (French for "parade of dreams") in recent years, Plaza St. Hubert's Christmas parade is a quaint, family-friendly procession usually held the final Friday of November or the first Friday of December, usually scheduled within a week of the popular downtown Santa Claus parade.
Défilé des Rêves 2017: December 1, 2017
Plaza St. Hubert's Défilé des rêves is scheduled to run on Friday, December 1, 2017 as of 7 p.m. starting at the corner of Bellechasse and St. Hubert. Concluding at the corner of Jean-Talon and St. Hubert by around 8:30 p.m., the parade takes about 60 to 90 minutes at most to run from Bellechasse to Jean-Talon. View a map of the parade route.
Défilé des Rêves Is Fabulous for Kids
Consisting mostly of a series of antique firetrucks with Christmas-related elves and fairy types running around entertaining the kids, it's safe to say that even though the floats are more modest than what's typical of the downtown Santa Claus parade, Plaza St. Hubert's Défilé des rêves can, in many ways, be more interesting for kids because 1) it's less crowded and as a result, 2) the parade characters are more likely to interact with children (keyword: hugs and handshakes).
Défilé des rêves is also less of a headache for parents since parking is cheaper and easier to find at Plaza St. Hubert than downtown and, again, the smaller crowd makes for a smoother experience for everyone. You don't even need to get there that ahead of time to secure a decent view.
Alternately, families can travel there using public transit. The parade is at most a two-minute walk from Beaubien Metro.
Any Other Activities Happening on Location?
Usually yes. Surprise activities for the little ones are generally planned from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the corner of St. Hubert and Bélanger. Getting to the parade early and/or sticking around afterward has its perks.
Christmas in Montreal
In addition to the holiday season's popular parades are a slew of other traditional events in Montreal.
Complexe Desjardins typically hosts a variety of Christmas-themed events and activities, notably Santa Claus meet-and-greets. Across the street in Place des Arts' esplanade is an outdoor Christmas market. And adjacent the market is Luminothérapie, an annual interactive installation set up in Quartier des Spectacles' Place des Festivals featuring a new theme every year.
Various Plateau neighborhoods set up Christmas villages and Old Montreal also hosts an outdoor Christmas market near the Old Port where weekly fireworks are scheduled.