For holiday traditions with a French Canadian spin, Montreal is a wonderful place to spend Easter weekend. From the religious to the secular, Montreal's Weekend de Pâques is packed with things to do, like brunches, egg hunts, sugar shack meals, nightlife excursions, and Easter masses. If you're not Christian or religious, many of the activities hosted throughout the city are non-religious.
Egg hunts, live Easter bunny interactions, and pop-up Easter farms are just a few of the many activities geared toward families with young children in and around Montreal. And every year over the holiday weekend, Atrium le 1000, an indoor ice-skating facility in downtown Montreal, opens to families. If you're unsure where you can find a good egg hunt, your best bet is to check the event calendars of libraries across the city.
Take advantage of any opportunity to enjoy brunch at one of Montreal's top restaurants, especially if you're looking for French cuisine. Some restaurants really do go above and beyond to offer special menus tailor-made for the Easter holiday, such as the fancy Maison Boulud in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and posh high tea service at Camellia Sinensis and other tea rooms across the city. This is always a busy day for restaurants in Montreal, so make sure you call ahead to inquire about making reservations.
Easter weekend represents the holiest observance of the year for Christians. With the holiday comes Easter masses and in Montreal, the grandest services are held in the city's large and ornate basilicas: St. Joseph's Oratory, Notre-Dame Basilica, and Mary Queen of the World. All three hold multiple ceremonies throughout the week on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Keep in mind that Montreal is a bilingual city and masses are sometimes held in French. Check the schedule in advance for more information.
In Quebec, a sugar shack isn't just a candy store. For Canadians, it's a one-stop-shop for all their maple syrup needs. Easter falls right in the middle of sap-tapping season, so a visit and a meal at a sugar shack is an annual tradition for many families. Most sugar shacks are located near the sugarbushes, the local nickname for maple plantations, which are outside of the city.
The humble sugar shack meal is the quintessential Québécois feast, consisting of comfort food like pea soup and meat pies. For many, the sugar shack lunch is the official beginning of spring and for families, it's the perfect all-ages activity on Easter weekend. Some offer wagon rides and have mini-farms where kids can pet animals or even ride ponies. Others feature nearby nature trails helping folks work up an appetite. And every cabane à sucre, French for sugar shack, worth its sugar ends the meal with maple snow candy.
Stay at a Nice Hotel
Montreal's winter hotels are perfect for travelers who can't be bothered to trudge through slushy streets, given their direct connection to the underground city. This series of interconnected underground malls in central Montreal can offer a break from the weather.