Ice Skating at Parc Jarry
There's nothing quite like skating on a real lake. Trust me. I spent a few childhood winters doing just that, speeding a kilometre here, zig zagging through another one there, passing by a hair of treacherously thin ice patches and living to tell the tale. In those moments, I felt free. No skating experience has since come close to those adrenaline rushes that lined my seasoned, wintered youth.
But don't do this at home, folks. A kid out by him or herself ice skating unsupervised on a large country lake is nothing short of reckless.
See Also: Montreal's Best Skating Rinks
And: 7 Reasons to Love Montreal in the Winter
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Now while there's not much in the way of natural lake rinks in Montreal, Parc Jarry does have an artificial lake and when it freezes over, it's fair game for ice skaters. And it's a lot safer than an unmaintained natural lake. There's also a rink for hockey players.
Skating Season: December to March
Outdoor skating season -usually mid-December to mid-March- is of course contingent on weather conditions and tends to vary every year. So if you're planning a skate session before the end of December or after mid-March at an outdoor location, do yourself a favor and call 311 before showing up to make sure the rink is open.
And even if it is skating season, it's best to check conditions online before heading out. All it takes it one unusually warm winter's day to wreck an outdoor skating rink's natural surface.
Location: 7920 St. Laurent, corner of Jarry (map)
Getting There: de Castelnau Metro
Hours*: opening hours for access to the park chalet to change into skates: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., special hours during the Christmas holidays may apply
Services: bathrooms, vending machine at 285 Faillon, no equipment rental available on-site
Parking: free street parking
Anything Else to Do in the Area?
Parc Jarry is adjacent Montreal's Little Italy neighborhood filled with great coffee, hard to find imported edibles, good pizza and solid Italian restaurants. Walk southeast down St. Laurent and in a couple of minutes, you're there.
See Also: Am I Going to Get Frostbitten?
Or walk northeast up Boulevard Jean-Talon to have one of the best foodie experiences of your life. Sample cheese, fruits, vegetables, Quebec-made ciders and more at Jean-Talon Market before or after your skate session. It's a 5- to 10-minute walk from the park.
*Note that opening hours are subject to change without notice.