Tired of going to the same old bars in Montreal? Hiverside, which opened the doors of its giant inflatable igloo on December 10, offers a one-of-a-kind (and super Canadian) nightlife experience because it's crafted out of actual ice.
Between the glacial furniture, festive drinks and magical entranceway full of fairy lights, Hiverside — which you may know as Riverside St-Henri when it's not frozen over — has transformed into a true winter wonderland.
"The cold winds of winter have frozen Riverside, the lush greenery has been enrobed in ice and snow. Amongst the frozen landscape of the sud-ouest and the Lachine Canal, a winter-wonderland has emerged," reads the Hiverside website. It notes that the pop-up is a partnership between Riverside, Grey Goose Vodka and Cointreau.
You may be expecting a bar made from ice to be cold and, well, you'd be right. But Narcity Québec's Françoise Goulet-Pelletier, who visited Hiverside, said, "as the evening progressed, I felt more and more comfortable and my body gradually warmed up." Goulet-Pelletier said the Hiverside team provides blankets and hand warmers for all clients, plus there's a heated section at the back of the bar where chilly patrons can warm up.
UPDATE: The Government of Quebec has introduced new COVID-19 health measures since this article was published. Please review guidelines and double-check the website and social media pages of the event or activity before you head out. We strongly recommend calling before you go.
Why You Should Go: Indoor gatherings are limited to six people right now, so call your besties up and plan a little shindig at one of your apartments. No better way to start the New Year than with your closest people.
Address: 463, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
Why you should go: Three similar interactive works, titled Les Diamants, will spend the holiday season on the front lawn of St. James United Church. You spin them around to enjoy a little light and sound show.
Sure, there are COVID-19 measures in effect, but you can still get outside and explore your city. From enchanting scenery to winter sports to illuminated walks with a cup of hot cocoa in hand, Omicron can't take away ALL our fun.
Why You Need To Go: Feel the magic as you skate across this illuminated 500-metre trail at Parc Jean-Drapeau. According to the website, it's "refrigerated and regularly maintained, thereby ensuring a memorable experience, especially after a small snowfall."
When: December 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and December 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed December 25)
Address: 105, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: With more than 30 local artisans, in a setting fit for a Christmas movie, The Great Montreal Christmas Market is the ideal holiday weekend activity. On-site, you can taste all kinds of delicacies such as tartiflette, waffles, churros and hot chocolate.
Address: Starting at Lola Petite Bourgogne, 2652, rue Notre-Dame O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: If you're up for a challenge this weekend, the escape game company A/Maze has put together an outdoor escape game, "The Winter Store Fronts," a holiday treasure hunt in the streets of Little Burgundy. To play, you'll use a special journal to solve riddles that "the holiday spirit spread around the neighbourhood shops."
Address: On Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, between Crescent and McGill College
Why You Need To Go: This Saturday, warm your heart with a choir that will sing holiday classics with a hip-hop twist. With a cup of coffee or hot cocoa in hand and their sweet voices ringing in your ears, you might just believe in the magic of Christmas.
Why You Need To Go: The borough of Verdun is known for being one of the most decorated neighbourhoods on the Island of Montreal. Take a stroll through its streets and take in the bright lights that could almost blind Santa Claus.
"Saturday we are letting people who absolutely want to meet and gather in a group of 10 to do so," said Premier Legault.
"However, I invite all Quebecers who are able to postpone celebrations to do so and also once again we're asking to have only one celebration either the 24th or the 25th of December, for example, but not both nights."
Legault stressed that Quebecers aged 60 and up should be particularly cautious when it comes to holiday gatherings since 70% of hospitalizations are people in that age range, mainly those who haven't yet gotten the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"People who are 60 and over, perhaps ideally you stay home," said Legault. "If you stay home there is no risk. If you must absolutely go to a family gathering or friendly gathering, you must know that there is a risk."
Legault suggested four ways of minimizing this risk: reducing the number of people, wearing a mask, keeping a distance of 2 metres with other people and opening at least one window in the house to ventilate the area.
You can have 10 people in your home until Christmas. However, Legault announced that starting Sunday, private gathering limits will be reduced to six people or two household bubbles. This will also apply to tables at restaurants.
On December 22, the province recorded 6,361 new COVID-19 cases, 445 total hospitalizations with 88 of those patients in intensive care. There have been 501,698 cases officially reported in Quebec since the beginning of the pandemic.
This article’s left-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.