07 Dec 2022

Time 8 minutes

7 Things to Do in Old Montreal This Winter

7 Things to Do in Old Montreal This Winter

Last update: December 8, 2022

During this winter season, Old Montreal is full of activities to do, either indoors when the temperature is too cold or outdoors to enjoy the beautiful sunny days of winter.

1- Take a Tour of Some Expositions

Old Montreal is just bursting with art galleries displaying works from dozens of artists of all ages, all origins, and with various themes.

Centre PHI, 315 Saint-Paul West

In the unmissable Centre PHI, delve into the world of Claire Bardainne and Adrien Mondot. Their sensory and immersive installation let you for 30 minutes in a hypnotizing universe. This experience aims to recreate a long minute that occurs the moment before you die or are born. In a series of sounds and videos, you will feel that you are an element undergoing a metamorphosis, like fire burning or rain flowing. And we can’t leave without admiring the interactive multimedia installation Route d’eau, from the windows of buildings to the side of Saint-Pierre Street. Watch an animation accompanied by verses from the great Innu author Joséphine Bacon.

Galerie Youn, 384 Saint-Paul Street West

At Galerie Youn, you can admire the works of Melanie Janisse-Barlow who depicts images without any particular context with her exhibition Jeux de gobelets. She uses paint to illustrate images from her daily life.

Mogli Art Gallery, 55 de la Commune Street West

Are you an animal lover? You must visit the Mogli Art Gallery with its impressive animal paintings. The artist Mogli distinguishes himself by his originality in mixing abstract and realistic art in his vibrant paintings.

2- Become an Amateur Photographer

Does gazing at the work of other artists make you want to express yourself too? Here you’ll find all the equipment you need to start out in photography and you’ll meet experts that will answer any questions you may have.

Photo Service, 222 Notre-Dame Street West

Since 1937, the masters at Photo Service have been helping Quebeckers produce beautiful images, offering sales, rentals, equipment repairs, photo lab access, and more. It’s a true value for both professionals and newbies!

Camtec Photo, 26 Notre-Dame Street East

Open for more than thirty years, Camtec Photo offers the classic services, like new and used sales, and their photo lab. But we really fell in love with their book section and their virtual gallery. On their website storefront, they’ve shared creations from photographers of all horizons. There is much inspiration to be had here!

3- Get Some Air!

Outdoor winter activities are not just reserved for skiers and ice skaters! Why not discover Old Montreal’s heritage jewels in the cold season? Plus, if you did get a new camera, this would be the ideal time to test it out! During our exploration, we stop for a moment at different winter rest areas throughout the territory, where Adirondack chairs with plowed pedestrian walkways, views over attractive lighted decorations and seasonal installations like pine trees await us all winter.

On the list of must-see buildings and monuments, we’ve included Bonsecours Market with its famous dome, the heart of the neighbourhood since 1847; the New York Life Insurance building, constructed in 1887, the first Canadian skyscraper; the majestic neo-gothic Notre-Dame Basilica, inaugurated in 1829; and the pink Brossard-Gauvin House, built in 1749, the only Montreal residence made of wood in the French colonial style.

And you must go say hi to Marguerite Bourgeoys, featured in the statue-fountain installed in 1988 to pay homage to the one responsible for some of the first schools in New France, as well as Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve, founder of the Metropolis, whose bronze form has crowned the Place d’Armes since 1893.

4- Listen to a Piece of History

To sort of clear our minds and stretch our legs a bit, let’s take part in the Old Montréal Winter Rallies presented by the SDC Vieux-Montréal and organized in collaboration with Guidatour. Alone, as a couple, or as a family, everyone is invited to walk through the streets of the historic neighbourhood, answer some questions, and take on some fun challenges. This activity takes place every Saturday in December. A fun way to learn some new things.

We can discover a page of our collective history, thanks to the twenty or so displays that make up Cité mémoire, by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, in collaboration with playwright Michel Marc Bouchard. Presented here, via image, word, and music, are the big names from Quebec history, like hockey player Maurice Richard, black slave Marie-Josèphe Angélique, the Hostesses of Expo 67, and the great Huron chief Kondiaronk.

Château Ramezay, 280 Notre-Dame Street East

Once the residence of French nobleman Claude de Ramezay in 1706, this magnificent building has served alternatively as state building and a court of law, before being transformed into a museum space at the turn of the 19th century. At Château Ramezay, you can discover permanent exhibits that help us relive, using many objects of the time, the everyday life of native, French, and English people during the time of New France.

Pointe-à-Callière, 350 Place Royale

Within the walls of this museum set on the very foundation of the metropolis, lie exhibits on a millennium of local history! You can learn more about commercial trades that allowed for the city to develop, native languages, the conventions and customs of pirates, and so much more!

At Pointe-à-Callière, you can even roam the first collector sewer in North America! And don’t forget to enjoy the new exhibition featuring more than 300 headdresses from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

5- Give Yourself Some Unique Light Therapy!

During the fifth running of Old Montreal in Lights, twinkling structures have been spread throughout the neighbourhood, with the aim of keeping the magic of seeing Old Montreal lit up for the holidays alive a little longer. Some of our favourites: the impressive stars at Place d’Armes, the arch at Place Jacques-Cartier, the tree branch garlands over the charming Saint-Amable Street, and the magical tree near the courthouse.

6- Savour A Warm Drink

Has your Old Montreal expedition left you with rosy cheeks? To warm up a bit, go for a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in one of the neighbourhood's many specialized locations. And here are some suggestions for some original drinks that you can find in two of le Vieux’ must-sees:

Tommy Café, 151 Saint-Paul Street West and 200 Notre-Dame Street West

Tommy Café is a destination of choice for those seeking shelter from the beaten path. We can’t resist the urge to try their lavender matcha or their latte… flavoured with Lucky Charms cereal! Of course, you can order all the classics, good at any time of the year!

Crew Collective & Café, 360 Saint-Jacques Street

Make a detour by Crew Collective & Café here to order one of our favourite hot drinks, be it their caramel latte, a London Fog, or one of the well-renowned house Camellia Sinensis teas.

7- Revitalize Your Skin!

To start the new year off on the right foot, you have a wealth of choices from the vast relaxation and beauty offerings available in Old Montreal.

The Ten Spot, 682 Saint-Paul Street West

At beauty bar The Ten Spot, they have a mission: to make us feel like a 10/10! No doubt that one visit to this unpretentious institution, notably specializing in nail treatments, will put a smile on your face! This chain even has its own line of body care products and nail polishes.

Loft beauté, 59 Brésoles Street

The menu at Loft lets you get a makeover from head to feet: facial treatments, manicures, pedicures, hair removal, massage therapy, and eyelash treatments. This last one, in particular, is a great way to boost your looks… being that it’s the only part of the face visible when we wear our masks!

Spa William Gray, 421 Saint-Vincent Street

Tucked away in the hotel of the same name, the elegant Spa William Gray is a sure value. While it is currently impossible to take advantage of their thermal experience, they still have numerous treatments available administered by their team members. For a moment of pure luxury, try out their signature spa ritual, given on a bed of warm quartz sand!

Rainspa, 55 Saint-Jacques Street

We used to visit Rainspa in the Place d’Armes Hotel for a traditional hammam session. This treatment is not available at the moment, but this place is still worth the detour! We strongly recommend the Proskin facial treatments from Dermalogica, which have the power to completely transform your skin, and are trusted by enthusiasts in Hollywood!

N.B.: Would your business fit in here, but is not yet mentioned? Please, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@sdcvieuxmontreal.com and we will be happy to include it.

Photos: Geneviève Giguère (1-4), Guidatour (5), Tommy Café (6), Crew Collective & Café (7)