Montréal en Lumière presented by Bell Canada is Montreal’s 20th annual spectacular winter light festival. The festival runs from Feb 21 to March 3, 2019 on Thursdays and Fridays from 5PM-11PM and Saturdays and Sundays from 2PM to 11PM. It is held in the Quartier des spectacles in downtown Montreal (St. Urbain Street and De Bleury Street from east to west, and Ste. Catherine Street and President-Kennedy Avenue from south to north) and is accessible from the Place-des-Arts subway station.
The main reason for the festival is to bring light, magic, warmth and energy to the heart of Montreal during the cold winter months, and it has definitely done that by attracting Montreal’s top local artists and chefs to contribute to the festivities. There are various pieces of art around this square in the Illuminart series, as well as gourmet food booths and free shows and activities in every corner.
My absolute favourite part of the festival is the fact that anyone can access their amazing winter rides for free! There are three main attractions that are a must-do at this event, and those are the Québec Maple Ferris wheel, the Milk Urban Slide which is a 110-meter tall, smooth, lit-up ice slide, and the 180-meter RBC Zip-line. I remember having to pay $50+ dollars to go on a zip-line in Niagara Falls, so I am blown away by the fact that it is absolutely free at this event by reservation. Also, I have gone tubing and tobogganing before, but a rapid ice-slide with pulsing lights as you race down is next-level winter goals! I was so excited to try this!
*You must reserve your spot online in the Montréal en Lumière mobile app to access these attractions the day before you go. If you go to the event and download the app there, you will find that day-of spots are usually fully booked, but there is still the option for festival attendees to wait in line (the lines can be long and a spot is not guaranteed, you’re better off RSVPing).
Besides those three main attractions, there are plenty of smaller winter-themed activities that you can do, for example, there’s a sports station to play mini hockey games. If you came out looking for Canadian food, the festival will not disappoint. There is a station where you can sample four different maple syrups, and a booth to buy maple syrup inspired foods. There are also beaver tails and Tim Hortons on site, in addition to a variety of heated white tents serving classic Québécois items. Beat the winter blues by coming out to enjoy a bright evening in Montreal with beautiful art and great food. If you do plan on coming, try planning for Sat, March 2 anytime from 3:30PM to 3AM because Montréal en Lumière is also hosting Nuit Blanche across the city. It is a hugely popular event that is sure to attract thousands of visitors, so be prepared to be in crowds.
Have you been to Montréal en Lumière? Let me know in the comments below!