Holiday magic in the downtown core

3 minutes

Montreal centre-ville

Every year, young and old alike flock to the downtown core to take in some holiday magic and enjoy some festive fun. This year, the pandemic has forced organizers to rethink their offering and get creative in order to provide the public with one-of-a-kind moments that still respect the sanitary measures currently in place. Here’s a breakdown of our city’s holiday activities!

Head to the gardens!

From December 5 to January 3

This year, the Christmas market traditionally held in the city’s east end is being replaced with an enchanting trail called Winter Gardens. With a hot chocolate in hand, visitors are invited to explore three distinct universes specially created for the occasion. From Place des Arts to Place des Festivals, with a stroll down Sainte-Catherine, pedestrians will get to take in all the sparkling decorations and holiday magic. Parents can take a moment to catch their breath while the kids stop to take selfies!

Designed according to governmental guidelines related to COVID-19, this festive itinerary is the perfect post-shopping activity!

On-demand luminothérapie

Quebec literatureis being celebrated at Quartier des spectacles, which is lit up thanks to loop’s big return. So maybe you can’t travel to the tropics, but you can enjoy one of twelve giant wheels that will whisk you away on a literary journey! Simply activate the mechanism on this futuristic interactive installation and watch as images created by Quebec illustrators appear.

These images, inspired by classic Quebec literature, can also be admired thanks to a video-projection displayed on the UQÀM’s president-kennedy pavilion, where passers by can delve into the imagination of their favourite authors. Thanks to luminothérapie, visitors can take a break from the holiday rush and forget just how crazy this past year has been… At least for a few minutes! Make sure to check it out!

Follow Santa Claus

From November 21 to December 28

Oh no! A bunch of naughty elves havestolen Santa Claus’ clothesand hidden them in several downtown shops. Armed with an explorer notebook, budding detectives must follow clues and find Santa Claus’ things. Who will be the first to find a vest, a glove, and a boot?

Strolling through the downtown streets, lit up with festive lights, not only will visitors get to partake in this holiday hunt, they’ll also get to window-shop, warm up with a hot beverage, and do a little last-minute shopping. Talk about practical AND fun!

For even more holiday magic, three floats will be parked at different spots along the naughty elf circuit. Because even Santa Claus has to practice social distancing, children can get their pictures taken in front of these festive floats, including one that (almost!) hovers.

There will also be a toy repair float and one where children can mail their letters to Santa.

Top shop window displays

From December 1st

Santa Claus is planning a show-stopping appearance at the foot of the magnificent tree installed on the corner of Sainte-Catherine West and De la Montagne by XP_MTL, a non-profit organization that strives to make downtown Montreal shine. Head to the walkway that overlooks this 20 metre-high structure to make sure you don’t miss a second of Saint Nick’s landing.

Plus, enjoy a breathtaking view of the city’s oldest commercial artery while you’re at it. After taking in the magical show, visitors are invited to choose their favourite window display from among the 20 or so retailers having decorated for the holidays.

Head to XP_MTL’s website for a list of participating shops and vote for your favourite.