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Fun Ways to Get Outside This Winter

We’re big believers in staying active year round! But we’re only human, and we’re also susceptible to the cold air, slick ice and heavy snow that blankets Montreal this time of year. That said, as much as we love hiking and climbing, we sometimes opt for other ways to get outside! If you need some motivation, keep a lookout for the events we have going on this semester (there are some exciting things cooking)! 


In the meantime, here are some fun activities that might help you brave the next few months, and soak in some extra vitamin D.


Cabane à Sucre

First on the list is the undeniable fan-favourite: going to a cabane à sucre, or sugar shack. Although some other attractions near the city only entice tourists, this is an outing that locals won’t snub! Everyone gets excited to dress up in their coziest clothes and gorge on maple syrup.


If you’ve yet to experience one, come hungry! The menus are packed with rich, decadent comfort food. Here you can find simple classics like omelettes and scrambled eggs, maple-baked ham, tourtière, baked beans, deep-fried pork rinds, and of course, syrup! If you want to do more than eat, some sugar shacks also have farm animals and offer tours of the grounds. If you’re really lucky, some offer tours of the factory and have maple water tasting too.


The Cabane Panache on Wellington St. in Verdun also has its festival happening from March 21-24 this year! Here’s a website that can help you on your sugar shack search: https://www.cabaneasucre.org/cabanes-a-sucre-laurentides/ 



Build a Snow Fort or Snowman

This next one is a personal favourite! There’s nothing quite like making a big batch of hot chocolate and building snow forts and snowmen with your best buds. If you’re feeling extra competitive, use the snow forts for an epic snowball fight, or dress your snowmen for a fashion show!



Skating

Although a little more physical, this can still be done recreationally if you don't want to break a sweat. Most of the city’s popular rinks have skate rentals, making it more accessible if you don’t have your own gear. Skating is also a great sport to try with others since everyone can stick together regardless of their skill level. While it can definitely be a humbling experience, gliding across the ice and laughing with your friends is a great way to spend the day.


There are several rinks to explore around the city, but here are some of our favourites:

The obvious choice is the skating rink in the Old Port. This is one of the city’s biggest refrigerated outdoor rinks, and it’s open the entire season from December to mid-March. This spot also has DJ nights, karaoke and cardio workouts. It also has other themed events like Valentine’s Day celebrations. The Esplanade Tranquille rink in the Quartier-des-Spectacles is also a sight to see, especially at night! The Skater’s trail at parc Jean-Drapeau and the Beaver Lake rink at Mount Royal are other favourites, especially on a sunny day. Last but not least is the beloved Domaine Enchanteur at Forêt Perdue! This great spot has a gorgeous trail winding through the woods and different farm animals to meet along the way. Keep an eye out for our rescheduled skating trip to this magical rink later this semester!


You can also find a pretty extensive list of rinks on this website. So have a peruse and go plan your next adventure: https://montreal.ca/en/places?mtl_content.lieux.installation.code=ANGR%2CPATI 



Sledding

If skating isn’t your cup of tea, sledding is also a fun way to get outside. If you don’t have a sled, feel free to get creative and improvise with a tray or air mattress! If you’re feeling really adventurous, like someone at our COC tobogganing event this semester, a construction cone could also work (and they’re not too hard to find in Montreal). 



Outdoor Shows and Festivals

If you want to spend more time outside exploring the city and its creativity, consider checking out some shows and festivals!


Until March 10, you can see this year's Luminothérapie art installations at Place des Festivals and the Quartier des Spectacles. There's also an interactive skating activity, Au Bord du Lac Tranquille, at the Esplanade Tranquille rink.


If you're a night owl, join in on the 21st edition of Nuit Blanche on March 2!


... And if you missed Igloo Fest, check it out next year!



Host an Outdoor Winter Olympics Party

Some iconic winter memories can come from this one. Hosting a winter olympics party with your friends makes for some incredibly fun stories. While this takes a lot more planning, taking the time to organize teams, competitions and other games is really worthwhile. Here are some key steps:

  1. Make the group chat, pick a date and secure the teams

  2. Come up with a general theme and let everyone decide on their own team name/outfit

  3. Choose the games and make the schedule (food and beer breaks included)

  4. Buy a disposable film camera

  5. Keep score and crown the winner

  6. More food and drinks

  7. Have fun!!



Shovel your Neighbour’s Driveway

Shovel your own driveway and pass it forward. Although this seems simple and maybe less of an adventure than some of the other ideas, this one feels really important. As magical and whimsical as the season can be, we all know its challenges. This is heightened for our neighbours with mobility issues. Let’s help make this season easier for those around us, and stay active while doing it! 



Walk your Dog (or cat hehe)

Last but not least, something self-explanatory and a must! Take your dog for longer walks! Even if you have to dress them up. (Special thanks to Ruby, Grover, Parker, and Angel).



Every adventure needs a soundtrack! Check out our COC playlist for some inspiration <3


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