Family friendly ideas for a Montreal staycation

Click to play video 'Fun family winter staycation ideas' Fun family winter staycation ideas
WATCH ABOVE: Parenting expert Erica Diamond gives Laura Casella some great ideas for fun family winter staycations – Dec 21, 2016

Staying home for the holidays? No trips to a warm sunny destination on the horizon? Not to worry, says parenting expert Erica Diamond. She dropped by Montreal Global News Morning studios to share her favourite activities for winter fun in the city.

“We have a lot of great things to do in the city, if you’re willing to go out and fight the cold,” Diamond said. “Just get dressed warm and go have a good time.”

No. 1 on her list?

In this file photo, girls slide down ice toboggans, during the second Igloofest week-end in the Old Port, on January 24, 2015. Marie Pâris/Newzulu


Igloofest is an outdoor world-class electronic music festival that runs from Jan.12 to Feb. 19.

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Organizers extended the festival this year to help Montreal celebrate its 375 birthday bash with special activities.

Visitors can take in a Nordik village re-imagined by seven Montreal design firms featuring their vision of temporary winter living.

For those with a bit of a competitive streak, the Nordik games could be just the ticket.

Competitors big and small face off in all sorts of events to put their winter survival skills to the test, from the Christmas tree toss, to the dig out your car contest.

For more information or to consult the schedule, visit the Igloofest website.


Luminothérapie is a free activity that runs from Dec. 7 to Jan. 29 at the Place des Festivals. Every year organizers choose a different theme to light up the dark skies over Montreal.

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“It’s kind of light therapy, a tribute to the dark months,” Diamond said.

This year’s theme is “Loop” and harkens back to pre-cinema days, with giant zoetrope-like machines that look like oversized hamster wheels.

To get the animation going, participants need to climb inside the wheel and use a push-pull mechanism to activate the zoetrope.

An urban ice fishing village is shown in the Old Port of Montreal, Thursday, January 31, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes.

Ice fishing

What could be more Canadian than ice fishing? But what you might not know is that you can go ice fishing right here in Montreal.

Hop on a heated fanboat at the Quai Jacques-Cartier and motor your way to a new adventure on the St. Lawrence River.

Take part in the Christmas in the Park Festival in three Montreal-area parks.

Christmas in the Park

Three Montreal-area parks are getting a magical makeover for the holiday season.

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Place Emilie-Gamelin, Parc des Compagnons de Saint-Laurent and Parc Lahaie are being transformed into Christmas villages, where art, music and creativity converge.

There are over 100 free shows to enjoy, but the fun only lasts until Dec. 25.

For a complete schedule, consult the Noël dans le Parc website.

The photography of William Notman will be on display at the McCord Museum From Nov. 4, 2016 until March 26, 2017. William Notman/McCord Museum

McCord Museum

Montrealers have been rushing to the McCord Museum to view a slice of Montreal’s history through the lens of William Notman, a photographer from the 19th century.

Notman gained an international reputation for his photography after arriving on the shores of Montreal in 1876 from his native Scotland.

If you have a little one in tow, you might want to consider Alfred’s Adventures.

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It’s a story about a teddy bear desperately looking to reconnect with William, after William’s dad went on a housecleaning spree and decided the toys had to go.

The tale is set to music with 50 objects from the McCord Museum’s collection making cameo appearances as the story unfolds.

People skating in Old Monteral on New Year’s Eve, Montreal, Que., Dec. 31, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lee Brown. Lee Brown/The Canadian Press

Skating, skating, skating

Skating is a winter staple in the city, with limitless options available. Whether you’re looking for a fun date option or trying to impress friends with your fancy twirls, Patiner Montreal, will help you find the perfect rink for your skating needs.

The website lists all of Montreal’s skating rinks and details ice conditions, rink locations and opening hours.

Santa exhibit at the Stewart Museum features 30 figurines of the jolly man. Photo Courtesy of Stewart Museum.

Santas take over the Stewart Museum

For four years now, Jolly Saint-Nick, or at least his likeness, has been taking over the Stewart Museum on Ile-Sainte-Hélène in an annual exhibit.

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Visitors are invited to see 30 figurines of Santa as well as a large doll castle that comes to life at the sound of music.

There are also Christmas workshops, scavenger hunts and animated movies to keep the little ones captivated.

While the exhibit is free, donations are welcome. Santas will be on display until Jan. 8, 2017.