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Montreal Snow Village 2014

A Montreal Snow Village 2014 Activities Guide

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Written by Evelyn Reid - The Montreal Snow Village, a Montreal winter attraction which debuted January 18, 2012, is a Canadian and North American first, the only snow village of its kind to be built in a major metropolitan area worldwide. As one of the city’s most important winter draws, activity options are anything but in short supply, with opportunities to play, eat, drink, sleep and even get married. On ice.

The village, composed almost entirely of snow and ice and located in Parc Jean-Drapeau, requires resculpting every year as a result of seasonal weather shifts which effectively, and naturally, melt the premises. The rebuilding process costs anywhere from $1.5 million to $2 million annually.

DECEMBER 6, 2013 UPDATE: Due to what Montreal Snow Village founders say is the result of a lack of funding assistance and support from City Hall, Tourisme Québec and Tourisme Montréal, the Montreal Snow Village will not be open for business in 2014. However, founders are hopeful for the 2015 season. Join my community on Facebook and sign up to receive the About.com Montreal newsletter to stay in the loop. As for other seasonal activites, here's what else to do in Montreal in the winter.

1. Montreal Snow Village: How It Works

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Photo © Evelyn Reid
Find out how much it costs to visit the Montreal Snow Village as well as what sights said fee includes.

2. Montreal Ice Hotel

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Photo © Evelyn Reid
Inspired by similar installations in Europe, the Montreal Ice Hotel is nonetheless different, different in the sense that, contrary to its older siblings across the Atlantic, it’s not a resort removed from the city. Rather, it's part of the city, a ten-minute subway ride or five-minute car drive from downtown Montreal, and a stone's throw from the Montreal Casino, representing the first and only snow village in the world located in a major metropolitan area. At least for now.

3. Montreal Ice Restaurant Pommery

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Photo © Evelyn Reid
With a seating capacity of 60, Pommery's Michelin star chef Eric Gonzalez, who also helms the kitchen at Auberge St. Gabriel, proposes a Nordic menu with a Quebec flavor and accent on locally-available produce, featuring mostly warm offerings with some cold entrees. Think vodka and lime Atlantic salmon prepared Gravlax style, a Gonzalez signature dish, Norwegian vanilla and raspberry omelette flambéed at the table, and “Chantilly” butternut squash soup with hazelnut truffle and crispy bacon garnish.

4. Montreal Ice Bar

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Photo © Evelyn Reid
From "5 à 7 Hot & Cold" happy hours to "Hockey Night" specials, Montreal ice bar Amarula -- "ice bar" as in a bar made completely of ice with an ambient room temperature of -2°C to -5°C (23° to 28°F) -- is an integral feature of North America's first snow village. And on a particularly busy night, expect condensation, droplets of water dripping onto patrons as the room's collective body heat revs up the mercury, with enough room to fit up to 250 people.

5. Montreal Ice Chapel

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Photo © Evelyn Reid
Ever dream of a fairy tale wedding? The Montreal ice chapel may very well be its incarnation.

6. Icebreaker Convention Center

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Photo © Evelyn Reid
From team pow wows to product launches to corporate meet-and-greets, the Montreal Snow Village's Icebreaker convention center proposes a slightly different way of doing business.

7. Parc Jean-Drapeau Winter Activities

Parc Jean-Drapeau used to be open only three weekends every winter as part of the annual Montreal snow festival Fête des Neiges, a shame considering the park’s double-island wonderland potential across seasons. But with the opening of North America’s first snow village on park soil, management changed its tune. Find out what free and paid things there are to do in one of Montreal’s more alluring winter destinations, from dog sledding to ice skating. Note that visitors ARE NOT charged Montreal Snow Village admission fees for access to these nearby activities.
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