After the disappointment with the poorly posted dates for ‘fetes des neiges’ in Montreal (website gave dates of January 21st through February 5th). We had some time to kill until the opening day of Winterlude in Ottawa. We found some winter activities and events in and around downtown Montreal but were shocked with some of the prices. For example, the great big ice rink at the Old Port actually charged 6$ for adults, 4$ for children 6 to 12yrs, and 15$ for a family with 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children. Costing our family 21$ just to go ice skating, this does not include parking fees! No, Thanks!
So instead we did what we do best, we looked for other free or affordable options. Since we were staying at my parent’s place in the West Island of Montreal, we figured we could find something close to home. Growing up here we tried to remember some of our favorite places when we were kids. It was Steph’s pick that proved to be the winning spot of the day.
Centennial park or ‘Parc du Centenaire’ is located in Dollard des Ormeaux and should be considered the hidden gem of the West Island. This beautiful park is surrounded by a mature forest complete with cross country ski trails and snowshoe paths. In the center there’s a frozen man made lake with a pedestrian path that surrounds it. There are many places to sit and rest as well as multiple view points complete with covered gazebo’s. Back at the park, bring your ice skates, there’s a well kept ice rink in the shape of a loop that runs along side a large play park for kids. If your feet get cold or if you need to get warmed up there’s a quaint little chalet between the ice rink and the lake, there are two large pine tables inside if you bring along a lunch completed with restrooms.
But that’s not all! A little walk down a well marked trail leads to the toboggan hills. Consider a stop at one of the many ‘Canadian Tire’ stores located through the city to pick up some ‘Crazy Carpets’ (flat plastic roll-up sled with handles) for only 4.99$ each, easy to transport and perfect for sledding. This hill is machine groomed with 8 individual runs with protective walls in between until you reach the bottom. Not only is it fast and fun but safe for little ones too. If you have a canine companion accompanying your family, there’s a fenced off dog run where dogs can run freely and socialize.
Centennial Park is truly a wonderful place that I highly recommend to all families and the best part….
it’s all free, even the parking!
View Centennial Park, Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec in a larger map