Here’s what Montrealers do. In the dead of winter, when it’s frozen for months on end and every old building is dripping with icicles, they throw an over-the-top party. A party that is outside, complete with live music, a ferris wheel, a zipline, fire pits for roasting marshmallows, art installations, an ice slide, ice sculptures, and much more. Montrealers are AMAZING!
This party is at Montreal en Lumiere’s official outdoor site, and it is one serious to-do. It’s setup on the Place des Festivals, the Place des Arts Esplanade, and Ste. Catherine Street, and open to the public during many days and evenings throughout the festival.
We first visited at night, and hopped from fire to fire to keep warm while simultaneously spinning in circles, overwhelmed by the sensory overload. We were constantly looking up as zip-liners whooshed by over our heads, and later achieved a birds-eye view of the whole colourful scene by riding the ferris wheel.
The Geneva University of Art and Design created Les Comte des Quatre Saison, an interactive art piece that was projected onto a domed tent that served at the official Swiss House. Visitors could turn a giant mechanical key and the shadows rotated to create a story – what an exquisite success of the imagination (you can see it briefly in action in the video at the bottom of this post).
Day and night, there was endless food available, with all the vendors selling exactly what you’d want to eat in the cold: smoked meat, raclette, fondue, waffles, BBQ from Montreal’s beloved Satay Brothers, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolate, and much more.
Funnily enough, we seemed to zero in on the one thing that wasn’t served hot: sugar pie. But seriously, who could walk past these beauties without stopping?
As it turns out, sugar pie is even better when served almost frozen.
There was even a pop-up restaurant onsite called Bistro SAQ, setup in an igloo-shaped tent of course.
Here are a few more photos (+ a video!) of our time exploring the coolest outdoor party ever. Pun absolutely intended.