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credit: alphtran

Party at festivals

Living up to its reputation as Canada’s ‘city of culture’, Montreal puts on festivals all year round.

Huge winter event Montreal en Luminère is a cultural highlight, with theatre, gastronomy, dance and arts all on the programme.

Tonight, however, I find myself at a far more low-brow event – it’s basically an enormous rave in bobble hats. 

Igloofest is held over four weekends each winter and essentially involves 10,000 twenty-somethings, all dressed up in the most retro ski suits they can find, coming out to dance in the snow.

The event’s production director Patrice Moïse explains: “Everyone wears the ugliest outdoor wear they can get their hands on – it’s become a bit of a challenge..."

There are two stages and plenty of bars to top up on Tia Maria, beer and Jägermeister, which seem to be the wintry tipples of choice here.

When the headline DJ comes on, the crowd starts going absolutely nuts, a sea of neon hats dancing, moshing and jostling.

People are crowd-surfing, sitting on each other’s shoulders and some, despite the cold, are even tearing their tops off, warmed by the heat of the crowd and probably a few Jägerbombs too.Moïse sums up the atmosphere perfectly: “The thing is, everyone gets pissed off with the cold in winter, but this gives you a chance to remember when you were a kid and you just loved going outside to play when it was snowing. Igloofest lets you do that again.” 

So that’s how they manage to have fun in Montreal, when it’s -25ºC and seems like a constant blizzard for three months.

Take a tip from your five-year-old self, wrap up warm and, albeit in a grown up way, just get out there and play in it. 

Helen travelled with Tourism Montreal More on the Snow Village at

credit: Steven_Kriemadis

Getting there

Fly from London to Montreal from £575 return.

When to go: High season is June-September, when it’s warm but humid. There are so many activities during winter that these months are growing popular for tourism too. 

Currency: £1 =1.70 CAD (Canadian Dollars)

Accommodation: Le Saint Suplice is the place to go for a cosy, upmarket stay in Montreal’s Old Town.

The rooms are smart and homely, with faux log fires crackling away in many of them – perfect for when it’s freezing outside.

Doubles start from $142pn. 


Planning a trip to Canada? Check out some of the hot deals over at


Montreal: a winter wonderland
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