March 7 2012
Given that a mini “heat wave” is upon us (+11 this afternoon), I thought I better head on over to Parc Jeanne-Drapeau on Île Sainte Hélène to visit the Snow Village before it’s just a pool of water. The other choice was going and getting shots of students demonstrating over tuition fee hikes and being tear gassed by police. I decided on the safer touristic option.
The Montreal Snow Village (Village des Neiges) is inspired by similar European installations, such as the snow villages in resorts like Ylläsjärvi, Finland and Brixen im Thale, Austria. Snow Village Canada’s venture in Montreal represents the first snow and ice installation of its kind in a major metropolitan area, worldwide.
The village (made entirely out of ice and snow) includes an Ice Hotel offering 14 standard rooms and 10 prestige suites, 6 igloos, a heated glass igloo, a restaurant accommodating 60 guests, a bar with terrace seating up to 250 guests, a convention centre to hold corporate meetings and events and an Ice Chapel. In addition there are numerous ice sculpted replicas of some of Montreal’s landmark buildings and monuments (Marché Bonsecours, Musée des Beaux Arts and the Olympic Village).
The 30 room Ice Hotel occupies the majority of the site and seemed like a favorite attraction for kids who excitedly explored each room – not great when trying to take long exposures. I arrived at the snow village in time to catch the sun setting over Montreal just across the Saint Lawrence.
The entrance to the Ice Hotel can be seen in the middle of the above image. Either side of the main entrance has the event name carved on the wall in French and English – Snow Village and Village des Neiges.
Once through the main archway to the lobby visitors are greeted with an in-the-wall fireplace with surrounding ice chairs.
In the middle of the lobby is a sculpted globe and to the rear a few sculptures sit behind an ice table.
Tunnels leading to the hotel rooms are on either side of the lobby, each having LED lights built in to the walls.
One of my favorite rooms is the Montreal Canadiens themed room, complete with jersey, Stanley cup and hockey player sculptures. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get shots of the sculpted Stanley Cup of full-size hockey player – seemed like it wasn’t only my favorite room. It’s moments like this when I would really like to have the soon-to-be-released 360-imager panoramic camera by Tamaggo.
Another Prestige suite comes complete with chandelier, fireplace and mirror.
In addition to the 24 rooms within the main hotel structure are 6 igloos.
For couples looking to tie the knot in a different setting, Saint-Joseph’s Chapel will certainly make the special day memorable.
I was in need of a drink, so headed over to the Amarula bar.
Next to the Amaluna bar is the Ice Convention Center available to businesses for hire.
Last room to explore was the Pommery Ice Restaurant where chef Éric Gonzalez from Auberge Saint Gabriel, serves up a Nordic inspired menue. The restaurant seats 60 and is open for lunch (16$ for a 2 course meal) and in the evening (59$ for 3 course gourmet menu). The evening price includes the entrance fee to the Snow Village, so not a bad deal!
The snow Village really transforms itself at night when the lights bring a more magical feel to the village. I read somewhere that it had been suggested to locate the village on Mount Royal, but I think the decision to go with Parc Jeanne-Drapeau was a good move. The Montreal city skyline as a backdrop is something to marvel – although the ghostly face peering out of the sky on this first picture freaked me out a little.
The Snow Village is open until March 31st and from what I hear the organizers have already made their revenue forecast. That hopefully means, even if the warm weather lasts and spring comes early, The Montreal Snow Village will become an annual event.
To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.