The Grevin Museum in downtown Montreal showcases wax figures of hockey heroes like Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Wayne Gretzky. Photo: Lucas Aykroyd
Lots to do and see between games in Montreal
Wondering what to do in Montreal between World Junior games? Quebec’s biggest city has great restaurants and attractions – many with a fun hockey twist.
You can feast on duck confit poutine or a turkey and avocado burger at La Cage – Brasserie Sportive, the Bell Centre’s on-site sports pub. Those arriving at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport can also get a taste of Montreal Canadiens glory at the new Avenue des Canadiens restaurant for travellers, where breakfast items include Beliveau Blueberry Pancakes and Habs Benedict.
Downtown, the city’s legendary smoked-meat sandwiches await at institutions like Schwartz’s, whose legendary tradition started in 1928, Dunn’s, and Reuben’s.
To expand your palate, take Local Montreal’s guided three-hour Old Montreal Food Tour ($54/person). You’ll learn about the architecture and history of this port city while walking to seven eateries to nibble on everything from craft beer and artisan cheese at Les Soeurs Grises to the classic Quebec “pudding chomeur” at Soupe Soup.
Need to burn off some calories? Rent skates and hit the ice at Atrium Le 1000, downtown’s indoor skating rink with a magnificent glass dome overhead.
If you’re ready to feed your soul, beeline to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and check out Serge Lemoyne’s gigantic 1975 “Dryden” painting. It’s an abstract take on the famous mask of Canadiens netminder Ken Dryden, who helped Canada win the 1972 Summit Series and backstopped the Habs to six Stanley Cups. The museum on Sherbrooke Street houses more than 40,000 other works of art.
On the fifth floor of the Eaton Centre on St. Catherine Street, the 2013-launched Grevin Museum ($22/adult) has a marvelous collection of 120-plus wax figures. Hockey fans will get a kick out of the room showcasing Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, Jean Beliveau, and other NHL stars. Quebec cultural icons from singer Gilles Vigneault to politician Rene Levesque are found in abundance, and naturally, you can argue with friends over whether George Clooney’s chin and Scarlett Johansson’s hair look bang-on.
Don’t miss the spectacular circus performances at TOHU, blending surreal acrobatics with contemporary dance. The athleticism at this LEED Gold-certified building in the St. Michel district is amazing to behold.
Take the Metro north to Viau Station to relive the city’s hosting of the 1976 Olympics. The sprawling Olympic Park retains its retro charm. Go up the world's tallest inclined tower (165 metres high at a 45-degree angle), or see future Olympic swimmers training at the Sport Centre (re-opened in May 2015 after a $30-million renovation).
Another fantastic bird’s-eye perspective awaits at the new Au Sommet Place Ville Marie tower ($19/adult). From the 360-degree observation deck on the 45th floor, you can spot landmarks like Mont Royal and St. Joseph’s Oratory amid a wintry landscape. As you gaze over the Bell Centre, you can also trigger informative videos about the Habs and local women’s hockey heroes like four-time Olympic gold medalist Caroline Ouellette.
Coming back to Montreal later this year? Starting in November 2017, check out the Hockey: More Than Just a Game! exhibition at the waterfront Pointe-a-Calliere history museum, which will highlight 100 years of NHL history as the league celebrates its centennial.
In 2017, Montreal celebrates not only Canada’s 150th anniversary, but also the city’s 375th birthday. It’s a wonderful time to be at the site of the IIHF World Junior Championship medal games.
For more information, see Tourism Montreal and Tourism Quebec.