Find Out Why Everyone Gets Crazy For Sports In Montreal
Whether you’ve been to Montreal or not, you know on some level that sports is kind of a big deal here. Not only do lots of people play, but watching sport is a national communal pastime. Given the passion, Montreal has no shortage of sports bars. We’ll be looking at the major sports influences you’re likely to come across during your visit here in Montreal!
HOME TO HOCKEY
It’s not easy to be out and about in the city and not notice a “hockey night”. Crescent Street is often the busiest street because of this. Even the city buses often display cheering messages to the local team – the Canadiens, also known as the Habs. The Habs home ground is the Bell Centre, which also puts on shows like Cirque du soleil, Disney on Ice, and big-name music concerts – recently Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Joe Bonamassa. Hockey seasons runs from October to April, and around a million people go to see games at the Bell Centre. So it is a good idea to book tickets in advance.
If you are not after the full stadium experience, there are plenty of sports bars to enjoy a game amidst cheering fans – it is usually harder to find a bar not showing the hockey, at least on a television – including several popular Sports Bar chains. La Cage Sportive has one bar in Old Montreal, on Rue Paul, another in the Bell Centre, and one in the Complexe Desjardins, where you will have plenty of big screens to watch hockey, boxing, and football. Bier Markt and The 3 Brasseurs focus more on their beer and food, but have big screens to be sure you don’t miss the action. In Old Port, the crowds on Rue St Paul flow with the timing of matches, while if you like to play yourself, bars like the Pub St Paul offer games like pool.
SKATING IN STYLE
If you are inspired to take to the ice yourself, there’s an indoor year-round family-friendly ice rink at the Atrium, while in the winter time the Natrel Rink in the Old Port links an artificial and natural rink, to really stretch your legs, while enjoying lovely views over the city skyline and Bonsecours Market. There are free rinks in Mont Royal and Lafontaine parks, weather dependant, and all of them offer skate hire. You can even enjoy cross-country skiing in the city, in Mont Royal Park. It’s a great place for beginners to try out, and for seasoned skiiers to practice.
FOOTBALL, SOCCER, CYCLING AND MUCH MORE
The local American football team is the Alouettes, who play at the downtown Molson Stadium, McGill University, the season running June-November. The Impact de Montréal soccer team, owned by the Saputo family, play at the Saputo stadium in the Olympic Park. The family donated $7.5 million to establish the Saputo Stadium, which opened in 2008.
The Olympic Park, built for the 1976 Olympics, is both a working sports and leisure complex, event venue, and a popular tourist destination. Major league baseball games (season April-October) and speed skating are amongst the regular events. Excellent sporting facilities are also open to the public – the swimming pool complex is one of the best in Montreal.
Cycling is as much a way of life as a sport in Montreal, with Bixi Bikes easily accessible for tourists in the summer (April-November), but the hardiest cyclists can be seen even in the depths of winter navigating the icy roads. The cycle path along the Lachine Canal is a very popular route, offering wonderful views across the water.
Experiencing the city’s zeal for sports is tons of fun and right at the front door of your furnished apartment. We hope this guide has been helpful. Get into the sport spirit that’s part of the city culture during your stay in Montreal!