Montreal Sports & Outdoors Tips by brazwhazz
Montreal Sports & Outdoors: 61 reviews and 95 photos
Section 114 - Ultras cheering in bottom right
Not many people are aware of this, but Montreal has a professional soccer team. The Impact plays in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (second in North America to Major League Soccer) and has emerged as one of its top teams in recent years, capturing the league championship in 2004.
Home games are played from mid-May to late September, depending on how well the Impact performs in the playoffs. In 2008, the Impact moved into the excellent Saputo Stadium, which can currently accommodate 13,000 fans but may eventually have 20,000 seats, depending on whether or not the team gains entry into the Major League Soccer.
Saputo Stadium is a 5-minute walk from Viau metro, just east of the Olympic Stadium. For a European-style ambiance, get tickets in section 114 (known as the "Supporters Section"), where the Ultras give the team their unwavering support, standing and singing through the entire game. As an added bonus, this section has a wonderful view of the Olympic Stadium's leaning tower.
Equipment: Wear blue and white (the team colours) when you come to the game! Sunscreen and/or a hat is also recommended on sunny days.
Address: 4750 Sherbrooke East, Montreal, Quebec H1V 3S8
Directions: East of the Olympic Stadium. Follow the signs when you exit the Viau metro station.
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 514-328-FOOT (3668)
The Bell Centre on a quiet spring day
Despite playing in Montreal's freezing winter, the Canadiens are the hottest sports ticket in town. This is not only because Montrealers are die-hard hockey fans, but because they have the most storied hockey team in North America: the Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 24 times during their near 100-year history (nearly twice as often as the closest team, the hated Toronto Maple Leafs, who have won it 13 times).
However, ever since the franchise moved from the Montreal Forum (now the AMC Forum, a mishmash of entertainment and shopping venues) to its current home, the Bell Centre, in 1996, it has failed to win a championship. It is the longest drought in team history.
Despite the Canadiens' recent lack of success on the ice, tickets can be hard to find at the last minute. Fortunately, there are plenty of scalpers hanging around the Bell Centre on gameday. Just walk to the corner of De La Gauchetière and De La Montagne streets. With a little luck and sharp bargaining skills, you may even get a reasonable deal.
Tickets can also be purchased the traditional (and legit) way by phone through the Admission Network at 514-790-1245 or toll-free 1-800-361-4595.
Address: 1260 De La Gauchetière West
Directions: From Bonaventure metro (orange line), follow the signs to the Bell Centre -- they are the ones with the Canadiens logo (red C around a white H) on them. From outside, the Bell Centre's parking is accessed from Saint-Antoine Street.
People flock here even on warm sunny days
Montreal has many outdoor rinks in the winter, but you can go ice skating if you visit the city during the summer. The Atrium in the 1000 de la Gauchetière building has an indoor skating rink that is open everyday except Mondays.
In an attempt to attract families, the Atrium has set up "Tiny Tot Mornings" (Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.), during which it is only open to kids 12 years and under and their parents. Conversely, on Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Atrium is home to "DJ Nites", which are dance parties where people can skate (and dance?) to pop songs.
There are other activities, all listed on the Atrium's website. The entry fee is $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for children and $4.50 for elderly people.
The skating rink is surrounded by small cafes and restaurants.
Equipment: Don't worry if you don't have skates: you can rent a pair for an extra $5. As for clothing, just use common sense and remember that to maintain the ice, the temperature is bound to be cool.
Address: 1000 De La Gauchetière Street West
Directions: The 1000 de la Gauchetière building is on de la Gauchetière St. (duh!) between Mansfield and de la Cathédrale streets.
Phone: +1 514-395-0555
View from observation point in the Recreo-Parc
Those looking for a bike ride away from Montreal's busy streets need look no further than the St. Lawrence Seaway Bike Path.
Located on a strip of land along the South Shore, the bike path is attractive because of its great width (compared to other paths in the area) and relaxing setting (there are rows of trees on each side).
The best way to reach it from Montreal is to take the "Estacade" from Ile-des-Soeurs (Nuns' Island). Set just west of Champlain Bridge, it is a large structure reserved for bikers, skaters and pedestrians. The St. Lawrence Seaway Bike Path is at the end of the Estacade. If you turn left, you will go to the busier Notre-Dame and Jean-Drapeau islands. I recommend turning right: you will head towards the town of Sainte-Catherine and its Recreo-Parc (a recreational park with a small beach, exterior volleyball court and picnic tables that doubles as a refuge for migrating birds).
Equipment: You may want to bring a map of Montreal and its surroundings, just in case. A picnic to eat at the Récréo-Parc is also highly recommended!
Directions: Take the bike path on Henri-Duhamel St. in Verdun southward, towards Ile-des-Soeurs. At the T-shaped intersection, turn left. This will take you to Nuns' Island. Once there, follow the signs to the "Estacade", which you must cross to reach the bike path.
Pedestrians invade Crescent Street
Every year, usually during the first half of June, the Formula 1 circus stops in Montreal. We nearly lost the race a couple of years ago, but we managed to hold onto it, and it is more popular than ever!
There are many racing-related activities during the week preceding the Grand Prix. Most of the action takes place on Crescent Street, where you will find exhibitions (i.e. Porsches), merchandise stands and outdoor shows, as the street is closed to traffic to make way for the festivities.
Tickets for the race go fast, so you must purchase them in advance. Likewise, make your hotel reservation beforehand; I used to work in a downtown hotel, and every room had already been booked for the weekend when I came in to work on the Friday before the Grand Prix.
Equipment: For the race: bring sunscreen, earplugs and binoculars.
For Crescent St.: bring money!! The souvenirs can be expensive, not to mention the food and drinks in the bars and restaurants with a view on the festivities.
Directions: The Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit is on Jean-Drapeau (formerly Ste-Helene) Island. Take the metro and get off at Jean-Drapeau (yellow line). Crescent Street is downtown, between Guy-Concordia and Peel stations (green line).
Player introductions, complete with cheerleaders
During the summer, some of the hottest tickets in town are those for the games of the Montreal Alouettes, the local football team.
The team, resurrected in 1996 after a 10-year absence, have been a hit ever since they moved to Percical-Molson Stadium. Set against the backdrop of Mount Royal, the stadium overlooks downtown on one side, giving night games a special atmosphere. Tickets can be difficult to come by, especially if you're part of a large group, but dozens of scalpers will no doubt come to your rescue for a slight overcharge if you know how to deal with them. :)
I believe all American football fans should see Canadian football at least once in their lifetime. A 110-yard field, 3 downs instead of 4, and singles (points awarded for kicks not returned out of the end zone): how cool is that? Come see where players such as Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia and Joe Horn first made a name for themselves.
Equipment: Bring something soft to sit your fanny on: cement seats can get uncomfortable during the course of a 3-hour game.
Address: 475 des Pins Avenue West
Directions: At the corner of University. A shuttle bus can take you there from either the Bonaventure (orange line) or McGill metro stations. There are usually clear indications, but you can always ask the metro staff for directions.
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