Travel Blog

25 Jan

Dogsledding and Snow Days at Parc Jean-Drapeau

Classic winter sports like cross-country skiing and ice skating will always prove popular in Montreal, but dogsledding might give them a literal run for their money this winter at Parc Jean-Drapeau…

Parc Jean-Drapeau teems with activity even in the height of the winter months, a respite from urban life and naturally equipped for winter activities – and as a sight-seeing bonus, the park overlooks the St-Lawrence River and the city. Add to that the myriad activities of winter festival Fêtes des Neiges, every weekend to February 9, and one of the newest seasonal additions, Écorécréo’s dogsled tours, to February 23.

Not only are dogsled tours a unique and unforgettable experience, but they’re accessible and affordable – the park awaits just one metro station away from downtown Montreal, and a fast, memorable ride through the snow-covered woods costs only $12 (longer tours ring in at $64.99, but are, from what we hear, well worth it). Make a date of it or fly solo, go with a group of friends or with the family – though be warned, your kids may not talk about anything else for days afterward because not only does the experience include a dogsled ride, but some up-close time with some of the most handsome hard-working dogs around.
Over 35 huskies of varying breeds and mixes – almost all of them rescued from shelters and all very people-friendly – make the park their temporary home for a month. They’re naturally acclimated to the weather and their breeding means that running and pulling also comes naturally – it’s just what they love to do, say their trainers. Six dogs pull each flexible wooden sleigh, a comfortable, cushioned ride made for two, commanded by experienced and friendly drivers.
Of course, the sled drivers double as dog trainers, aware not only of the dips and curves in the “road” but almost intuitively tuned in to what’s under this particular vehicle’s hood: all the dogs have distinct personalities, but all of them love to run and pull, responding to commands and praise as they race through the park. Even after racing through the three-minute circuit several times, with rest stops after each run for pats and photo ops, they’re all still raring to go. Then again, they already know the truth about dogsledding: it’s an experience worth repeating.



Écorécréo’s Dogsledding at Parc Jean-Drapeau, to February 23, 2013

Photos by Robyn Fadden

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