Chilly accommodations attract Montreal tourists
Published Saturday, January 21, 2012 10:27PM EST
A lack of snow made building Montreal's snow village a challenge, but it's now offering visitors from around the world a chance to spend the night in chilly, but comfy accommodations. And while Quebec City has its Ice Hotel, this is the first full-scale village made entirely of ice and snow in North America.
Snow Village Canada opened its gates this week in Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau, complete with 30 rooms, an ice bar, a snow labyrinth, snow sculptures, a restaurant -- which serves plenty of cold comforts -- and a chapel.
"We already have a few weddings planned," one of the three owners told CTV News.
The village includes a replica of the City of Montreal made of ice and snow, and the entire project required more than 27,000 metric tons of snow for its construction. Snow has been hard to come by, however, posing a challenge for the three entrepreneurs behind the project. Failing nature's help, they brought in snow guns to create the white stuff instead.
"This was one of the first structures we built and it was grass all around this," the owner said as he showed off the icy accomodation.
The snow was compacted to make the walls as solid as cement, and the structures are checked daily to ensure they're safe with temperature fluctuations. The three entrepreneurs behind the project -- Carl Fugere, Yanick Tremblay and Guy Belanger -- encountered the idea while visiting Finland, the homeland of the ice village concept.
"In fact, the Montreal version of Snow Village will be much more elaborate and have more features than the Finnish version. What's more, the Village will depict a different city each year, particularly through its sculptures, design and activities. For our first year, it seemed only natural to showcase Montreal," Fugere said in a statement.
Visitors staying overnight should expect to be greeted by a welcoming cocktail served in a glass made of ice. The accommodations include igloos, an ice hotel, and a heated glass igloo. They can warm up in a spa under the stars with a view of Montreal. The beds are made of ice and include thermal sleeping bags designed to withstand temperature dips of up to -25C. Inside the structures, temperatures range between minus -3C to -5C.
"We're like, wow, you can really tolerate this, and it's really nice," one female visitor told CTV News.
Visitors hoping to spend the night should budget between $200 and $300 per person. But those looking to save money won't have to stay over night to check it out -- admission for a family of five costs $40. Snow Village programs will include outdoor dancing, Montreal Canadiens hockey nights, and entertainment for the younger set.
The Snow Village will be open until March 31.