Aerial Skating Trail, Montreal, Québec

Aerial Skating Trail, Montreal, Québec Sports and Leisure facility Architecture, Canadian Architecture Installation, Images

Aerial Skating Trail in Montreal

14 Feb 2023

Design: Montréal en Lumière

Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal Québec
photo © Victor Diaz Lamich

Photos by Victor Diaz Lamich, Frédérique Ménard-Aubin and Benoit Rousseau for MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE

Aerial Skating Trail, Québec

Rolled out for the first time in 2022, and back from February 16 to March 5, 2023, the Skating Loop, a unique multimedia experience produced with major support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) and Tourisme Montréal, attracted nearly 25,000 Montreal skaters last year. It quickly became a must-experience at the Montréal en Lumière festival, presented by Loto-Québec in collaboration with Scotiabank. Now, this gem of Québec engineering is ready to be presented for the first time to visitors from around the world!

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal Québec
photo © Victor Diaz Lamich

Creating a “first ever”
An original and innovative concept, designed with Montreal’s winter-loving spirit in mind, the Skating Loop inspires citizens to return to downtown Montreal and reclaim space vacated after the pandemic: a play of illuminated installations, exciting musical atmospheres, constantly heated comfort, and an optimal skating experience in an urban environment.

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal
photo © Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

All of the senses are engaged during the Skating Loop experience. From the elevated structure, rising 2.5 meters above the ground, skaters are treated to a breathtaking view of the urban panorama, enhanced by large-scale video projections on the facades of surrounding structures, including the Wilder Building and the UQAM President Kennedy Pavilion. Hundreds of LED tube lights add enchantment to the icy course, while a state-of-the-art sound system disseminates a playlist compiled just for the event.

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal
photos © Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

Heating things up north of the 49th parallel
Erected in the heart of the city’s bustling social and culinary hub, Place des Festivals, the Skating Loop is surrounded by heated oases specially designed to ensure skater comfort: a chalet, sheltered from the cold, for putting on skates, as well as a covered, heated terrace at the SAQ Bistro, where visitors are invited to relax after taking a few laps.

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal
photo © Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

Skating Loop facts:
Comprises 300 meters (1,000 feet) of artificial ice
85m3 of ice is on a cooling mat

The elevated structure rises 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) above ground level
Offers breathtaking views of the urban panorama
Path is illuminated by 265 LED tube lights
Features giant projections on surrounding building facades
State-of-the-art sound system
Maintained by a custom-built Zamboni, unique in Canada!
Skating, a tradition embedded in Montreal’s DNA

Jacques Primeau, Chief Executive Officer of Montréal en Lumière, initiated the far-reaching project that is now in its 24th year. Along the way, the Festival has developed unparalleled expertise in Nordic-context events and illuminated animation. Highlighting skating as a central activity of the festival seemed a natural extension, given the intimate and historic link between skating and the City of Montreal.

Public rinks have long been important socio-cultural gathering places that, much like hockey, unite communities. A true hallmark of our “Montréalness,” hockey has been played in small and large arenas across the city forever. Montréal d’hier et d’hiver, a work by artist Karine Lanoie-Brien, illustrates this rich history in the form of large-scale projections around the Skating Loop, using archival images from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to document the long love affair between Montreal and skating.

“In 2022, we knew that the City was going to open a large new skating rink on Esplanade Tranquille. The idea of the Skating Loop was to create a strong and dramatic symbol that would celebrate skating as emblematic of Montreal. We are extremely proud to offer Montrealers and their families this unique creation that brings residents together, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to this exceptional outdoor rink. From concept to realization, it required extraordinary involvement from both creators and craftspeople.”
– Jacques Primeau, Chief Executive Officer, Montréal en Lumière

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal
photo © Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

Brilliantly met technical challenges
Bringing a project as elaborate and audacious as the Skating Loop to life presented its share of challenges. The team wanted the installation, which would occupy the entire Place des Festivals, to have a positive visual impact, not only for skaters on the ice, but also for people admiring it from outside the rink. The design of this impressive aerial structure had to also support the weight of bystanders, as well as 4 inches of ice, coolant…and an 8,300-pound Zamboni! Additionally, the ice would require frequent resurfacing, given that the Skating Loop attracted an impressive number of skaters in 2022: between 250 and 300 people per hour took advantage of this unique winter experience!

But the technical challenges were brilliantly met by the Montréal en Lumière team and its supplier, Échafauds Plus, all in the name of making Place des Festivals a winter gathering place that would be as welcoming as it is magical. The creative thinking, incessant calculations, and great ingenuity of the teams involved made this aerial structure with an immersive visual and sound experience possible. With this project, the experience of the traditional skate trail has literally been taken to the next level.

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal QC
photo © Benoit Rousseau

Success at every turn
In 2022, nearly 25,000 skaters enjoyed the magical Skating Loop experience. The popularity of the project was evident as soon as it was announced; it generated 153 times more traffic than usual on the Festival’s social networks!

Completely reimagined and exhilarating, this multimedia installation illuminates the city center in the middle of winter, enabling citizens to reclaim public space. It also forms part of the social mission of Montréal en Lumière, which endeavors to ensure that the site is accessible to as many people as possible through hundreds of free activities, including skate rentals offered on site by CCM, so that everyone can indulge in a unique Montreal experience.

And that’s just the beginning. This year, the Skating Loop is one of the flagship activities of the 2023 edition of the Montréal en Lumière festival. Come experience the brilliance and excitement of this one-of-a-kind installation that will amaze you… and stimulate your eyes and ears!

The Skating Loop was created in 2022 after being selected among a call for projects initiated by the Fonds de maintien des actifs stratégiques touristiques (FMAST) of Tourisme Montréal, supported by the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec.

The 2023 MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, presented by Loto-Québec in collaboration with Scotiabank, could not take place without the support of invaluable partners and sponsors. Thank you to the Société des alcools du Québec, Rogers, Société de transport de Montréal, Air France, Tim Hortons, Skip, and the Association des hôtels du Grand Montréal, as well as to our media partners, Radio-Canada and La Presse. Finally, we would like to thank the Government of Canada through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions and Canadian Heritage, the Government of Quebec through the Ministère du Tourisme and Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, and the City of Montreal, Tourisme Montréal, and Montréal Centre-Ville for their renewed confidence.

The 24th edition of Montréal en Lumière, presented by Loto-Québec in collaboration with Scotiabank, takes place from February 16 to March 5, 2023 at Quartier des Spectacles.

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal Québec
photo © Victor Diaz Lamich

Aerial Skating Trail in Montreal, Québec – Building Information

Architecture: Montréal en Lumière –

Project: Skating Loop, part of Montréal en Lumière programming
Place: Place des Festivals, Montréal
Inaugurated: February 2022

Concept: Jacques Primeau, General Manager, Montréal en Lumière
Production Executive: Louise Laliberté, Vice-President of Production and Business Development, Montréal en Lumière
Design: Mélanie Tessier, Director, Experience Design, Montréal en Lumière
Lighting Design: Bruno Rafie, Lighting Consultant, Montréal en Lumière
Production: Vincent Testard, Director, Production Operations, Montréal en Lumière
Suppliers: Nicolas Paulette, Project Manager, Échafauds Plus
Ice maintenance: Loue Froid

About Montréal en Lumière
The Festival was founded by Alain Simard in 2000, along with the assistance of major downtown Montreal supporters, including Tourisme Montreal, Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, and the City of Montreal, along with the Government of Quebec. With a desire to revitalize the city during the coldest season, Montréal en Lumière is now one of the world’s largest winter festivals, welcoming thousands of festival-goers each year. It offers hundreds of activities annually through a gastronomy program that showcases the exquisite best of the local culinary culture, and a free outdoor site that serves as a festive rallying point in the city center. The site is crisscrossed by a unique aerial skating trail, and must-see indoor shows, including Nuit Blanche, which attracts thousands of night owls for a whacky winter urban adventure and participation in a wide array of cultural activities throughout the city.

Aerial Skating Trail Montreal QC
photo © Benoit Rousseau

Photographers: Victor Diaz Lamich and Frédérique Ménard-Aubin for MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE

Aerial Skating Trail, Montreal, Québec images / information received 260223 from v2com newswire

Location: Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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