Montréal – Luminothérapie

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Below is our review of the 2015-2016 Luminothérapie event. For info on this year’s event which runs from NOVEMBER 30, 2017 to JANUARY 28, 2018, click on THIS LINK

The Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal runs from December 1st to December 24th (closed the 4,5,6 and 11,12,13 though). I’d wait until that opens and do both together because it’s BEAUTIFUL. You can also visit the nearby Complexe Desjardins which has a billion places to eat and a ridiculously gorgeous Holiday setup. 


2015 marks the 6th edition of Luminothérapie, a huge sound and light installation with 30 giant seesaws as well as 9 video projections on the façade of the Pavillon Président-Kennedy.
From December 10th 2015 to January 31st 2016 you can visit Place des Festivals (on the corner of Rue Jeanne-Mance and Rue Sainte-Catherine, just beside Place des Arts) and try out the seesaws that light up and make sounds as you go up and down.

I’ve written about this activity a few times, but hadn’t actually seen it, so on what was looking to be the last warm evening for a while, we packed up a borrowed mini van with three boys and us grownups and travelled downtown. 

We chose to go before dinner (which was a good move) and arrived at 4pm just as it was getting dark. There is minimal street parking, so we parked under the really, really nice underground parking garage (is that an oxymoron?) at Complexe Desjardins (it cost us $11) and came out of the elevators in the mall and just across the street from Place des Arts. 
Just the shopping centre amazed the kids and we saw the entrancing water fountain, and the still-installed carrousel and Santa’s village. 
Setting the ground rules (“We hold hands! and if you get separated from us you STAY IN ONE SPOT!”) we crossed at Jeanne-Mance and were met with the mesmerizing sounds and lights as both kids and adults bounced up and down on the seesaws.
It only took about 20 seconds before we found one to use and all three kids clamoured on (careful it can get slippery around and under the seats). The seesaws are heavy and required a bit of adult help to get them going. They’re also a bit tricky for small kids to sit on but there are two handles on each end to hold onto. As they went up and down the lights would dim or brighten and there were soft “boing, bong!” sounds. I had thought it would be a bit more…musical, or that it played a tune, but it was really relaxing. All around you could hear laughter and giggling. It was a very nice atmosphere.
After bouncing for a bit, we walked north and saw one of the video projections on the UQAM building on de Maisonneuve and then came back through Place des Arts for the last night of the Grand Marché de Noël. There are vendors, food trucks, snacks, lights, activities, and a huge inflatable igloo where you can warm up and that has picnic tables and games for kids. It’s very tempting to spend a lot of money as there are Beaver Tail desserts, iced wine, chocolates, cute winter hats…… I think I’ll come back next year to do some holiday shopping, but without kids!

Walking around downtown was fun with the boys, and they really enjoyed all the Christmas lights and busy-ness of it all. There are food courts as well as McDonalds, St-Hubert and various other restaurants on the same block. StrollerDad said of the seesaws “It’s really neat, but I’m not sure if it’s a destination just by itself”, which I kind of agree with. And while it was fun at 0 degrees, I’m not sure how much I’d enjoy it at -20. But if you’re planning some walking, sightseeing, and a meal, it makes a fun afternoon and is definitely memorable.

All of us really enjoyed our winter evening outing and got home refreshed and happy. 

The sound and lights of the 30 giant seesaws operate:

The 2017-2018 schedule is:
November 30, 2017 to January 28, 2018
Sunday to Wednesday: from noon to 10 p.m. 
Thursday to Saturday: from noon to 11 p.m.

Download the map of the see saws and the sound and light installations HERE

Video Published on Dec 9, 2015 by
Luminothérapie
Un terrain de jeux lumineux
Du 10 décembre 2015 au 31 janvier 2016

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