What You Need to Know About Frost Week
Insiya Meherally, BBA 2020
If you’re like me, “Montreal” was all you needed to hear before you packed your bags and bought your Frost Week ticket (in that exact order). If you’re like me, you probably also asked around (after you got your ticket) to see what last year’s trip was like and what to expect this year. When I asked Kiril Fadeeff, the Vice President of Student Life at UBS, to tell me a little about the trip (also after buying my ticket), he said, “I feel like at a commuter school like York University and Schulich, it’s super important to come out to social events and really take advantage of what the university experience is all about. In terms of what to expect during the trip, we’ve tried to leave it up to the discretion of the students about what to do and all of our events are optional. You can choose to come out to a ski trip with us, visit museums, nice restaurants or just go clubbing with your friends!”
Summary: It’s more than just a getaway trip – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
However, if you haven’t heard of Frost Week yet, or if you’re just about to finish stuffing the last pair of extra-warm socks into your suitcase and suddenly find yourself wondering what you’ll do there, here is what you should know:
1. This year, we’re staying at Le Meridien Versailles.
I sat down with Kassandra, a friend of mine from suburban Montreal, who showed me all of Downtown Montreal via Google Maps, of course. She first pointed out the hotel, Les Meridien Versailles, which is a convenient three-minute walk from Guy-Concordia (pronounced ‘Gee-Concordia’), the closest subway station on Montreal Metro’s green line. The hotel is home to the chic Branzino Montreal restaurant (open until 11 PM for those late-night cravings), a 24-hour fitness center, and my personal favorite, The Hub, a classy lounge known for its video art, fragrant Illy coffee, and free Wi-Fi.
2. Le Meridien Versailles is three streets away from Rue Sainte-Catherine.
Three streets down from the hotel is what Kassandra declared the “King Street” of Downtown Montreal – we’ll refer to it as Saint Catherine Street for now. This over-seven-mile-long street is known to offer some of the best nightlife, coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping (including a mock Eaton Center) in Montreal. If cafes aren’t for you and you’d rather have your caffeine the way you do at Schulich, you can find Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Second Cup not too far from the hotel. Further down the street is “Place Des Arts”, famous for its exhibitions and art shows – between February 21st and the 24th, you can visit the complex to see Prince: His Purple Majesty exhibition (for free) or buy tickets to one of the symphony, ballet, or theater shows happening during that time.
3. A trip like this would otherwise cost $313.58.
Because of the group discount Student Life has obtained for this trip, tickets are much cheaper than if the trip was independently organized. With almost $100 going towards a round-trip with VIA Rail Canada and $213.59 for a room of four at Les Meridien Versailles, the Frost Week ticket price of $220 seems ideal. Student Life has also made arrangements to take students to Ski Mont Saint-Bruno, the closest ski resort to Montreal, for an afternoon of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
4. Mount Royal isn’t too far away, either.
Frost Week is your chance to visit the mountain that gave Montreal its name (say “Mount Royal” really fast and you’ll see what I mean). A little over thirty minutes away by transit from Les Meridien Versailles, the top of Mount Royal has been said to provide arguably the best view of the city. Also at the top is Chalet du Mont-Royal, a small cafe where you can enjoy a cup of (very) hot coffee in the spacious sitting area and appreciate the view from behind the cafe’s glass windows.
5. Old Montreal is a must-see, and Guy-Concordia will get you there.
Well, Guy-Concordia will get you halfway there – you’ll have to switch to the orange line and walk a bit, too. However, if sightseeing is what you’re going to Montreal for, it’s worth bearing the extreme temperatures and transit. During my Google Maps exploration with Kassandra, she suggested looking out for the Clock Tower, the Montreal Science Centre, and the Bota Bota, Spa-sur-l’eau (translated to ‘Spa-on-the-water’ – it’s literally inside a river ferry). She also recommended checking out the stores and restaurants there; some of the food places she highlighted are The Keg, Taverne Gaspar, and for some real poutine, Valentine, in Place Jacques Cartier.
6. While you’re at Old Montreal, pick up on some local culture at Marché Bonsecours.
The Bonsecours Market was the final destination on my trip through Downtown Montreal with Kassandra – a Parliament building at one point in time, Bonsecours is what she described as a “fancy artisan market by the port”. At least fifteen local boutiques can be found here, all selling quality Québécois crafts, accessories, and clothing. Bonsecours is also one subway stop away from Underground Montreal, whose pathways have been in development since the 1960s and are said to be the most extensively developed in America. On these pathways are restaurants, cafes, department stores, the Places Des Arts, an independent movie theatre, a skating rink, and information desks (in case you’re lost and you need a map) – it’s basically a very, very large mall connected to the Metro, and you could live down there practically forever.
If any of the above things sound appealing to you, there’s still time to buy your ticket; just head on over to Student Life’s Frost Week page (Universe). If you’ve already bought your ticket, don’t forget to dress extra warm (the forecast changes every time I check it, but so far it’s ranged from -1°C to -17°C).
See you there, Schulich!