The Best Family Activities in Montreal, Canada
by: Alexandre Duval
Travelling with kids can be quite challenging for many reasons, one of them being that adults and kids do not always have similar interests. Merging your kids’ preferences with your own often is easier said than done, indeed… and when you are on vacation and find yourself far away from home, there is no escape: you have to find a way to entertain your kids! Luckily, if you decide to make it to Montreal this summer, you will find that tons of family-friendly activities are available: cool things to do in Montreal abound! Here is a list of 5.
1. La Ronde
With more than 45 years of activity behind it, La Ronde is Eastern Canada’s largest amusement park, spreading over more than 590,000 square metres. With more than 40 rides and attractions, including one of North America’s highest and fastest roller coasters, La Ronde’s reputation needs no introduction. Not only will it entertain the whole family for endless hours, but its strategic location on Saint Helen’s Island (accessible by subway from the Island of Montreal) offers an interesting outlook on Montreal. It must also be noted that apart from La Ronde, Saint Helen’s Island abounds with green spaces, sports and entertainment activities.
2. The Olympic Park
Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympic Games and has tried ever since to promote the attractiveness of the Olympic Park by implementing all sorts of activities to keep the place busy. One of them is the Biodôme, which recreates some of the continent’s ecosystems such as the tropical rainforest, the Laurentian maple forest, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Labrador coast and the Sub-Antartic islands. The temperature, soil, fauna and flora of these ecosystems is mimicked which allows the visitor to not only observe over 4,500 animal species, but also to study the environment in which they actually live in the wilderness.
The Olympic Park also houses an Insectarium, a Botanical Garden and a Planetarium. It is also home to the world’s highest inclined tower: its height of 165 metres is really impressive considering that it was built with a 45-degree angle! A funicular that brings people to the top offers a fantastic view up of the Montreal area and St. Lawrence Valley. There is no doubt that a visit at Montreal’s Olympic Park will leave both kids and parents happy!
3. The Old Port
Montreal’s Old Port offers countless activities for the whole family. Its Science Centre, for instance, is a good way to spend a few hours learning about science and technology in a dynamic and interactive environment. The Old Port also is one of the best places in Montreal to take pictures of the city since you get the waterfront view. The area offers various possibilities for sports and entertainment; many venues actually take place there, including festivals, concerts, Cirque du Soleil shows, etc. Furthermore, the Old Port is one of the best spots to sit down and watch the Montreal fireworks festival, which takes place each summer between June and August.
4. Montreal Impact
If your family loves sports, a good afternoon or night activity undoubtedly would be to go watch a Montreal Impact soccer game! Located at the Olympic Park, the team’s stadium was renovated just last year and can welcome more than 20,000 visitors! The Montreal Impact evolves in the Major League Soccer (MLS) and the team’s season spans eight months, between March and October.
5. Mount Royal Park
If your family enjoys getting some quietness in the midst of the city, Mount Royal Park is the perfect place to spend the day. Located on Mount Royal (a hill situated in the heart of Montreal that peaks at 233 metres), the park was inaugurated in 1876 and was the creation of Frederick Law Olmsted, who also happens to be the one who co-designed New York City’s Central Park! No wonder, then, that Mount Royal Park features tall and diversified trees, walking and biking paths as well as a man-made lake called “Beaver Lake”.
Mount Royal Park also features two belvederes that offer unmatched views of the city. It is also the most coveted spot in Montreal for sports lovers and people who love picnicking. In the summer, the park hosts the “Tam Tam Jam”, which basically consists of dozens and sometimes hundreds of locals and visitors gathering to play hand drums, dance, listen, and relax on Sunday afternoons. On a sunny day, Mount Royal Park is definitely a must-see place for the whole family.
About the author:
Alexandre Duval is a blogger for ViaRail. He is also currently completing his master’s degree in political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal.