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Jarry Park
Photograph: Daphne CaronJarry Park

The best parks in Montreal

Whether you're looking for a pop-up festival or an urban escape, park it at one of Montreal's many glorious green spaces.

Written by
JP Karwacki
,
Yasmine Dalloul
&
Isa Tousignant
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UPDATE: July, 2022: With so many incredible free things to do in Montreal, hanging out in one of the city's many urban green spaces or beaches is at the top of the list. They are where Montrealers go year-round, but it’s during the hot summer months that they really come alive. We’re talking tons of Montreal festivals and events, where to get a tan before drinking at the best bars and rooftops or where to go after long date nights or a casual bite to eat. Here are the best parks in and around Montreal.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Montreal

Best parks in Montreal

This park sets the GOAT bar in Montreal. It's vast, surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, and was the site of the 1976 Olympics, making it a landmark bonanza. It’s where many of the coolest festivals and events happen, from Osheaga to Piknic Électronik to Formula 1 Grand Prix, as well as a greenscape criss-crossed with walking, cycling and skiing paths. Go for the green, or go for a day at the Six Flags amusement park, La Ronde—either way guarantees entertainment.

 

Mount Royal
Photograph: Alison Slattery

2. Mount Royal

Made up of three summits—de la Croix, Westmount Summit and Tiohtià:ke Otsira’kéhne—and the city’s namesake centerpiece, Mont Royal is full of countless things to do all year long. In winter, slopes once dedicated to cross-country skiing are currently used as adrenaline-inducing tobogganing grounds, while warmer months are ideal for hiking and taking in views of the city. There’s Beaver Lake which supplies a great area to barbecue and relax, but it’s the northern side you’ll want to explore in summer when Tam-Tams takes place, a giant drum circle where many Montrealers can be found on Sundays.

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Lachine Canal
Photograph: Alison Slattery | Lachine Canal

3. Lachine Canal

European settlers named this canal after its original purpose, to reach China for shipping purposes. Today, it’s a Montreal landmark that offers stunning views of the city and plenty of activities both aquatic and not for locals to enjoy year round: Think boat rentals, an annual dragon boat race, camping, ice skating and more. Part of the canal is alongside the Atwater market, making it the perfect spot to picnic as well. Don’t forget about Otentik, a luxury camping experience where you can rent a cabin alongside the water.

This small park that starts at Bernard and St-Dominique Streets in Mile End (a few blocks from one of the newest, biggest beer gardens in the city) and runs eastward along the train tracks is special for its use as a cultural headquarters in this neighbourhood famous for its creative scene. From Pop Montreal musical performances to the Marché des Possibles craft fair to rallyes and more, it’s the place to watch for community happenings throughout the wam months. 

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This popular park in the Parc Ex neighbourhood, a few blocks from Jarry Park, is used daily by local families for its two play parks and very popular splash pad, but it comes alive a couple of times a year when the soccer field turns into a stage. It’s the gathering point for both the India Day and the Pakistan Day parades every summer, and each occasion features performances, games and crowd-gathering food kiosks that keep the celebrations going into the night.

Parc René-Lévesque
Photograph: Musée plein air de Lachine

6. Parc René-Lévesque

Get a little culture with your greenspace at this park in the Vieux-Lachine neighbourhood. Located on a peninsula in the St. Lawrence River, on the southernmost edge of the island, this park is dotted with sculptures by local artists, so you’ll have plenty of reasons to stop and muse. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll with minimum effort and maximum visual impact.

 

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Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques
Photograph: Yves Keroack

7. Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques

This large park has a nice sandy beach that draws crowds all summer. Go there to deepen your tan while people-watching teenage flirtations, or rent a kayak, pedal boat or canoe and explore the Prairies River. Then again, you can skip the beach altogether and venture onto the many trails in the surrounding forest, on foot in summer or on cross-country skis in winter.

Parc La Fontaine
Photograph: Stéphan Poulin

8. Parc La Fontaine

To Plateau dwellers, Parc LaFontaine is a summer mecca and no other park will live up to its beauty, space and accommodating vibes. The views here are undeniably stunning, and it’s a shoe-in for one of the city’s prettiest parks. Sporting a large pond with a fountain that’s active in the summer and lots of ground space for lazy summer frolicking, Montrealers while away their time exploring its grounds, playing boules and catching free shows at its amphitheater or skating on its rink in winter.

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Jarry Park
Photograph: Daphné Caron

9. Jarry Park

Filled with old trees that pose as the perfect shelters to perch beneath on a hot summer’s day, the huge Parc Jarry’s where most Montrealers of the northern side of the island like to collect. From jam sessions with musicians to full-blown family barbecues and couples canoodling, it’s where you’ll find a petri dish of the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension neighbourhood’s multicultural ethos. It’s also got a pool open to the public in the summertime and is the preferred park for organizing sporting events, as they have ample space and terrain to accommodate baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey in the winter.

Parc Angrignon
Photograph: Ville de Montréal

10. Parc Angrignon

Located at the southern end of the green line of the metro, this park’s a humongous tribute to English gardens that were common in the 19th century. With tens of thousands of trees, wide open greenspaces, paths and ponds spread out over 200 acres, one visit is rarely ever enough to feel like you’ve experienced the park in its entirety. That’s twice as true when it comes to winters when it becomes a huge wonderland perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and tobogganing throughout.

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Parc Westmount
Photograph: Susan Moss

11. Parc Westmount

Residents of the city of Westmount are extremely proud of this large greenspace, and are quick to credit it as the most beautiful park in Montreal thanks to gorgeous landscaping and planning. The park is home to the Westmount Public Library, a soccer field and tennis courts available for the sportive public to take advantage of during pleasant weather. It also features public ping pong tables, as well as built-in chess tables to enjoy a quiet game (pieces not included).

Parc Maisonneuve
Photograph: Alain Chagnon

12. Parc Maisonneuve

Once known as an inner-city golf course—the links can still be spotted from a bird’s eye view—Parc Maisonneuve shares its borders with the Botanical Gardens. That gigantic amount of greenspace contains spots like the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden among others, all of which are must-visits during the spring and summer seasons. The park also regularly hosts the city’s Saint-Jean Baptiste festivities to celebrate Quebec’s national holiday. Beyond enjoying it in the summer, it offers activities year-round and in colder months like visiting its large ice skating or its annual Ice Bike race.

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Parc Arthur-Therrien
Photograph: Bernard Amiot

13. Parc Arthur-Therrien

Forming the upper section of a string of parks that runs from Verdun to LaSalle along the banks of the Saint-Lawrence, this is the site of Verdun’s new beach and beginning of a whole summer’s worth of visits. There are public pools, soccer fields and wide-open greenspaces galore here and farther south; grab some wheels and explore the bike paths in order to discover attractions like swimming spots, public outdoor dance halls and the river’s rapids to watch fly fishers cast until the sun goes down.

Parc Girouard
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Leesa-Catherine S.

14. Parc Girouard

This park’s a lovely emerald gem that’s a neighborhood favorite for residents of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough. Even today, despite the empty space left behind with the 2017 tornado, NDG dwellers still use the park as their central haven for catching moments of lush greenery in their day, whether that’s hanging out, smoking up, tanning or reading solo. The area also features a two dog parks for pups both big and small, and it’s a great park for kids to enjoy thanks to a vast playground and sprinklers to run around in on a hot day.

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Jeanne-Mance Park
Photograph: Alison Slattery

15. Jeanne-Mance Park

Locals enjoy visiting this park to tan, picnic and exercise, but it’s most known for is its large soccer field where locals organize friendly matches during the summer and hockey in the winter. Walk through the tree-canopied and bench-lined path from Rachel Street where the city’s colorful characters gather for conversation and playing cards or checkers. If jogging’s your thing, a couple of laps around the park makes for a great running track as well.

Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Denzil D.

16. Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier

A smaller park of the city, this greenspace has garnered a reputation with locals as a great place to gather. With its outdoor gym, a children’s playground, a baseball field for public teams to practice and play, a dog park, a swimming pool and a decent bathroom, that leaves few questions as to why. Throw in being one of the best places to barbecue—grocery stores and dépanneurs are nearby for supplies—and that’s a recipe for being one the best.

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Saint-Louis Square
Photograph: Ville de Montréal, Denis Labine

17. Saint-Louis Square

While tiny, this urban park square is the ideal spot for a quick romantic stroll, sightseeing classic Plateau architecture and relaxing. Grab a seat on one of the benches surrounding its centerpiece fountain that lights up the square at night and enjoy people-watching that includes first dates and panhandlers. Above all, it’s worth the visit for the architecture alone during any of the transitory times of day—dusk, twilight, dawn, sunset—if not its proximity to solid French restaurants.

Parc Saint-Henri
Photograph: Jeangagnon

18. Parc Saint-Henri

Visits to this borough need not be restricted to walking along the Lachine Canal or its main thoroughfare filled with restaurants and bars—well, we wouldn’t deny you visiting one of those restaurants or bars but follow it up by relaxing at this bench-lined bygone town square-cum-park. Consider this an ideal spot to escape the city and while away the afternoon or evening as you enjoy the company of its unique central cast iron monument to the explorer Jacques Cartier and the fountains around its base.

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Saint-Viateur Park
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Justine S.

19. Saint-Viateur Park

The tiny gems of Outremont and Saint-Viateur parks stand side by side in the Outremont borough. Saint-Viateur is a favorite to locals, thanks to the amenities nearby that make it the perfect pit stop for picnicking and a rushing water feature with ducks and a bridge perfect for leisurely promenades. As for Outremont, it’s similar in size and vibe to its neighbor but offers unique flowery landscaping in the summer, plus its own pond and bridge which make it a perfect place to host photo shoots.

Parc du Pelican
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Risa D.

20. Parc du Pelican

While not physically very big, this park gained a big enough reputation when a flock of sheep were brought in the help with its landscaping in 2016. It’s the further east Plateau’s answer to Sir Wilfred Laurier: While similar in size and function, folks regularly like to collect at Pelican for its pool. If it’s full, no worries, as the pool at the nearby Baldwin Park’s just as accommodating. Whichever you decide to settle on, both are free and refreshing. One of the more kid-friendly options in the city.

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21. Parc-Nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation

At the northern tippy top of the island, this lovely park meanders along the verdant grassy knolls that line the banks of Rivière-des-Prairies, with occasional detours onto Henri Bourassa Street, where you’ll spot some of the city’s oldest farmhouses. Walking eastward, when you reach the little inlet at Gouin and Papineau, go explore the trails near Simon Sicard Dam. The views of the river are great.

Find more free things to do in Montreal

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