10 great Montreal-area parks to visit with kids

During the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to spend time outdoors with the kids – for everyone’s mental and physical health. These parks have something fun for kids of every age

Parc des Joyeux-Vikings, located in the Ville-Marie borough

When Montreal playgrounds reopened this summer, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from weary parents, and children’s jubilant “Woohoo!” as they raced up their favourite play structures. Local parks were hopping with activity all season and this will likely continue into the fall.

If you’re looking for a short day trip to a park that’s unlike any the kids have seen before, I’ve compiled a list of the best that our family’s seen on our park-seeking adventures.

Grab the sunscreen and hand sanitizer, more snacks than you think you’ll need, and enjoy these great places around the island.

Fun for little kids (18 months to 5 years)

Dalmany Park
9650  Dalmany St., LaSalle

Years ago, this was the first park I found where my toddler could use all of the equipment without a ton of help from me. He loved it and had a great time touching, climbing, and exploring.

The park underwent a huge renovation in 2019, and is now better than ever.

The addition of a beautiful splash pad, colourful games painted on the ground, and fun play structures creates a delightful experience for the littlest kids.

Bonus: The park is fully fenced and gated, and has a portable toilet for those times they “just gotta go!”

Jean-Marie-Lamonde Park
7634 de Chateaubriand Ave., Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension

Renovated in 2019, this park is like a fairytale come to life. Full of colour, there are wonderful details throughout: giant gnomes, community garden containers, a central area with cheery picnic tables, a beautiful NBA-sized basketball court, a picnic-themed splash pad, and three different play sections.

Toddlers 18 months to 5 years have a large play structure to explore; while the smallest children can enjoy the ground-level playhouse with its “doorbell,” mirror, windows, bells, and marbles to touch and turn.

Parc John F.-Kennedy
860 Outremont Ave., Outremont

Fenced and gated, this new playground has the sweetest play structure, with its easy-to-climb stairs, bridge, rope ladder, and small slides. There’s also a triple-seat seesaw, adult and baby swings, and plenty of places to jump from, rock in, climb up, and leap across. There’s also a small sandbox, so bring along the shovels and buckets. Whew.

The playground is right beside the park’s tempting wading pool; you can call the borough at 514-495-6253 for its hours and regulations.

Challenging parks (for kids age 6 and up)

Parc des Joyeux-Vikings
1763 Beaudry St., Ville-Marie

My two kids (7 & 12) were mighty impressed with the 14-foot slide at this newly re-opened park, and flew down it more times than I could possibly count. The climb up the tall structure is challenging, and the zip back down exhilarating. Just what my two daredevils like.

The park also has another cable climber, a toddler section, spots to hang your hammock and a splash pad.

Nathan Shuster Park
At the corners of Collins Rd. and Beethoven Ave., Cote St.Luc

If your kids love climbing, obstacle courses, and ziplines, they’ll find all of that at this amazing nature-themed playground.

Kids can start their challenge at the tall rock wall, test their balance across the logs and stumps, climb up the circular steps of the tree house, and make their way along the tough rope course to the cable climber and zipline.

And then do it all over again. Pack a picnic because you’ll be here a while!

Kirkland Park
81 Park Ridge St. , Kirkland

So bright, so shiny, so fun!

My youngest absolutely loves all the climbing contraptions and tall slides on the huge fire truck play structure, as well as the fast zipline that is just steps away. While you’re here try out the tennis courts, learn how to play pickleball, or shoot some hoops on the basketball court.

One thing to note: there is very little shade, so you may want to visit early in the morning or on a cooler day.

Parks great for all ages

Philippe-Laheurte Park
3042 Ernest-Hemingway Ave., St. Laurent

(This huge park has two playgrounds. We prefer the one at the intersection of John-Lyman St. and Ernest Hemingway Ave.)

Having two kids who are quite far apart in age and abilities, it’s sometimes hard to find playgrounds where one isn’t bored or the other overwhelmed. This park has everything close enough together that I don’t need to run back and forth, and both kids have a blast.

The big-kid slide is super tall with a ninja warrior climb up (I can’t do it!), and my little one loves the jeep and play structures in the toddler area.

Parent tip: If it rains there’s a huge roofed structure, which is also great for escaping from the sun.

Saint-Damase Park
7645 20e Avenue, Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension

Though they’ve been to more than 1,000 parks, my kids can’t stop talking about this amazing, multi-generational park.

From the gorgeous splash pad and toddler playhouse to the mini-slide and bridges; there’s something here for every age.

The tall “tree houses” are a highlight, as well as the TrekFit equipment and the super cool drinking fountain (for real!)

Bring your lunch because there are lovely picnic tables right beside the play areas.

Saint-Jacques Park
1647 St André St., Ville-Marie

This park is so unique that my kids had to stop for a minute and look around just to figure everything out. Both of them loved the modern play cubes with their cables and slides, and explored the ground-level sensory panels, the wheelchair-accessible sand shovels, and the saucer swing.

You might miss it, but right near the long picnic table is an unobtrusive splash pad that will cool off the kids on hot days.

Saint-Donat Park
6800  de Marseille St., Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

I love this park because it’s compact and I’m able to watch both kids at the same time without feeling like I’m at a tennis match.  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s new, and wickedly fun!

The toddler area has a lot to stimulate and entertain the little ones, while the larger play structure engages older kids. Just up the path is a space-themed splash pad that’s entertaining, refreshing, and educational!