Guided Tour: J.A. Richard Park
Address: 5150 LaSalle Blvd., Verdun, between 6th Ave. and Desmarchais St. (view map)
Parking: Free parking lot off LaSalle Blvd.
J.A. Richard Park, overlooking the Lachine Canal in Verdun, has lots of great things going for it, but stays low-key.
For parents into cycling, this park is a super destination, and can be tied in with a trip to Atwater Market. Aside from the fact that the large playground has a mix of modern and older equipment – with toddler-size structures as well as a huge spiderweb that attracts children up to about 8 years old – there’s also circle of water sprinklers. On hot days, kids will love having the option of splashing or climbing. Bring towels, bathing suits, hats and sunscreen – there’s not much shade.
Beyond the park, there are paths that lead down to the marina, where kids can check out the moored boats, or perhaps even try a ferry ride to Nuns’ Island. During the summer, a ferry service takes people from the park to the nature trail that runs around Nuns’ Island. You can take bikes on the ferry. Kids may also get a kick out of running over the arched red bridge.
Parents will love the fact that there’s a large (free) parking lot, beautiful view, tons of picnic tables, as well as an ice cream stand. The ice cream counter is attached to Crescendo, a smart-casual restaurant with a beautiful terrasse that juts over the water. If you’re game for a family brunch or dinner out, try exhausting the kids at the park and then going to Crescendo.
If that’s a no-go, bring your own lunch or (shhhh!) go to McDonalds (has a playland area), a block or so east on LaSalle Blvd.