Guided Tour: Lacoursiere Park
Lacoursière Park is one of the most scenic spots on Nuns’ Island, and definitely well worth a trip for non-Islanders with young children. While there is only one play structure at the park – best suited to toddlers up to age four or five – the area is beautifully landscaped around a man-made pond. With two small, red bridges, weeping willow trees and tall reeds, it has an Asian, and therefore, Zen feeling. A nice surprise in semi-suburban Montreal!
Also good to know: The playground and seating areas are well shaded, so it’s a great destination even on a sunny day. The playground is set in sand (bring sand toys) and surrounded by boulders that are fun to walk on and jump off. The most obvious attractions are the two arched bridges over the pond, which give great views of the pond life below. There are ducks to look at, frogs, some fish and, of course, various kinds of bugs (you know those spiders that “walk” on water?). Speaking of bugs, since this playground is near water, pack bug spray.
A walking path circles the pond, allowing kids to get up close to a small waterfall, various babbling “brooks”, and waddling baby ducks in spring/summer. If you’re lucky, you may also see some large, graceful herons in or around the pond.
Nuns’ Island is about a 7-minute drive from downtown Montreal, if you take the Bonaventure Expressway toward the Champlain Bridge. It’s also accessible by bike path, so a great destination for families living in Verdun, near Atwater Market or Old Montreal.
Address: (view map) Lacoursiere Park, off Chemin du Golf St. If coming by car or by bike, turn left at the first traffic circle on the Island, onto Chemin du Golf St. Continue, looking for the pond on your left. There are some parking spots and bike racks available on the left side of the street, or park in the Nautilus gym parking lot. Follow the path around the pond to get to the playground.
If you’re going by bus, take the 168 south, getting off at the first stop on Nuns’ Island. Cross the street toward Chemin du Golf, and keep walking (about 5 minutes) until you see the pond on the left.
Bathrooms: There are no bathrooms at the park, so it’s best to use the ones in the Provigo supermarket (there is a changing table). It is a 5- to 10-minute walk or 2-minute drive from the playground. Return to the traffic circle and you’ll see the shopping centre across the street.
Places to eat: In the Nuns’ Island shopping centre, there’s Provigo (they sell ready-made food and there’s a seating area), Cafe Vienne, Amir. Across the street from the main shopping centre is Second Cup, Dagwoods and Sushi Shop.
Other parks close by: If the kids want to venture beyond this playground, there’s another good one about a three-minute walk away. De la Métairie Park has great equipment for toddlers up to about age 7; it was completely re-done in 2008. Cross the large red bridge leading away from the Lacoursière playground and walk to the street (Marie LeBer); cross over to de la Metairie St. Walk to the end of the street and you’ll see the park. (view map)