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27 Jan, Friday
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Montreal Families

Guided Tour: LaSalle Park

One of the first things you need to know about LaSalle Park is that it is actually in Lachine. The second thing is that there are lots of beautiful features at this huge park, on the corner of 10th Ave. and Victoria St. The third thing is that it’s the venue for much of Les Fêtes de Lachine, a community festival being held this weekend (starting today).

Marching to a different drum

What caught our eye as we drove past was the amount of playground equipment, and what kept us there was all the other activities we discovered outside the playground. There are two play areas – a fenced one with lots of shade for younger children (18 months to 6), and a bigger climbing complex for older ones. Despite all the parks we’ve visited, we’re still discovering playground equipment with bells and whistles we haven’t seen before. Or, drums in this case. In the smaller playground, there’s a setup with various types of plastic drums to bang on, plus an instrument that makes chime/xylophone-like sounds when kids push the buttons. Also unusual – a mini-climbing wall and a spiderweb that spins around. The bigger playground is a great place to work on monkey-bar skills, but has no shade. Next to the playground is an area that has so many trees it’s kind of like a mini-forest – a great place to play hide and seek.

Taking the scenic route

On our way from the playground to check out the rest of the park, we noticed something red. It’s the top of a miniature stone windmill, which is surrounded by a pond with ducks in it. There’s a little brook and waterfall that stream into the pond, with a tiny “bridge” for kids to cross over. How cool! The only distraction in this beautiful scene was the amount of garbage in the water, and the fact that someone had managed to put one of the park’s picnic tables in the pond. How not cool!

Hit the wading pool

The park is clearly a community hub, with two pool areas, tennis courts, a skateboard park and basketball courts. The swimming setup is extensive – on one side of the park, there are two adult pools. On the other, there are two huge wading pools with water sprinklers. The kind of wading pools that are so shallow that you can just roll up your shorts and refresh your feet if you don’t have swimming gear with you. It was well worth the $1 admission (as non-Lachinois) that we paid to get in.

If you’re looking for a place to eat after the park, it’s within walking distance of the Lachine Public Market. The market has fruit and vegetable vendors, a cheese shop and a café with a small outdoor terrasse.

More information on Les Fêtes des Lachine

Thursday, Aug. 19 to Aug. 22: Les Fêtes de Lachine features all kinds of activities at LaSalle Park. Most of the family activities will be held on Sunday, including a family bike rally at 10 a.m. from the Lachine Museum to LaSalle Park, an Italian lunch at the park at noon, a concert by didgeridoo group Apadoorai at 1:30 p.m., and a presentation of Le Magicien d’Oz (The Wizard of Oz), in French by Théâtre La Roulotte at 3 p.m. See full schedule.

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