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06 Feb, Monday
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Montreal Families

Guided Tour: Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park

Address: Mackle Rd. and Stephen Leacock Ave. (view map)
Parking: There is a free parking lot at the end of Stephen Leacock Ave., which is right next to the playground area.

Cute ducks? Check.
Pedal boats? Check.
A huge hill to explore? Check.

Although this sounds like the Beaver Lake area on Mount Royal, it’s actually the next best thing. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park (formerly Centennial Park) is a hub of the Côte St. Luc community, and well worth a visit for non-C.S.L. families.

Although the playground area doesn’t have the most modern equipment, there are several climbing structures for various ages, set on a base of sand (bring sand toys), with swings for toddlers and older kids. Compared to the Beaver Lake area, the setup is more compact and easier to navigate for parents of young children.

The best climbing structure of all is the massive hill, which overlooks the playground and adjoining sports fields. Once the kids have dragged you up and down a few times, you can walk around the pond to see the ducks or watch neighborhood kids play baseball. The pedal boats operate from mid-May through September and start at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Keep this park in mind for hot days, because there’s a shaded area where kids can cool off by running through a water-spraying coil. Nearby, walking trails lead into a forested area that’s fun to explore. Two other major bonuses: a large, free parking lot and a public bathroom with changing table.

Bring a picnic or plan to eat at the Cavendish Mall, which is within walking distance (if you have a stroller/carrier for babies). Also in the area is Côte St. Luc public library.

Tip: The park is well-known as the venue for the borough’s annual Canada Day celebrations. The 2008 festivities included lots of stuff for kids, like inflatable rides, a children’s train from Cavendish Mall, face painting, a magician, live music and more.

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