To make the best of our too-short Montreal summers, there are some nearby activities that deserve a spot on everyone’s to-do list. For a staycation that will have you soaking up every second of the season, head over to Jean-Drapeau Park where families can enjoy a swim at the beach, splash about in the pool, rent a watercraft, or just chill out with a picnic under the trees. Whatever your pleasure, the park has something for all interests and ages.
An array of summer activities to suit every taste
Get your sunscreen out, because The Aquatic Complex has opened for the summer season. The large recreation pool welcomes families on the weekend of June 12 and 13, and then every day as of June 19.
The capacity has been reduced to meet physical distancing guidelines and visitors must reserve a time slot in the morning or afternoon. There will be a 30-minute interval between the two time periods to disinfect the site. Swimmers need to already have their swimsuit on when they arrive and must bring along their own safety vest, if needed, because the changing rooms are closed and there is no equipment rental at this time.
If you love the feel of sand between your toes, you’ll be happy to know that Jean-Doré Beach will be opening on June 23. In the heart of Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, this body of water is a source of entertainment for people of all ages, water crafters as well as sporting enthusiasts, and it offers a wide range of activities.
A teen favourite, Aquazilla will be back in the water with its inflatable obstacle courses on June 23; the boat rental service returns with kayaks, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP); open-water swimming fans can train in the marked-off areas of the beach’s lake; while beach volleyball players can enjoy eight courts set up on the site. A new feature this year will enable visitors to bring their own SUP or kayak to use on the beach’s lake and its lagoons.
For the first time this year, the river shuttle dock area will be turned into an outdoor refreshment facility, starting on June 19. Parc Jean-Drapeau’s La Guinguette, an outdoor refreshment area, will provide a meeting spot with a variety of outdoor installations, including a stage for performances and a well-light décor for nighttime ambience. Near the site, there will be ping-pong tables, transient swings along the river, and areas designated for picnics. A vegan restaurant will offer tapas, churros, and waffles.
If you’re looking to relax, park visitors who feel like a stroll can wander the Sentier des îles (islands’ trail), take in works of art and heritage buildings. The Balade découverte (discovery ride) is another way to be steeped in the history of the islands through a tour in an electric vehicle that highlights the many points of interest, animated by a certified guide. The biodiversity and cultural heritage are exceptionally rich at Parc Jean-Drapeau and experts will also be available for guided tours throughout the summer.
And for those who are into cycling, inline skating, and running, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has been open since May and as of June 23, the track will be closed to cars on Wednesday evenings to promote high-performance training.