IN: Montréal’s Canada Day in the Old Port
Ok, clearly it was inevitable that the Old Port would make an entrance into In & Around – there are a gabajillion things to do outside at the Old Port, AND it’s right smack dab in the centre of the city. There are myriad activities, features, events and thingamagigs that I’ll write more about as time goes on, but for this weekend, I’ll focus on the family-friendly Canada Day festivities taking place all day tomorrow, July 1.
Celebrating Dominion Day, as it were, here in Montréal has been going on for many a year, with parades, fireworks and a sweet ton of multicultural events that shine a light on the ethnic heritage that is Canada, and specifically, Montréal. Tomorrow will include a 21 cannon salute (yeehaw!), inflatable games for the wee ones, a slew of live bands and a wicked awesome fireworks show to end the night at 10:00pm (click here for some hints on the best place to park yer butts to watch). Now, all that being said, this event will be overshadowed, to say the least, by the Jazz Fest, mourning the PK Subban trade, and First Fridays Food Trucks at the Big O… SO! That means you should expect to have a relatively non-sardine like day with your loved ones as you celebrate the birth of our great nation (a nation, I might add, that is home to the world’s longest beaver dam, at 850 metres, found in Northern Alberta).
- The Old Port is a place that is oft forgotten by locals. Daily, people come from thousands of miles just to see this place that is right under our noses. Take a moment, and enjoy a world-class destination at your fingertips.
- The easiest “IN” ever featured with regards to public transportation access.
- Free. The whole day is free. And that my friends, is awesome.
- It’s shaping up to be a so-so day, weather wise, on July 1 in Montréal. Not enough to scare you away but enough for you to bring a rain jacket. Just sayin’.
- A few of the Old Port’s major attractions (Port d’Escale Marina, Clock Tower Beach and the Science Centre) are closed due to a union strike going on. It doesn’t affect the Canada Day festivities, but if you wanted to unite a couple of attractions together tomorrow, you might be out of luck.
- In order to take in the whole day, you’ll have to stop helping your friends move a little earlier than they wanted… auuuu, so sad for them.
- Canada Day in Montréal: 333 Rue de la Commune O, Montréal
- Official Canada Day Montréal Website
- Old Port of MOntréal Official Website
- Since no part of you wants to be driving anywhere near the downtown core at any point this summer, I recommend parking at Metro Namur (from West), Metro Montmorency (from North), Metro Frontenac (from East) or Metro Longueuil (from South) and then metroing into Place D’Armes metro station.
AROUND: Saint-Jérôme’s Parc régional de la Rivière-du-Nord
I love this park. Plain and simple. It’s close to Montréal, offers up hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, art & history and is so accessible (effort-wise) that you can bring anyone here that just wants to get outside. I have hiked most of the trails here and, not counting the approach, I’d say the Wilson trail is my favourite. It brings you out for a nice distance, crosses over a beautiful bridge vista, visits Les Chutes Wilson and allows you to see some old hydro dam and paper mill structures. Wait, what? Yep, there used to be a hydro dam here as well as the Wilson Family paper mill (powered by Les Chutes Wilson). Also, you’ll have plenty of sunshine to bask in on that side of the river as well as 75 picnic tables to chill out at and eat yer lunch or comb your hair or whatever it is you do whilst getting outside. If you’re alone, then the gentle gurgle of waterfalls, the churning waters of the Rivière-du-Nord and the sweet songs of the cormorants, ducks and foxes will accompany you as you hike life’s problems away.
- This is another close AROUND – definitely within 45 minutes of Montréal!
- Public transportation is kind of doable thanks to the Saint-Jérôme train line – makes it possible to get here from Montréal without a car.
- The trails are A-OK for all kinds of fitness levels. Alllll kinds!
- There is some inherent danger in the trail’s proximity to the river that makes the father in me a little nervous when I’m hiking here with my boys. Nothing bad per se, just keep yer eyes out if you go with the wee ones.
- It can be a little confusing to get to since you need to maneuver through the 15 Nord / 117 Nord interchange to get there (just keep your eye out / listen to your GPS well).
- Not now, but in Spring, some of the trails can be flooded after a heavy winter. I assume after a heavy rainfall as well, just not as bad. If it really storms on Friday, just be sure to bring some flip flops to change into for your ride back home.
- Parc régional de la Rivière-du-Nord, 750 Chemin de la Rivière du Nord, Saint-Jérôme, 1-877-731-1676
- Official Website
- Trail Maps
- I cannot stress enough how much I recommend coupling this with a bike ride on Le P’Tit Train du Nord. If you can swing two cars, drop one here, then drive the other with your crew and bikes up to Ste-Adèle and ride on back down to the park. That way you are following a route with a slight downhill the entire way AND you get to end with an awesome walk through the park. If you can’t swing two cars, there are shuttle services as well.
“The journey not the arrival matters”
– T.S. Eliot | b.1888 | American-born British poet