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Fun for the Family in Montreal

by Eugenia Lazaris

Oct 22, 2017

© Eric Cote | Dreamstime

Destinations / North America

Take a trip to Montreal in the southern tip of the Canadian province of Quebec, a destination the entire family can enjoy. Situated on an island and named after Mount Royal hill in the heart of this French-Canadian city, Montreal recently celebrated its 350th anniversary. A city of old world style and charm, families will love exploring the numerous indoor and outdoor activities Montreal has to offer.

Buildings on St Paul street in Old Montreal

© Leonid Andronov | Dreamstime

The Old Port of Montreal, one of the oldest sections of the city, is a great place to walk the waterfront and enjoy the cobblestone streets and old-world architecture of its buildings. The enormous Montreal Observation Wheel offers breathtaking views of the city with comfortable cabins that are air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter so you can enjoy the view no matter what time of year you visit. In the warmer summer months, you can rent a paddleboat to explore the port from the water. During the cold winter months, the Bonsecours Basin in the port is transformed into a refrigerated ice-skating rink, offering old-fashioned fun for ice skaters of all ages.

The Old Port is also home to Voiles en Voiles, a unique amusement park that will entertain every member of the family. With its nautical, 18th-century royal ship versus pirate ship theme, it is a giant playground where both kids and adults can enjoy a day of outdoor fun together. Visitors can don a helmet and harness and swing through one of the aerial climbing or zipline courses or climb the rock wall. Little ones will especially love the inflatable games, slides and climbing courses specially designed for younger guests.

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal, Canada

© Meunierd | Dreamstime

A short distance from the Old Port is the Notre-Dame Basilica, located in historic Old Montreal. The entire building, inside and out, is an ornately detailed, living piece of religious art. Catholic services continue to be conducted regularly here — in French, of course. A small admission fee will gain you entrance to the basilica and includes a short guided tour, if desired, or you can explore this architectural wonder on your own. Informational brochures are available for free in a variety of languages. Visit at night to experience Aura, a light show that illuminates the beauty of the basilica while orchestral music plays in the background.

Guidatour Private Tours offers a fascinating walking tour of the Old Montreal Historic District, which includes the Basilica (entrance fees are included in the tour fee). This tour highlights the most notable spots in this remarkable neighborhood such as Bonsecours Market and Place Jacques-Cartier. Guides show you the must-see sights while giving you an informative history of the city. Tours are offered twice daily and run around 1.5 hours.

To get a true feel for the city, visit a local neighborhood, like Crescent Street in downtown Montreal. Popular among locals and tourists alike, this street runs through the heart of the city and is lined with trendy shops, art galleries and unique eateries. The street really comes to life after dark with live music and a vibrant bar scene.

Mount Royal Park Montreal

© Mario Beauregard | Dreamstime

Mount Royal Park, located on the triple-peaked hill that lends Montreal its name, is well worth a visit on a sunny day. Designed by the same man responsible for New York City’s Central Park, this beautiful piece of nature is a perfect getaway from the action of the city. With spectacular city views, the park allows visitors to unwind by the lakeside or enjoy an exhilarating bike ride through the park’s naturally beautiful scenery. Winter or summer, the park is a great place to visit, especially at night when the prominent feature of the park, a 100-meter cross built in 1924 by the St. John the Baptist Society, is lit up for optimal viewing.

For more family fun, visit the Montreal Space for Life, an enormous complex celebrating the nature of the city and beyond. Consisting of the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Biodome, the Insectarium and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, this natural science district offers endless opportunities for fun, nature and education. The botanical gardens, one of the city’s gems, is a great way to spend the day outdoors enjoying the beauty and fresh air of the city. Visit after dark to experience the Garden of Light show, highlighting the Japanese, Chinese and First Nations Gardens, which make for a unique and enjoyable nighttime activity for the whole family. The Insectarium is sure to delight bug lovers in the family, while the Planetarium throws some interplanetary science into the mix. The Biodome allows visitors to observe more than 200 species of animals living within five different ecosystems.

If your trip happens to be during the harsh winter months, don’t fret. While many outdoor activities are not winter-friendly, there is still plenty to do in this marvelous city on a cold or rainy day. Just head to the Underground City, an extensive underground network of shops, restaurants, hotels and train stations all interconnected. It allows visitors to explore to their hearts’ delight without having to venture outdoors at all.

Whatever type of fun your family is into, you can find it in Montreal. One trip will have you hooked and ready to return for more!


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