Montreal Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The Woods of Île Bizard

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

A small island found just off the foot of Montreal, Île Bizard is named after one of New France’s original settlers, Jacques Bizard. The island has been largely spared from over-development, and a healthy percentage of it is today protected in the Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard Nature Park. We spent a beautiful summer day there, exploring the park’s diverse ecosystems, which include swampland, plains and forest.

Ile Bizard

Montreal might be a big, dirty city, but you don’t have to travel far to escape into nature. While we were walking through the woods of Île Bizard, it seemed surreal that just forty minutes ago, we had been moaning about the noise and construction in our neighborhood. Here, the only sounds we encountered were those of birds and bullfrogs.

The various trails in the Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard permit a hike of about two hours, though you can make this much shorter if you just stick to the main path. The crown jewel of the park is a gorgeous marshland, which a long wooden bridge will take you across. We paused here for a few minutes, remaining quiet to better appreciate the scene. The bullfrogs were putting on a concert, surrounding us with the strange music of their calls, like muted plucks on a slightly-flat guitar.

Ile Bizard

Past the marsh, the park remains just as peaceful, if somewhat less spectacular. I wasn’t complaining though — after spending too much time in downtown Montreal, a quiet walk through the woods with sunlight filtering through the branches feels like a revelation. We continued along the path until reaching the northeastern point of the island, where the Prairies River meets Île Brigas and forms some minor rapids.

Although you can reach Île Bizard with public transportation, it’s a lot easier to get here if you have a car. But as far as escapes from Montreal go, this is probably one of the closest and most beautiful options.

Location on our Map

Check for rental car prices in Montreal

Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
Ile Bizard
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
June 25, 2016 at 4:54 pm Comments (0)

The Parc des Rapides

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

As the St. Lawrence River winds its way from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, most of its journey is smooth sailing. However, just before it reaches Montreal, the river hits a rough patch. Jürgen and I hiked to the neighborhood of LaSalle to check out the Lachine Rapids.

Parc de Rapides Montreal

We started our day at the Parc Arthur-Therrien, across from the Île des Souers (or, Nuns’ Island), so-named because of the Sisters of Notre-Dame who owned it for 250 years. From this park, it would be a five-kilometer trek south to the Parc des Rapides. There’s a popular bike path running along the the St. Lawrence, but we stayed on a smaller dirt trail closer to the water, and enjoyed the riverside walk.

The path stretches along the base of a tall embankment, behind which Montreal’s buildings were hidden from view, and we found it hard to believe that we were still in the city. The weather was beautiful, and our only companions during the journey were birds, reeds, trees, and the occasional jogger. The five kilometers went by in a flash, and soon enough we could hear the rumbling of the rapids.

Parc de Rapides Montreal

These white water rapids have long been a source of adventure for Montrealers. As far back as the nineteenth century, thrill-seekers would pack onto steamboats to navigate them. Even the Prince of Wales, Edward VII, wasn’t able to resist a ride during his visit to Canada in 1860. While in the park, we saw a few rafts full of modern-day adrenaline junkies trying their luck. These rapids aren’t the world’s most treacherous, but they look like a lot of fun.

Less adventuresome are the hoards of people who visit the Parc des Rapides for birdwatching. This is a sanctuary for migratory birds, most importantly the great blue heron. There were dozens of birders in the park, equipped with cameras and gigantic zoom lenses. While they were watching and identifying new species, Jürgen was watching them, jealously identifying their expensive photography equipment. If they’re “birders”, I guess that makes Jürgen a birderer (a word which, incidentally, seems to be impossible for Germans to pronounce).

The Parc des Rapides isn’t large; it’s about 800 meters in length, on a narrow strip of land which lays between the rapids and a tranquil inlet. You can walk up and down the entire thing in about twenty minutes, and we recommend you do so. The further south you go, the less crowded the park becomes, since not many of the birders bother to carry their heavy camera bags all the way to the park’s end.

Location on our Map

We Used This Software To Edit The Video

Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
Parc de Rapides Montreal
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
May 26, 2016 at 8:46 pm Comments (2)

The Chalet du Mont Royal and Kondiaronk Belvedere

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Usually, the first thing we do after arriving in a city is ascend to its highest point for a birds-eye view. But we waited a full month before heading up Mont Royal, the hill (sorry, “mountain”) which provides Montreal its name. When the weather finally cleared up enough, we found that the view was worth the wait.

Belvedere Kondiaronk

The first truly nice day of the year happened to be on a Saturday, and the Parc du Mont-Royal was packed, the paths which wind around the slopes as crowded as a city street during rush hour. But we joined the throngs of joggers, bikers and families, and made our way from the park’s eastern slope all the way up to the Chalet du Mont Royal, where there’s a large platform with one of the city’s best views.

We started our trek up the hill (mountain!) at the memorial statue to Sir George-Étienne Cartier, a Quebecois statesman who was the father of the Canadian Confederation: the 1867 union of the four colonies of Quebec, Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. From this plaza, a wide path called the Chemin Olmsted winds gently up the slopes of Mont Royal.

We reached the Chalet du Mont Royal after an easy half-hour walk. There’s a law in Montreal restricting the height of skyscrapers to 200 meters, so that they remain underneath the summit. As a result, the view from the chalet’s Kondiaronk Belvedere is outstanding. The viewpoint is named for the great Huron chief who was instrumental in forming the Great Peace of 1701, which arguably saved the city from being wiped out during the Fur Wars.

The Chalet itself is large and curiously empty. It’s a beautiful building, with wood-carved squirrels supporting the arches of the roof… and nothing inside, apart from a few chairs, bathrooms and vending machines. It seems like a wasted opportunity for there not to be a restaurant or at least a cafe inside this building. But regardless, it’s a nice spot to relax after the ascent. And with downtown Montreal laid out before you, the view couldn’t be better.

Locations on our Map: Sir George-Étienne Cartier Statue | Chalet du Mont Royal

Framed Photos Of Montreal

Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
Belvedere Kondiaronk
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
May 21, 2016 at 2:37 pm Comments (0)
The Woods of le Bizard A small island found just off the foot of Montreal, Île Bizard is named after one of New France's original settlers, Jacques Bizard. The island has been largely spared from over-development, and a healthy percentage of it is today protected in the Bois-de-l'Île-Bizard Nature Park. We spent a beautiful summer day there, exploring the park's diverse ecosystems, which include swampland, plains and forest.
For 91 Days