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Set on the Saint Lawrence River where the dome of the Montreal Biosphere forms an arresting backdrop, the Parc Jean-Drapeau is a wonderful hub of culture and entertainment. This urban recreational park straddles two islands – the Saint Helen's Island and the man-made Notre Dame Island - which were bases for the Expo 67 World's Fair. Come summer, the park comes alive with a flurry of activities brought about by the major attractions that dot its vast, picturesque stretch, from La Ronde and Montreal Casino, to Fort de l'Île Sainte-Hélène and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Its summery sprawl also invites droves of tourists who congregate here for the vibrant streak of festivals that are held year-long.
Located at the eastern edge of the Plateau Mont-Royal, La Fontaine Park consists of about 40 hectares (100 acres) in all. It serves as site for one of the official rites of spring, with people flocking to it the moment they sense warmer weather approaching. You can relax under the trees, picnic, sunbathe, bike, or play tennis. There is an outdoor theater in the summer, and in the winter the pond becomes a skating rink. Several monuments adorn the park, including one commemorating the sacrifice of French-Canadians who died during the course of the World Wars.
Frederick Law Olmsted, of Central Park fame, designed Mount Royal Park. It is easy to forget that you are in the middle of a huge metropolis when walking or cross-country skiing on the park's many well-signposted trails: chief downtown access points are from Parc Jeanne-Mance and Drummond Street, just west of Royal Victoria Hospital. Beaver Lake features skating, tobogganing, and even a small ski hill and chairlift, while Mount Royal Cemetery is one of the continent's largest.
Every season at the Jardin Botanique de Montréal (Montréal Botanical Gardens), you'll be captivated by the colors and fragrances of flowers and plants as you move from garden to garden, many inspired by different parts of the world. Explore the Sonoran desert, wander into the Chinese or French Garden, and finally relax in the tranquility of the Japanese Garden. The Montreal Botanical Garden contains about 12,000 plant species and cultivators, ten exhibition greenhouses, about 30 thematic gardens and a large arboretum.
Nestled in the Villeray area of Montreal, the Jarry Park is one of the many city parks. Named after the honorable city council member, Raoul Jarry, this park is home to the Uniprix Stadium. Apart from that, it also features tennis courts, a pool, cricket field, skate park and special field for softball. The artificial lake and the 'Paix des enfants' monument at this park make for interesting landmarks. In the past, Jarry Park has hosted the La fête nationale du Québec, and singers like Christine Charbonneau, Clémence Desrochers, Pierre Calvé and many others sang here as a part of the event.
The Angrignon Park is named to honor, J.-B. Arthur Angrignon who was the city councilor of Côte Saint-Paul. This green land bestowed with a lovely pond, is equipped with picnic tables, playground, a separate walking path and so forth. From this park, you can also catch a glimpse of the Fort Angrignon, which is no longer open to visitors.
Located on the banks of the Rivière des Prairies, this 30-hectare (75-acre) shore side park combines historical sites with parkland. Guests enjoy guided tours, a theater, a boutique and even an outdoor cafe, as well as observation points along the river. Depending on the season, you can picnic, hike, cycle, bird-watch or fish to your heart's content. In the winter, cross-country ski or snowshoe down the groomed trails.
Centre de la nature is a green oasis located within the metropolitan area of Laval. This is more than just a regular city park and offers something for everyone. Its lovely gardens and lawns complete with serene surroundings are ideal for relaxing with your favorite book. For the outdoorsy types, the Centre de la nature features host of activities ranging from hiking, biking, kayaking, skateboarding; from summer to winter sports, a wide scope is covered here. The nature lovers can explore the deer park or the country-side farm featuring farm animals like cows, chickens and horses. That's not it, Centre de la nature also conducts variety of sporting and cultural events throughout the year. And, such a picturesque locale makes for an ideal backdrop for wedding photography; with prior permission you can arrange for wedding photography session here. For entry fees, hours of facilities and event schedule, check website or call ahead.
Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park is famous for its old growth hardwood forest, tremendous array of wild flowers and all sorts of wildlife both terrestrial and aquatic. There are trails along peaceful streams, and canoeing is also available. In winter there is cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with several chalets along the way where you can warm up any cold extremities. The interpretation center offers a picnic grounds and an open air base for kids. Children will get a kick out of watching black-capped chickadees and hairy woodpeckers vie for food at the bird-feeding stations.