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Best Free Sites in Montreal

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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.

Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal is the nation's largest church, its regal dome second in height only to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. A small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph was built at the site in 1904 by Brother André, renown for his miraculous ability to heal the injured and ailing. He was later beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010. Completed in 1960, the renaissance church that replaced the original shrine encompasses a basilica, a votive chapel lined with discarded crutches, and the heart of Brother André amongst several other treasures. Outside, the Stations of the Cross grace the sculpture garden where scenes from the film Jésus of Montréal were shot. The oratory itself is a striking beauty that dominates the skyline for miles around, its elegant dome rising high above the bucolic scene. One of the world's most revered Catholic shrines and an important place of pilgrimage, Saint Joseph's Oratory inspires wonder in the hearts of the devout and the simply curious.

Straddling a two-kilometer (1.24 mile) stretch along the St. Lawrence River, the Old Port of Montreal has operated as an active hub since 1611 when it was used as a fur trading post by French settlers. Its erstwhile drab personality appears to have vanished with a transformation that started with Expo 67, converting it from a banal port to a spectacular year-round playground for residents and tourists alike. Besides being home to a bevy of attractions like the IMAX Theatre, the Montreal Science Centre and the Montreal Clock Tower, it is also a recreational wonderland, especially during winter months. Marked by ice sculptures, skating and a lively nativity scene, as well as vibrant festivals like the Festival Montréal en lumière, the Old Port of Montreal hosts a decidedly thriving cultural scene. With numerous dining options, bargain shops, trendy boutiques, tours and riverfront activities dotting its pretty vicinity, the Old Port is an all inclusive attraction in itself.

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.

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.

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