22 April, 2024

Trail Profile: Parc Jean-Drapeau

Overview of Parc Jean-Drapeau

Smack-dab in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and the South Shore, Parc Jean-Drapeau offers a plethora of activities and attractions – and it includes a section of the Trans Canada Trail!

What we love about this Trail section

Parc Jean-Drapeau biosphere

It’s accessible on public transit, by bike or even on foot

The park offers tons of activities year-round: stand-up paddling, canoeing and kayaking, ice skating, snowshoeing, plus great cycling and walking paths

It’s a lively spot with events, public art installations, a café, a beach and even a Biosphere!

Explore Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame

public art installations

Parc Jean-Drapeau is made up of two islands: Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, which are a short pedestrian bridge apart. On Île Sainte-Hélène, so named in 1611 by Samuel de Champlain in honour of his wife, Hélène, you’ll find the renowned Biosphere, designed by architect Buckminster Fuller for Expo 1967. Île Sainte-Hélène is also home to the park’s entrance to the Montreal metro, a café, public art installations and more. There is a short section of the Trans Canada Trail on this island, but the longest section in Parc Jean-Drapeau can be found on Île Notre-Dame.

On Île Notre-Dame, the Trans Canada Trail follows the southern end of the island. This Trail section connects with the Ville de Montréal Trail at Pont de la Concorde and loops around, following the water, to link up with the Ville de Saint-Lambert Trail. It is also part of La Route verte, an extensive cycling network in the province of Quebec.

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – home to Montreal’s Grand Prix in June, and also a great cycling route – can also be found on the island. The Trail takes you along a paved cycling and walking path in a treed area that offers views of the surrounding river. Enjoy a relaxed environment and birdsong along your route – you’ll find birdfeeders, pavilions, gardens, public art installations and more on your journey.

Activities and events for all ages and interests

Three people participating in stand up paddling

Before or after your sojourn on the trail, take your pick from a wide range of activities and events to enjoy right in the park. From La Ronde’s amusement park rides – a sure hit with the younger set – to the huge aquatic complex, the public beach, and stand-up paddleboard rentals and paddleboard yoga classes, and kayak and canoe rentals on offer, you’ll be sure to find something that strikes your fancy.

Parc Jean-Drapeau is also home to live music: during the spring, summer and fall, at Piknic Électronik, you can dance the evening away. Montreal’s renowned Osheaga music festival is also on site. Plus, there’s a country music festival, international fireworks competition, and more. In short, Parc Jean-Drapeau events are there for the taking!

In the winter, take your pick: ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, winter hiking and even ice climbing are available at the park!