February 13, 2011 – Hochelega-Maisonneuve (HoMa) can be summed up in two words: green and active! This dynamic area is resplendent with green spaces and outstanding entertainment possibilities: you can plan your day to be as busy or as relaxing as you like!
Why not start your itinerary à deux at the Olympic Park, the site of the ’76 Olympics? Drink in a spectacular view of the city from the Montréal Tower, the tallest inclined tower in the world. Then, sashay over to play with some monkeys and penguins in the adjacent Biodôme, home to five of the most beautiful ecosystems in the Americas: Tropical Forest, Laurentian Forest, St. Lawrence Marine ecosystem, Arctic and Antarctica. While it may be heralded as a family favourite, the Biodôme makes for a most unique date!
Or, if you prefer, the nearby Insectarium offers its own special creepy-crawly experience with thousands of extraordinary specimens from around the world. You might even get to taste a few!
Then it’s down to the Marché Maisonneuve on Ontario Street East to pick up delicious eats for a quixotic picnic in the magnificent Parc Maisonneuve, or stroll along the Promenade Ontario, admiring the beaux arts-style buildings as you go, to find a quaint bistro.
From dining al fresco in Parc Maisonneuve, it is but a hop, skip and a jump to the neighbouring Montréal Botanical Garden, one of the largest and most spectacular the world over. No matter the season, the garden is alive with activity: The Butterflies Go Free exhibition in the main greenhouse is featured from February to April, Sugaring-off Time in the Arboretum makes for a sweet start to spring, and the Gardens of Light give a colourful glow to the chilly autumn nights. Of course there is always something blooming in the 10 greenhouses, whereas the 30 thematic gardens provide a fragrant backdrop for a most romantic escape.
There is also the Musée du Château Dufresne on Sherbrooke Street East (corner Pie-IX) for a jaunt into Montréal’s East Side history. Housed in an elegant beaux arts-style mansion, the building boasts an interior décor painted by artist Guido Nincheri and is testament to the tastes of the roaring twenties’ bourgeoisie.
Or, you can simply meander throughout the neighbourhood, arm in arm, taking in the local history and vibe.