Montrealers love autumn. As the days get a bit shorter and the air becomes crisp, there is a certain romanticism that infiltrates the city. Folks bring out their beautiful fall fashion items, the leaves provide a pleasant palette to the eyes and the markets burst with the harvest. It is rather delightful.
We encourage you to capture the spirit of the fall season. Here are 5 walks to get you outside to witness the beauty of autumn in Montreal.
Skyscrapers to Scenic Vistas
Downtown to Parc du Mont Royal
Start your adventure downtown, anywhere along Saint Catherine Street West, and escape the hustle n’ bustle by meandering north towards the mountain. A great option is to walk through the grounds of McGill, one of the world’s top Universities. Whatever route you decide to take, eventually you’ll want to wander to the intersection of des Pins and rue Peel. Here Parc Mont-Royal, Montreal’s largest green space, official begins. Walk directly up the path, or follow the meandering wide trail (also good for cycling). For a direct route to the Kondiaronk Belvedere, and the best views of downtown, take the stairs direct to the top! You’re going to have a delightful glow on your face from all the exercise, so capture your purdy face with the city skyline in the background. You’ve conquered the mountain!
An excellent interactive map of Mont Royal can be found with Les Amis de la Montagne.
Following the Flow
Atwater Market/Lachine Canal to Old Montreal
There is something splendid about a Montreal market in the autumn. Bursting with local specialties, such as apples, tartelettes and fine cheeses, your challenge at the Atwater Market will be prioritizing what you can carry with you! Fill your backpack with treats and head east along the Lachine Canal, towards the downtown core. It’s a leisurely 5 km walk, so give yourself a couple of hours. Stick with the canal, and you won’t get lost. Stop and dine on your epicurean delights from the market under one of the many maple trees or on a picnic table. Once you’ve reached Old Montreal, take a left on Rue Saint Sulpice and reward yourself with a cupcake from Les Glaceurs. If you get out of control in the cupcake boutique, you can cross the street and confess your sins at Montreal’s stunning Notre-Dame Basilica.
Atwater Market (138 Atwater Ave) is accessible via Lionel-Groulx Metro.
For the Epicurean Photographer
From Botanical Gardens to Foodie Adventures
The Botanical Gardens provide some of the most serene and scenic settings in all of Montreal. The autumnal colors will be a smorgasbord of visual fodder for the photographer, and the natural fragrances are equivalent to 4 hours at the spa. Make sure to see the First Nations Garden, as well as the exquisite bonsai in the Japanese Pavilion. Once your finished in the gardens, walk south along Pie-IX (pronounced pee-noof), to Marché Maisonneuve (4445 Ontario Street East). Grab a treat, such as Quebec honey, for the folks back home. If you’re a true foodie, with a flair for adventure, wander a block south to Restaurant Cabotins (4821 Rue Sainte Catherine East) – it’s a little slice of bohemia, but with a Quebecois twist! And you’ll get to practice your French!
The Montreal Botanical Gardens are accessible via Pie-IX Metro.
The Perfect Plateau Promenade
Parc Lafontaine along Duluth Ave to Parc Jeanne-Mance
Grab some sandwiches from a bakery or épicerie fine, and have a leisurely picnic beside the fountain in Parc Lafontaine. When you’re ready to wander, head west along the cobblestones of Duluth Avenue. Sneak into Les Chocolats de Chloé (546 Duluth East) for a chocolat chaud or a couple of handmade ganaches, such as cardamom, pistachio or passion fruit. Continue your stroll, with your compass pointing towards Mont Royal. Pop your head into the used record boutiques or quaint bookstores. Once at Parc Jeanne-Mance, wander towards the angel statue at the base of the mountain. Snap the inaugural angel/cross on mountain photo. Consider your Plateau Mont-Royal cherry officially popped.
Old Montreal to Ile Saint Hélène
Catch the river shuttle at the Jacques-Cartier Pier in Old Montreal. Debark and head north along Ave Einstein. As you stroll, you’ll have the perfect vantage point for some Montreal skyline photos, as well as the Montreal Olympic Stadium. Use the Biosphere as your pivot point, walking across the island keeping it always on your right. Cross over to Ile Notre-Dame at the bridge “Pass du Cosmos.” If you’re feeling sporty, do a lap around the Gille Villeneuve Circuit, home of the Montreal Grand Prix. Or just stick near the water, and cross back over to Ile Saint Hélène on Avenue Pierre Dupuy. Stay along the parameter of the island, eventually you’ll come across the stoic ‘Man’ sculpture, which is home to the weekly dance party, Piknic Électronik. Keep sauntering, and you’ll find yourself back to the shuttle station.
River Shuttle runs until October 11. After this date, take the Metro on the yellow line to Jean-Drapeau Station.