Out on the Town, Student Life

Good places, good food, good vibes: A love letter to picnicking in Montreal

Vibrant with culture and entertainment, Montreal is the perfect city to spend our precious school-free months. While this summer’s weather has left us wanting more, those occasional warm, sunny days mean one thing: It’s time for a day in the park. Luckily for us, despite the forthcoming Fall semester, the Montreal picnic scene offers more than our hearts desire.

Montreal, your picnic scenes are a gift. 

On a hot summer day, when the sun shines in all its might, the last thing many of us want to do is haul a tote bag, packed to the brim with snacks and bottles, around the busy streets of Montreal. So, keep it close! Parks such as Jeanne-Mance and La Fontaine are favourites among McGillians because of their proximity to campus. And they are classics for a reason: They offer shaded sitting areas as well as soccer, volleyball, and tennis courts, and the latter’s lake (with the ducks that inhabit it) is a pleasure to sit around. 

But sometimes, you want to get away from the McGill bubble. Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier and Jarry are parks but a metro ride away from campus. To really soak in the sun, try getting there by bike—the St-Denis REV provides a direct path with a lively ambiance, making up for the uphill trek. The outdoor pools at Laurier and Jarry will perfectly complement your picnic with a quick dip.

For a more spontaneous picnic, start by exploring some of the neighbourhoods you might be less familiar with, such as Little Italy, Park-Extension, and Rosemont. Walk or bike around until you come across a local restaurant, where you’ll hopefully try the best meal of your life.  Place an order for takeout, find a spot in the shade at a nearby plaza or park, crack open a cold drink of your choice, and your day is made.

Montreal, you’re a delight to explore.

Montreal’s many parks offer a great picnic setting, but the way you get there can be just as fun. There’s nothing more joyful than feeling the breeze through your hair as you make your way to your favourite destination. If you don’t have a bike, hop on a BIXI—and if you’re worried about breaking a sweat, the electric bikes are a worthwhile upgrade. For something a little further out, bike along the canal to reach René-Lévesque Park, where the picturesque picnic spots along the water will make you feel like you’re in a movie. Also accessible by bike is Jean-Drapeau Park, an urban park rivalling Mount-Royal. Taking the Route Verte might be a bit longer, but the views of the St-Lawrence and Montreal skyline will make it worth it.

Montreal, sharing a summer picnic with you makes my day.

Whether you’re alone or with company, picnicking in Montreal is a great go-to activity in the summer. If you want to spend some quiet time by yourself, grabbing a book or plugging into a podcast and laying down for a while, surrounded by others who share the same good vibes as you, picnicking can be very special. You’ll beat the boredom of lazy summer days. Enjoy your charcuterie board and cool seltzers while the weather is still warm and pleasant and the squirrels and geese still audaciously walk up to you as you open up your snacks. Spend your Montreal summer days as you wish, but make sure you take advantage of our city’s beautiful outdoor spaces—you’ll miss them in a few months.

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