Parc de la Promenade-Bellerive

Readers of this blog will know I sometimes miss some things from the UK. In particular the public footpath network which traverses the country and the right to roam, both of which make it easy to explore both urban and rural areas on foot.

In particular I miss being near a “common”, having grown up near Totteridge Common on the edge of North London and with London itself having many commons of its own. I’ve always been on the lookout for something in Montreal which carries the same vibes, and I think I’ve found it in the riverside Bellerive Park.

Much of the access to the Saint Lawrence in Montreal is restricted. The land near to central Montreal has been given over to the Port of Montreal. Further up into the city’s east end, private waterside properties have exclusive access to the water.

This lack of access isn’t a unique phenomenon to Montreal โ€“ anyone walking the Thames Path in London over the last decade will have noticed once public land commandeered by gated communities โ€“ and so it goes in Montreal meaning much of the river is inaccessible.

But there are places to access the river if you know about them, and Bellerive Park is one of those. It stretches for over 2km along the river between the end of the Port of Montreal (not to be confused with the “Old Port”) and the beginning of the town of Montrรฉal-Est.

It’s also the closest thing I’ve found in Montreal to a city common, especially reminiscent to me of those in London I was waxing nostalgic about at the beginning of this post.

It’s quite large for a city park, it’s heath-like and it’s peaceful, especially at its eastern end. Critically, it has access to the river, much of which is easy to access. But explore a while and you’ll find some areas along the river which are quiet and slightly hidden away. I think even in busy times, it’s possible to find a quiet and secluded spot along the water.

The river along this section is peaceful and with good views east round the bend towards Repentigny. If you like boats, you’ll see a fair few and they’ll create gentle waves out towards the shore as they pass by. Across from the river is a small archipelago of islands forming the Boucherville Islands National Park.

And if you want to visit those islands visible from the bank, there are regular boats departing from the park’s pier, along with another service to the town of Boucherville itself on the South Shore.

Other facilities in the park include washrooms, somewhere to buy ice cream during the summer months and picnic areas. If you’re looking for something more substantial to eat than ice cream, it’s best to bring your own food as there’s not many places in the vicinity to get a meal.

Due to its proximity away from Downtown, this park whilst well known by locals doesn’t get the footfall it deserves. But don’t let that put you off visiting โ€“ you definitely should!

It’s transit accessible being within a 20 minute walk of Honorรฉ-Beaugrand station at the end of the Green Line. By bus, the 185 bus pulls right into the park, connecting places along Sherbrooke Street between there and Frontenac Metro station. Cycling is also perfectly feasible, with the park connected to Downtown along the Notre-Dame cycle path. And of course if you arrive by boat, you can bring your bicycle.

Enjoy this post? You may also like to read: