With the snow melted away and the flowers beginning to bloom, spring is the perfect time for Montréal newcomers to explore the amazing leisure activities the city has to offer. Montréal may have a reputation for being a playground for winter sports and activities, but in spring we love to trade our heavy winter coats and boots for t-shirts and sunglasses. Here’s a list of five fabulous spring activities to enjoy in and around Montréal.
1. Visit a Sugar Shack
Québec is the sugar shack (aka: la cabane à sucre) capital of the world! At these special attractions, sap from maple trees is transformed into delicious maple syrup and candies, and families and friends gather at long communal tables in cabins to enjoy huge brunches slathered with sugary syrup. It’s an invitation to go ahead and indulge in celebration of spring. There are dozens nestled into the forests of the province, and many are located close to Montréal. So go ahead and plan a trip to La Cabane chez Jean, Cabane À Sucre Au Pied De Cochon, Cabane À Sucre Constantin, Érablière Charbonneau, or one of the many other local sugar shacks. You and your sweet tooth won’t be disappointed!
2. Picnic in the Park
Montréal is known for its amazing city parks, which in the spring serve as gathering places for thousands of locals who want to soak up the sun for a leisurely afternoon, play a game of football, and enjoy picnics. Montréal has 17 large parks scattered throughout its neighbourhood, as well as dozens of smaller parks. The huge Mont Royal Park is a favourite for light hiking. Parc Jean-Drapeau, located on its own island, boasts a beach, an amusement park, the city’s biggest outdoor music venue and so much more. Other popular destinations include La Fontaine Park in Plateau, Agrignon Park in Le Sud-Ouest, and Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park, a regional park on the West Island. Pack your favourite picnic delicacies (and even a nice bottle of wine) and find a park near you.
3. Watch Butterflies Go Free
Nothing says spring like the release of beautiful butterflies, ready to take flight. From mid-February to the end of April at the Botanical Gardens witness thousands of butterflies breaking out of their chrysalises and spreading their wings. Each day, between 100 and 200 newly-hatched butterflies emerge. In total, there are up to 2,000 butterflies from 75 different species from around the world in the greenhouse at once. This all-day event is perfect for children, families or even a date!
4. Shop at a Public Market
Montréal’s favourite public farmer’s markets, including Atwater Market and Jean Talon Market, may be open all year around, but they truly come to life in the spring when hundreds of locals flock to them. What better time of year than the first beautiful, warm days of the season to tantalize your senses with rich flavours and sweet aromas. Explore the many local vendors that sell cut flowers, fresh produce, fish and meats, and locally-made craft items and baked goods. There are often live music performers and children’s activities to enjoy. Montrealers flock to these lively destinations, which serve as both a shopping trip and a social event, and you should too!
5. Hop on a Bixi
When the weather gets warm, exploring Montréal’s beautiful landscape of canals, streets and parks is the perfect way to connect with your new home town while getting a workout too. If you don’t own your own bicycle, don’t fret. Montréal’s Bixi system allows you to easily hop on and off a public bike. Bixi docking stations hold plenty of bikes and are conveniently located about every 500 meters in Downtown Montréal. For just $5 per day you are free to pick up a bike with an electronic key or code, ride it, and then drop it off at your next destination. By using Bixis, you won’t have to worry about theft or rain, and they accommodate anyone going anywhere in the city. Enjoy!