Urban living vs. nature

A replenishing duality

Walk in the forest, picnic on the beach, fish, go rafting or windsurfing, ride a personal watercraft, go biking in the woods or take a dip in the river. Then, pack up all your gear and head into the city to catch a show at the Jazz Festival in the heart of the city, 10 minutes later.

This is the essence of Montreal. It’s being able to experience the peace and beauty of a natural, almost wild, environment, a mere stone’s throw from the city’s hubbub, skyscrapers, asphalt, shops and frenzy of screaming festival fans.

It’s two opposing worlds coexisting in perfect harmony. And it’s this replenishing duality that makes Montreal so special.

When we think of nature in Montreal, the first thing that invariably comes to mind is Mount Royal, the mountain that sits smack in the middle of the metropolis. But this city also boasts the St. Lawrence River and other watercourses, a dozen bodies of water, 137 km of public shoreline, 4 urban beaches, 94 kayak launching sites, 119 km of bike paths and 144 parks, including 19 major green spaces that make you feel like you’ve driven miles out of the city into the countryside.

Its eight nature parks, for example, total some 1,686 ha and offer a wide variety of activities in every season. In addition to aquatic sports, nautical activities and hiking, which are common to almost all of them, some parks invite visitors to enjoy astronomy related activities, to visit a farm or to observe birds and other animals.

And they can all be found within minutes of downtown, right in Montreal’s backyard