Referred to as Parc Jean-Drapeau in French, the Jean Drapeau Park is comprised of two islands in the St. Lawrence River in Montreal.
Montreal’s Jean Drapeau Park
Jean Drapeau Park is a large park in the middle of Montreal. The park is comprised of two islands found in the St. Lawrence River. Saint Helen’s Island, the larger island is where the majority of the park’s attractions can be found. Notre Dame Island is slightly smaller and man-made.
The two islands are connected by two bridges. Cosmos Bridge is the first bridge in the middle and Islands Bridge connects the southern points.
Saint Helen’s Island
Saint Helen’s Island was converted into a park in 1874 by the newly-formed Canadian government. Together, St. Helen’s Island and Notre Dame Island hosted Expo ’67 as well as the 1976 Summer Olympics.
The island is home to several popular tourist attractions. St. Helen’s Island is home to an amusement park, outdoor pool, outdoor concert amphitheatre and the unique Biosphère.
St. Helen’s Island is connected to the rest of Montreal via the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. It is also easily accessible via the Montreal Metro system.
La Ronde Amusement Park
Operating in the north corner of Saint Helen’s Island, La Ronde is a popular amusement park. It has a variety of Six Flags rides and food options.
For more details visit the official La Ronde website.
St. Helen’s Complexe aquatique
Saint Helen’s Island is also home to a large aquatic complex. The place has three pools for various aquatic activities. These include a large main pool for leisure swimming, a competition pool for athletic training and a diving pool with 1, 3, 5, 7.5, 10 and 22 metre boards.
Click St. Helen’s Aquatic Complex for more information.
Throughout the year St. Helen’s Island is home to a multitude of concerts and special events. Most take place at the island’s main outdoor amphitheatre. In total the amphitheatre can seat up to 65,000 people.
Popular large music events at St. Helen’s Island include Piknic Électronik, Île Soniq and Osheaga. The island also hosts smaller local artists throughout the year as well.
Opened in 1995, the Biosphère is a unique feature of St. Helen’s Island. Its unique architecture is noticeable from across the island. The building was designed by famous US architect Buckminster Fuller.
When the place is not closed due to COVID-19 the Biosphère operates a selection of exhibits all dedicated to exploring the impacts of climate change and other environmental issues.
Admission to the Biosphère varies depending on age. Admission rates as of January, 2022, are listed below:
- Adult – $16.50 for Quebec residents, $21.50 for everyone else
- Seniors (age 65+) – $15.50 for Quebec residents, $19.25 for everyone else
- Students (age 18+) – $12.75 for Quebec residents, $15.50 for everyone else
- Children (age 5 to 17) – $8.25 for Quebec residents, $10.75 for everyone else
For more information visit the Biosphère website.
Notre Dame Island
Notre Dame Island is the man-made island next to St. Helen’s Island. It was made from the fill created by the construction of the Montreal Metro system in the 1960s.
Similar to St. Helen’s Island, Notre Dame Island also has a lake in the middle of it. It is called Lac de l’Île Notre Dame. Folk can enjoy this lake from the beach at the southern end called Jean-Doré Beach.
Several Olympic facilities were constructed on Notre Dame Island. In the north end is the Olympic Basin which is a professional facility for rowing, canoeing and dragon boat racing. Close to the Basin is the Quartier des athlètes which is a training facility for athletes and regular folk alike.
There is also the Wall of Champions in the southern end of the island. While not an Olympic facility, it caters to fans of car racing. Several notable Formula 1 drivers have all crashed in the same spot on the course on the island. The course is called the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and it hosts the Canadian Grand Prix.
Notre Dame Island is also home to a beautiful collection of flowers, plants and public art. Floralies Gardens, or Jardins des Floralies, can be found on the west side of the island. The place is comprised of two sections: the Canada Garden and the États-unis Garden.
Admission to Floralies Gardens is free (although parking is not). Visitors are advised to use public transit or active transportation (such as bikes) to access the gardens.
Built on the former Expo ’67 site, the Montreal Casino is usually open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Due to COVID-19 however the place is temporarily closed as of January, 2022.
The Montreal Casino is home to 5 different dining options. Le Montréal, Pavilion 67 and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon are all fancy places found within the casino. There are also two buffet options, Ajia and L’Instant.
For more information visit the official Montreal Casino website.
For more details on the park and its attractions click Parc Jean-Drapeau.
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