As winter draws to a close and ushers in the first teases of warmer weather, it is the perfect time to emerge from hibernation and experience all that Montreal has to offer. During the colder months, it is easy for the once-vibrant city to feel stagnant––icy sidewalks, leafless trees, and gloomy days can cause anyone to slip into a seasonal funk. The McGill Tribune has compiled a list of things to do around Montreal that will help you rediscover your love for the city.
Take an architectural tour of your favourite neighbourhood
Montreal is renowned for its street murals, but if you’re sick of touring the same art every other week, try going to a new neighbourhood to experience its unique architecture. Take a stroll through Outremont and look at the old houses, or walk up Côte St. Catherine at sunset to see a side of the skyline that is markedly different from the typical lookout spot on the mountain. As spring begins and the sun shines for longer, exploring these neighbourhoods is a nice way to take a break from the McGill bubble.
Browse an independent bookstore
Montreal has an amazing assortment of independently owned bookstores, particularly in the Mile-End and Plateau neighbourhoods. Some of the more popular stores include The Word on Rue Milton and S.W. Welch on Rue St. Viateur, but a walk down streets like Mont Royal or Duluth will lead passersby past numerous bookstores with specialties varying from children’s books to graphic novels. Even if you are not looking to buy anything, there is something very relaxing about browsing a bookshop. In the age of Amazon and one-click online shopping, flipping through books can bring a nice sense of nostalgia.
People-watch in a neighbourhood park
Picnic season is almost upon us. Take yourself––and maybe someone in your bubble––to relax in a park while people-watching. Montreal has an abundance of parks, and Montrealers love to use them for picnicking and recreation. Some lesser-known ones are Parc Outremont and Parc Palomino-Brind’Amour, but a quick stroll in any direction will surely lead to a hidden gem. As the weather warms up, everyone will soon flock to parks, making them great people-watching spots––you may even spot some cute dogs. Take advantage of Montreal’s picnic law and bring a bottle of wine to make it a classy affair.
Explore an open air market
Jean-Talon and Atwater markets are two of Montreal’s most visited sites. Not only are they great places to buy fresh produce, but they also provide a great opportunity to spend time outside. At the end of April, they become open-air markets with vendors selling pastries, produce, and artisanal products like teas and maple syrup. The energy at these spots is infectious, and will help with overcoming the winter blues and kicking off a summer spent outdoors.
Take a bike ride along La Petite Voie du Fleuve
La Petite Voie du Fleuve is a 30-kilometre bike path starting in Parc Jean Drapeau and winding along the St Lawrence River. The path is well maintained, and can be reached by cutting through Nun’s Island and crossing the Champlain Bridge. BIXI bikes will be available soon enough, and there are stations situated toward the beginning of the path so riders can easily switch them out when their time expires. Leaving the island once in a while can be cathartic, and this path offers a great view of the city as well as the majestic river Montreal is situated on.