Summer Sports at Montreal's Lachine Canal (cycling, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking and boat tours)

The Lachine Canal is a historic canal located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was originally built in the 19th century to bypass the Lachine Rapids on the Saint Lawrence River, providing a navigable route for ships traveling between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Today, the Lachine Canal is a popular recreational area offering a variety of activities for locals and visitors alike. Here are some things you can do at the Lachine Canal:


  1. Cycling: The Lachine Canal has a scenic bike path that runs alongside it, offering a picturesque route for cyclists of all levels. You can rent a bike or bring your own and enjoy a leisurely ride along the canal, taking in views of the water, historic buildings, and green spaces.

  2. Walking and Jogging: The canal also has pedestrian paths that are perfect for walking, jogging, or simply strolling at a relaxed pace. You can enjoy the tranquility of the water and surrounding nature while getting some exercise. It's like bringing the nature to you, at a few minutes of the Montreal's downtown.

  3. Picnicking: Picnics are allowed everywhere in Montreal, and there are numerous parks and green spaces throughout the city where you can enjoy a picnic. There are several parks and picnic areas along the Lachine Canal where you can relax and enjoy a meal outdoors. Bring a picnic blanket and some food, and spend a leisurely afternoon by the water with friends or family. Just be sure to respect any posted rules or regulations regarding picnicking, such as cleaning up after yourself and disposing of trash properly. Additionally, you may want to consider bringing a blanket or picnic mat to sit on, as well as sunscreen and insect repellent, depending on the season.

  4. Boat Tours: In the warmer months, you can take a boat tour along the Lachine Canal to learn about its history and see the sights from the water. These tours often provide insights into the canal's role in Montreal's industrial past and its transformation into a recreational space. Montreal offers several boat tours that provide unique perspectives of the city's landscapes, architecture, and waterways. Before planning your boat tour, be sure to check the availability, schedules, and any specific requirements or restrictions, especially regarding reservations and seasonal variations in tour offerings. Additionally, consider factors such as weather conditions and personal preferences when selecting the most suitable boat tour for your interests and itinerary.

  5. Kayaking and Canoeing: The canal is also popular for kayaking and canoeing, offering a unique perspective on the city and its surroundings. You can rent equipment or join a guided tour to explore the canal's calm waters at your own pace. Before embarking on a kayaking or canoeing adventure in Montreal, it's important to check local regulations, water conditions, and safety guidelines. Additionally, consider renting equipment from reputable outfitters and wearing appropriate gear, such as life jackets, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

  6. Birdwatching: The Lachine Canal and its surrounding green spaces are home to a variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for ducks, geese, herons, and other birds as you explore the area. While not extremely rare, Peregrine Falcons can be spotted in Montreal, particularly in urban areas where they nest on high-rise buildings. The majestic owl and snowy owls are rare visitors to Montreal, typically seen during irruption years when food shortages in its typical habitat push it southward.  Observing these rare birds in Montreal requires luck, timing, and sometimes specific habitat conditions. Birdwatchers should keep an eye on local birding reports and be prepared to venture to appropriate habitats when rare sightings are reported. Additionally, joining local birdwatching groups or networks can increase the chances of hearing about and potentially seeing these rare avian visitors.


Overall, the Lachine Canal offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. Whether you're into cycling, walking, boating, or simply enjoying nature, the canal has something for everyone to enjoy. Overall, the Lachine Canal offers a blend of history, nature, recreation, and culture, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Montreal. Whether you're strolling along its banks, paddling on its waters, or simply admiring its beauty, the canal offers splendors that captivate visitors year-round.