Maisonneuve Park, properly speaking, also includes the Montreal Botanical Garden, but the entities and purpose of the two are very different so they will be described separately.
Municipal golf course (9 holes)
|Maisonneuve Park is a rolling 63-hectare piece of green space in east-end Montreal. The simple greenery of the park is a welcome contrast to the intensively landscaped Botanical Garden and the concrete complexity of the Olympic park, both of which adjoin it.
Named after Montreal’s co-founder Paul Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve (1612-1676), the park was meant to be a tremendous asset to the eponymous town of Maisonneuve. A well-planned suburb, this town was chartered in 1883. The mayor of Maisonneuve wanted to grace his city with a grand boulevard leading to a major park and this piece of land was chosen and named in 1910, with Morgan Boulevard – still rather stately – in its wake. But the city of Maisonneuve became part of Montreal in 1918.
A part of the original Maisonneuve Park was set aside in 1936 to become the Botanical Garden. Plans to use the southern parts of the park for athletic purposes, floated before World War II, later materialized with the construction of Maurice Richard Arena and the Maisonneuve Sports Centre in the late 1950s. The sports concept went on to take massive form when then-Mayor Jean Drapeau successfully obtained the 1976 summer Olympics for Montreal.
Maisonneuve Park is essentially an open space with nicely groomed lawns and clumps of trees, crossed north-south by a major bike path and crossed here and there by footpaths. Part of the existing park was a golf course years ago, which encouraged a certain kind of landscaping, but golf has not been played here for years. The city's golf course is now over on the far side of Viau.
Close to Sherbrooke Street there is a chalet, and close to Rosemont, on the north end, some room is given to community garden plots. But mostly, you have room to walk, cycle or run, or simply veg out for a picnic.
Maisonneuve Park is traditionally the site of the Grand Spectacle, a major celebratory concert and popular gathering on Quebec's Fête Nationale, June 24.
In wintertime the park is used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and there are skating rinks.
To get to Maisonneuve Park it’s probably simplest to go to Viau metro and walk up the hill. The 185 bus gets you closest: it starts out at Frontenac metro and runs eastward. The park is also on the bike path that runs along Rachel Street. To drive there, go east on Sherbrooke and when you’re next to the giant sloping mast, there you are: there are pay parking lots attached to the park.
There are no shops and not many services in or close by the park, but east of Viau there are some restaurants and strip malls – including the city's one remaining tiki bar.
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