|Parc René-Lévesque, named after the premier of Quebec from 1976-1985, was built on a peninsula that extends from the western end of the Lachine Canal out into the broad Lac St. Louis, in Lachine.
Old bollards can be seen embedded into the long jetty at the far end of the park, indicating that ships were once tied up here when the canal was in heavy use as a navigated waterway. Now there is a marina with private pleasure boats nearby but large ships no longer use the canal to approach Montreal's industrial area as they once did.
The park is only 14 hectares in size but its exposure to the river and the wind sweeping across the broadest part of the St. Lawrence River give it an exceptional atmosphere and sense of space and light. Using this remarkable setting, the park has been made home to a number of monumental sculptures, an open-air museum.
Many apple, cherry and crabapple trees are planted in the park and flower from mid to late May, creating an impression of freshness and life that's definitely worth a visit around that time.
Ducks and herons can be observed in the surrounding waters, and the cry of the red-winged blackbird is often heard from the trees.
There are 4 km of trails used for walking in summer, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter, and cyclists can also use the park.
Although it's some distance from downtown, the 90 bus from Vendome, the 110 from Angrignon or the 191 from Lionel-Groulx will take you pretty close to the park. It also makes an interesting destination for a bike ride along the Lachine Canal.
The Lachine Museum is located near the entrance to the park, in the 17th-century Maison LeBer-LeMoyne, with a permanent exhibit of objects from French colonial times, with particular emphasis on the fur trade that was central to the local economy at that time.
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