Making summer last in Montréal

August 31, 2020

The new school year might be just around the corner, but summer isn’t quite over yet! You can still make the most of the warm weather before discovering all the fun winter activities Montréal has to offer – while maintaining safe social distancing. With the current pandemic, some activities have obviously had to adapt, but it’s still perfectly possible to safely enjoy the outdoors. Here are some ideas! Be sure to do your research beforehand, as additional changes or other special measures may have been implemented.

Enjoying brunch on a terrace

I discovered brunch – the “real,” sweet and salty, 11 a.m. brunch – right here in Montréal. In my experience, pancakes, sunny side up eggs and home-fried potatoes taste even better when you can enjoy them on an outdoor terrace! You can actually take advantage of the outdoors in Montréal any time of year, as long as you’re properly equipped. But there’s something special about taking a break to enjoy a great meal with friends – or even just yourself – on a nice sunny terrace… it just doesn’t get any better. My boyfriend and I really like going to l’Oeufrier because we get a lot for our money, but you should get out there and try other brunch spots in Montréal as well, there are so many of them. We are planning on trying Les Affamés, Dame Tartines and Fabergé next. We hope to see you there, taking advantage of these last warn sunny days!

Biking around town on a BIXI

Cycling in Montréal during the summer is incredibly popular, and thanks to BIXI, you don’t even need to own a bike anymore. I unfortunately can’t bike to work, but I do enjoy being able to bike around the city in my spare time. Since I usually take the metro a lot, biking around town has been a great way for me to discover the city’s amazing architecture, including some fantastic murals that I didn’t even know existed. As Claire pointed out in her recent article on Montréal and photography, this city is full of surprises! There are so many beautiful sights to see when you take the time to truly experience the city. So hop on a BIXI, enjoy the late summer weather, and discover some fascinating new places around town!

Enjoying rooftop views

Although the pandemic has slowed down the city’s nightlife, you can still enjoy a drink while taking in Montréal’s amazing cityscape. The Hôtel Nelligan and the William Gray hotel both offer fun rooftop terraces where you can wine, dine, and take in some breathtaking panoramic views. And if you’re not a fan of heights, many restaurants and bars offer beautiful ground-level terraces where you can enjoy the last few weeks of warm summer weather without having hide out under a patio heater. I particularly enjoy the Randolph terrace; it’s a little on the small side and doesn’t offer much of a view, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in fun by offering a ton of board games that you can play while having a drink! It’s a great way to make summer in Montréal last a little longer…

Playing an outdoor escape game

Like many major cities, Montréal offers a lot of indoor games like bowling, scavenger hunts, escape rooms, laser tag, and many more. Indoor activities like these can be enjoyed any time of year, but Montréal has cleverly brought the traditional escape room outdoors with Amaze: The Secret of the Lachine Canal. While searching for John Redpath’s hidden treasure, you can discover this vibrant Montréal neighbourhood in total safety.

Enjoying the city’s parks for picnics, outdoor classes and comedy shows

Montréal is fortunate to be home to many parks, and late summer is a great time of year to enjoy outdoor activities without having to worry about bundling up. From yoga to martial arts, comedy shows, picnics, or even just a good book or a deck of cards: there are so many ways to take advantage of Montréal’s local parks. You can also enjoy outdoor movies, dancing, or even try your hand at a game of pétanque! Just sitting in a park and watching the squirrels on a warm sunny day is something I personally never get tired of. In a nutshell, parks are a great place to hang out and have fun in a uniquely Montréal way.

Taking in the local exhibits

Since I wasn’t able to go on vacation this year, exploring the city’s museums allowed me to get away from everything for a bit while learning some fascinating new things, especially about Montréal. I particularly enjoyed visiting the McCord museum, conveniently located downtown. Through its various exhibits, I learned about Griffintown’s architecture through the eyes of photographer Robert Walker, experienced the artistry of Montréal fashion designer Jean-Claude Poitras, discovered cartoonist Serge Chapleau, and brushed up on my history with the permanent exhibit on Canada’s First Nations. The Pointe-à-Callière Museum is also very interesting as it explores the history and archaeology of Montréal and beyond.

Enjoying the great outdoors

The end of summer is also one of the best times of year to explore Quebec’s nature parks with their beautiful late summer colours and mild weather. They’re a great way to enjoy a refreshing change of scenery without having to venture too far from the city. Quebec is truly massive, so you really have to plan your trips accordingly. However, there are many nature parks that are close enough to Montréal to visit in a single day. If you have access to a car, I suggest that you visit the Parc Oméga or Mont-Tremblant, which are both classics. My great outdoors bucket list also includes strolling through an orchard, visiting quaint towns like Old Beloeil and Val-David, and spending a day at the Morgan Arboretum.

Planning your fall activities

Quebec is home to a unique weather phenomenon: Indian Summer. After the first cold snap in the fall, it suddenly feels like summer all over again for a few blissful days in October. These warmer, sunnier days make it easier to gradually transition into the fall. Quebec is a province that changes remarkably with the seasons, and the activities it has to offer change along with them. Fall is traditionally a time for going apple picking, making homemade jams and preserves, and channelling your inner chef with classic comfort food recipes like mac & cheese and pumpkin pie. While on your way to one of Quebec’s many orchards to pick your own apples, I highly recommend that you follow the culinary trails to experience the incredible craftsmanship of our local producers. With its local wines, beers, cheeses, cranberry products, maple syrup… Quebec has so many mouth‑watering flavours just waiting to be experienced!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.