We are planning a trip to Canada and while exploring the country’s great outdoors is top of the Wandering Kiwi family’s list, we will have Wandering Kiwi Jr in tow so part of my research is about child-friendly attractions.
Historic Montreal is my preferred city to visit in Canada, being a romantic, colonial culture spot rather than just another North American city. As well as soaking up the atmosphere in 18th-century Vieux-Montréal, I’d like to take her to the following top five things to do in Montreal with kids:
The Montreal Biodôme
This is a very special nature park, where four contrasting ecosystems have been recreated in what was once the Olympic velodrome. You can wander through a tropical rainforest, a polar environment, the marine environment of the St Lawrence River and a typical Laurentian forest. These ecosystems are populated by wildlife from monkeys to capybaras and penguins. The Naturalia game room also looks fun for kids. The Montreal Biodome is in Parc Maisonneuve (Viau metro station). Another attraction for environmentally-conscious kids is the Biosphere environment museum, which has amazing interactive exhibits around the environmental theme.
La Ronde Amusement Park
This amusement park in Montreal La Ronde looks amazing. There are so many rides to choose from, from thrill rides to family rides and even smooth rides for toddlers. There is also a whole range of entertaining shows and a good selection of food outlets. There’s even a shopping mall. Make sure you time your visit to see the l’International des Feux d’Artifice fireworks event, held twice a week in summer. Teams from different countries compete to put on the best fireworks display. La Ronde Amusement Park is on Ile Saint-Helene (Jean-Drapeau metro station).
The Jean-Talon Market
It’s important for kids to have an idea of where their food comes from and by that I don’t mean plastic-wrapped from a supermarket refrigerator. We always enjoy wandering through markets when we travel and children always find all sorts of fascinating things to observe and it is a great way to mingle with the locals. At the Jean Talon Market in Montreal, there are loads of tasty treats to eat as well. From piles of fresh produce to handmade chocolates and Quebecois cheeses, you won’t go away hungry. The Jean Talon Market is near Boulevard Saint Laurent (De Castelnau metro station).
The family-friendly Jazz Festival
I am very keen to visit Montreal while the famous Jazz Festival is taking place and it seems this world renowned music event is very family friendly. There is a music-themed play area and a series of performances designed for kids (and by kids) at the Petite Ecole du Jazz. The city streets come alive with music in June and July and I can’t think of anything more inspiring to enjoy while staying at a Montreal hotel! Also in July is the Montreal Complèment Cirque, an incredible circus festival featuring artists from around the world. And there is the music and dance festival especially for children: La Fête des Enfants de Montréal in August.
Take a horse-drawn carriage ride
Exploring a city can be hard work for little legs so we usually try to do a city tour with a difference, such as by horse-drawn carriage. A ride through cobblestoned Old Montreal on a calèche is a romantic way to soak up this historic city. You can catch a ride from Place Jacques Cartier, Place d’Armes or de la Commune Street.
Can’t wait to visit Montreal!
By Natasha von Geldern