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Detailed description (Ste-Helene and Notre-Dame Islands)

The Parc Jean-Drapeau (aka Parc des Îles or Les Iles or the islands) is made up of two islands in the St-Laurent river just south of the main island and old Montreal (there's a boat shuttle linking old Montreal and the islands). You can access the islands by metro (Jean-Drapeau metro station), by car (you can't go from one island to the other by car though, to go to Ile Ste-Hélène, take the Jacques-Cartier bridge, to go to Ile Notre-Dame and the Casino, take the Pierre-Dupuy ave. in what is called Cité-du-Havre from the Victoria bridge or highway 10 aka Bonaventure highway), by bicycle or rollerblade (either on Jacques-Cartier bridge if you are courageous or want to go directly to Ile Ste-Hélène, or better yet ride from the old port in old Montreal go west and follow the directions to the Cité-du-Havre - when in doubt go left - the de la Concorde bridge has a large bike and rollerblade path with a great view of downtown; the ride from old Montreal to Ile Notre-Dame is about 15-20 min.) or by foot (it's a long walk on Jacques-Cartier bridge and an even longer walk by the Cite-du-Havre). The islands are :

  • Ile Ste-Hélène is an island in the St-Laurent river, which is actually three islands that were merged : the Ile Ronde (round island to the east), where the La Ronde amusement park is now located, the Ile Ste-Hélène island itself and the Ile aux Fraises (strawberry island to the west). There are many activities you can do on this island : biking and hiking (there are nice trails in the woods going up to the tower - which is closed - be sure to walk by the small pond which is about a 5 min. stroll south of the old fort), the La Ronde amusement park for the family, the old fort and the Stewart Museum (military and history museum), the Biosphere's ecological museum, the Ste-Hélène pools (three large pools with a great looking chalet.. and there's not a lot of people using them), the Calder and other sculptures, there are picnic tables, etc.

  • Ile Notre-Dame is entirely human-made and was build for the 1967's World Exposition with the extra dirt and rocks that came from the excavation of the subway system and other large construction sites. There are three main attractions on the island, there are all concentrated around the Casino on the western tip, the rest of the island is pretty bare :
    • the Casino and its two pavillions, hundreds of slot machines, black jack tables, restaurants and the cabaret,
    • the Gilles-Villeneuve race track where you can bike or rollerblade (you can rent those if you didn't bring any with you) on the track or around the island.
    • The floralies, it was a large international outdoor flower exhibition that covered most of the island. It is much smaller now and the flowers are concentrated near the Casino. There are different gardens and plants and a small canal going through them, just take a stroll during the day or at night where they are all lighted up.

For more information on the islands, the Parc Jean-Drapeau has its own web site.

Metro station :
Jean-Drapeau (which was renamed from Ile Ste-Hélène station) on the yellow line, take the 167 bus west to go to the Casino and Ile Notre-Dame or east to La Ronde.

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Last update: 18/03/2021

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