UPDATE JULY 2017: The Little Builders is now CLOSED, because the property is being turned into…you guessed it! Condos!
Follow their Facebook page for any updates on if they’ll reopen.
The beach is OPEN!
When telling my husband how we were going to frolic and run around in the sand, I said “after a winter of wearing snowsuits and hardly being able to move outside, doesn’t that sound heavenly??”
To which he gave me…a look, and replied “Sand is a weird idea of heaven.”
I disagree! We play outside all winter, we even bring snow shovels to dig out playgrounds, but constantly being wary of ice and trying to keep mittens on little hands gets pretty old. And cold.
So when I first heard about the Montreal Beach Association and their “Little Builders” playtime, I couldn’t help but be intrigued, and then really, really excited. We can play in the sand, in February, without going down south? Yes!
The boys? They were confused.
My 3-year old was worried when I said we were “going to the beach!”
“But…..my tummy will be vewy, vewy cold!”
“No, it’s a beach. Inside. But no water. You know what? Don’t worry about it, it’s going to be fun!”
*still looking worried* “Oh. Ok.”
Primarily a beach volleyball centre, the Montreal Beach Association also hosts Sand Soccer and Beach Frisbee, birthday parties and corporate events, and there’s even a cozy licensed pub right upstairs for after game drinks and snacks.
Little Builders is open all of spring break from 10-12, and regularly on Sundays from 10-12. Or if you have a group of kids who’d like to play, call them to see about coming during the week.
Kids (and their parents!) can run, play, build, and have loads of fun in a safe and snow-free 14,000sf sandbox! The cost is $6 per child (cash) and free for parents. There’s really no age range and is well suited to toddlers who enjoy playing in the sand, as well as older kids who want to run around and play soccer.
We arrived on the Wednesday of spring break, and it took us less than 20 minutes to drive from the West Island to Griffintown. Circling around a few times, I finally stopped on Rue du Square Gallery and found parking right on the street. (Bonus, no meters! But check the signs carefully)
While the official address is 1306 Rue Olier, the main door is around the building, just in front of the Lachine Canal.
We left our giant coats, socks and shoes in the spacious upstairs, changed into t-shirts and shorts (it’s warm inside), and both boys immediately dove into the sand. And they were so serious about it! The usually chatty little one didn’t say a word for the first 20 minutes as he explored all the sand toys, kicked around the balls, played with the dump trucks and ran around. His older brother immediately gravitated to the giant yoga ball and bounced/rolled/and leaped over it. Everyone is free to play in the entire sand area (just don’t pull on the nets) and it was such a release for the kids to be able to run around barefoot. And I didn’t have to worry about them slipping or landing on pavement!
They would run around a bit, come back and build a castle, run around some more, have a water break, run around, snack break…….And I got to sit and sink my toes into the soft sand while they bounced around. And yes, I made some sand castles 🙂
RIGHT beside the play area are picnic tables where you can eat and drink, but no food or drinks in the sand! You’re welcome to bring your own food and there are also snacks (chips, cookies, granola bars), hot dogs, hamburgers and waffles (amazing) available for sale in the pub. Parents can also enjoy coffee and lattes, or you know, a beer! This is also a great spot for a unique birthday party and you can bring in your own decorations, food and refreshments, and parents can watch from the downstairs party area or upstairs where there are more tables and chairs. The centre is open to all sorts of birthday party ideas like bouncy castles, water balloons, beach soccer, a treasure hunt in the sand (!), so give them a call or check out their party packages HERE.
After a couple of hours of playing both boys were starving (as usual) so we sat in the pub and had hot dogs with a coffee for me. The wind and snow were howling around outside, and though none of us wanted to leave, naptime was on the horizon for the small one. (He’s currently passed out in bed, signs of an active morning!)
I was happy that the whole experience lived up to my expectations and both boys LOVED it. This will definitely become a go-to winter outing for us when we want to pretend we’re on vacation and/or everyone’s feeling stir crazy!
Side note: I should have shaken the sand out of my rolled up jeans before I got into my house. Doh.
Disclosure: While StrollerParking was invited to visit and play, I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own and based on my experience. And I’m an honest person, I’d tell you if I didn’t like it!