My husband laughed when I said this park is like the West Island’s very own Central Park. But really, it’s great!
I can’t believe I didn’t even know about it until 3 years ago. It’s huge (48 hectares), there’s place to run, picnic, play, walk, bike, and there’s even a large (and popular) dog run. Some of the picnic tables near the playground have charcoal BBQs beside them, you can stroller/walk/jog/bike the 1.8km around the large lake, there’s a picturesque gazebo for photo shoots, and a big children’s park with both toddler and big-kid play structures.
The playground has ok equipment, with two large climbers, big and baby swings, an adaptive swing (on sand), and the Little Tikes Calvin the Caterpillar who looks like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Climb on him, go under him to see the life cycle of a butterfly, or count all his different shoes!
Just beside Calvin is the toddler climber from GameTime which has stairs, room to walk around, wall panel activities (including the interactive Math and Shapes panels), metal rungs and ladders, and slides.
The big, big, BIG climber is NOT toddler friendly and has some very high parts including the steep slide, and a hard to cross metal bridge. I despise this bridge because it’s slippery even when dry, and there are great ankle-twisting gaps. It’s hard for ME to get down and up safely, let alone little ones. Big kids can climb up the central ladder to a platform, which strangely has an interesting finger maze panel on the outside wall, where it’s impossible to reach unless you’re 10 feet tall. There are also metal ladders, monkey bars, a double slide and a tic-tac-toe wall.
While the playground is fenced, it is NOT gated and there is NO shade. At 8am the slides were already too hot to go down.
Just outside of the fencing is a large rope climber. Note that the tire swing pictured has been replaced by an adaptive swing.
Walk past the chalet (with bathrooms and water fountain!) and you’ll get to the lake. Of course your kids will be tempted to feed the ducks, but the “DON’T FEED THE DUCKS” sign is there for a reason. Read this sad article about why feeding them is dangerous to their health.
We spent a couple of hours here as we played, ran around, “awwwww”-ed at the baby ducks and watched the fish and turtles; then walked around the lake, played in the other small park on the south side (just off Rue Montevista), walked through the forest, watched the dogs in the dog run, and then played again.
The smaller playground on the opposite side of the lake has baby swings, and a play structure with stairs, slides, an animal tic-tac-toe panel, and some metal ladders. It’s like a little kids’ oasis after walking around the lake. There’s also a bench to have a snack.
We were there early in the morning and it was already crowded, with a lot of adult gym groups and bootcamps, dogs and their owners, and kids in the park. But it’s so big you can always find a quiet place to yourself.
I’m more a fan of the park as a whole than of the actual playground, and come here for the walk rather than to play.
The park is also host to tons of winter activities including the popular sledding hill, a skating oval, and the Expérience MaNeige introduction to snowboarding. And of course you can still go for a walk as the paths are quite accessible even with snow.
p.s. There’s a “take a book-lend a book” library in the park. We always keep books in the car in case we come across one of these cute “book houses”!
Things to note:
-There is a giant parking lot right on Lake.
-The trails are all very stroller-friendly. It is flat with hard-packed gravel.
-Bicycles are not allowed on the forest paths.
-There is NO shade on the large playground near the chalet.
-DDO requires permits for large groups or gatherings.