Chartier-De Lotbinière Park & L’Escapade

Wow. After having two lovely people recommend we visit this park, we finally set out on a gloomy overcast morning with THREE kiddos, sand toys, towels, change of clothes, snacks, water, and more snacks. And it turned out to be one of our favourite parks of the summer! It’s another one of those places where I go “How come I never knew about this??!”
We actually stayed so long we were *gulp* 2.5 hours late getting home for the little one’s nap. Oh well!

About a 25-30 minute drive from the West Island (with a Tim Horton’s stop along the way), we easily found the playground and parking lot at the end of Rue Pagé. Right at the entrance to the playground are two of those super cute lending libraries, with one for kids and one for adults. Both of the big boys picked a novel and were puzzled/surprised/pleased to learn that they were free! Since we’ve been seeing these boxes more and more I think I’ll leave some of our outgrown books in the car so we can share with others.

Ditching our sand toys as everything is on wood chips, we proceeded to test out the big spinning saucer, the metal balance beam, and all the different climbers and toys. There’s something here for everyone: A toddler climber (though not the best), a larger climber, a cheery yellow swinging bench, a ladder/rope climber, a skate park, baseball, soccer, beach volleyball, tennis, a splash pad, a million picnic tables and benches, AND an elaborate adult outdoor gym. WHEW!

But back to the playground:
The toddler climber from GameTime is ok. It has stairs, a crawl tunnel to climb through, stepping stones, one of those steep metal moving bridges that I hate (too steep, too open, and gaps that are too wide for little feet), in-the-air steps/Challenge Canyon Climber, slides and metal ladders. Older toddlers should be fine, but for the smallest guys it’ll be tough. 

The larger climber (also from GameTime) has the triple BigFoot Slide and metal ladders, but really no super easy way to get up. Just beside is another set of climbing equipment with a hard to reach zipline thing, and all sorts of metal-rung ladders. There are also big-kid swings here (as well as on the other side of the playground with the baby swings), and there’s a freestanding double-sided rock climbing wall that looked daunting to me but which the 6 & 7 year old scaled in about 3 seconds. Oh to be flexible again!
NEW in 2016 is a parent/baby swing (balançoire parent-enfant). LOVE these! If you haven’t tried one before you’ve got to check it out. You can find other parks with similar swings by clicking the “parent/baby swing” tag in the sidebar. You can see images of the swing HERE

We checked out the pretty awesome (adult) outdoor gym that is right beside the parking lot, and then the boys pretended they had skateboards and ran around and up and down the skate ramps. 

Feeling hot by then, they checked out the splash pad. To turn on the water touch the top of the post and then the sequence will start. There’s a neat “tree” umbrella that you can stand under, jets coming high out of the ground, sprays to aim, and mist to run through. While most of the playground is in sun, the splash pad and the surrounding picnic tables have some nice shade. 

After changing in the chalet on the hill (with bathrooms, diaper changing tables, and drinking fountain), we walked to the back of it and…surprise! There’s the entrance to L’Escapade: Les Sentiers du Mont Rigaud. BEAUTIFUL. We took a map from underneath the sign and ended up walking two kilometres up and back. The trail is NOT stroller friendly as it’s rocky and bumpy. And nope, not even your BOB stroller will get over this! But the 2.5 year old was fine, though we had to hold hands over some of the roughest terrain so he didn’t faceplant (again). We walked through fields, over bridges, through woods, saw some people ziplining at the nearby Arbraska, and read the information signs along the way. We hardly even made a dent as there are 27 kilometres of trails. 
I can’t wait to come back (next time with more than flip flops!), and play at the park again, and do a bigger hike. And though we’ve been meaning to for years, this October I reallllllly want to come back for the Festival des Couleurs

And added bonus: The sun came out and was shining!

1 Comment

  • andrea says:

    another great find…we really enjoyed it. thanks – we never would have found this place without you! definitely going back in the fall for the beautiful walking trails.

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