Recently renovated, the all new Parc Francis-Xavier-Fontaine is the Roussillon Region’s first universally-accessible park, and is a beautiful community space where children of all ages and abilities (and their families!) can play together.
The park is named in memory of Francis Xavier-Fontaine, a 12-year-old boy from Sainte-Catherine who lost his life on July 5, 2000, after jumping into the waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway to save a drowning friend. Francis-Xavier was posthumously awarded the Governor General’s Medal of Bravery in honour of this courageous gesture, and the park is a fitting tribute to an incredibly brave child. We were honoured to be able to play here. ♥
Visiting on a sunny September morning, my boys LEAPT from the car, and immediately climbed the ropes and tall poles of the mini parkour area, delighting in the height. I wandered around taking pictures of the amazing GameTime wheelchair-accessible play structure, touching all the bells, turning the dials, and climbing up to the tall slide. I loved that there is so much to DO here with a rocking glider that’ll fit a ton of kids and provides great vestibular stimulation, tons of sensory panels along the ramps, different ways to climb on and off, small and big slides, braille and sign language panels.
My kids loved it also and puttered around touching this and that, had me rock them in the “boat”, and then ran off to try out the swings.
Up the path is the toddler play structure with my favourite Sensory Wave Climber and its various tactile panels, and round gizmos to play with along the way. There’s also an easy-to-climb staircase, ground-level bongos, a morse code learning panel (figure out the clue!), and the new-to-us Rockin’ Robin where the boys squealed with glee.
The highlight of the park for them were the duo of trampolines, which are also wheelchair-accessible, and are wonderfully bouncy!
– run – leap – bounce – repeat.
This park is a must-see if you’re in the area, and honestly, even if you’re not it makes a great destination park! We’ve also visited the fantastic nearby Montcalm Park, Fleur-de-Lys Park with its splash pad and skatepark, and the beach at RécréoParc.
Before building the park, the city of Sainte-Catherine consulted with citizens during the their Esprit Libre, conducted in 2016, and the park includes elements proposed by parents, children, and community associations. You can always tell when there’s been community involvement, because so many of the little things that I always complain about in new renos have been addressed at this park.
You can watch some video of the park on the city’s YouTube channel HERE.
Things to note:
-The park is at the intersections of Rue Central and Boul. Marie-Victorin (see map below.)
-Parking is available right beside the park and includes two wide spaces disabled parking spots, and two “parent with babies” spots.
-Bathrooms are in the super cool retrofitted shipping container, and there are picnic tables nearby, drinking fountains at both ends of the park, and picnic tables and benches throughout.
-There is no fencing, which would be my one concern, and is the only criticism I would give.