We came for another visit in September 2016, after dropping off the boys’ dad at the airport. My 8-year old said “this is boring”, while the toddler was enthralled by the planes landing and taking off, the new hill that they’ve added to the park, and the piles of rocks that he collected.
The original post from 2014 is below (with some updated pictures.)
***Important: Do NOT come here for a picnic or with snacks. The food and garbage attracts birds which is seriously threatening the safety of the aircraft (and birds) as they are congregating around the site and can cause strikes with the planes.
I kept hearing about this plane-spotting park and had been wanting to visit for a while. The park was opened in May 2012 by Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) to celebrate the airport’s 70th anniversary.
“Is there a playground? NO? That sounds boring!” said the 6-year old, so just the littlest and I went off on our adventure.
Which may have been a good thing because at least he couldn’t understand my colourful language as I tried to navigate the constantly changing Dorval Circle and the horribly confusing Cote-de-Liesse entrances. Basically it’s a maze.
After stopping twice to check the GPS, and a bit more swearing, we arrived!
Ample street parking just in front of the park and we were able to stroller up to the observation bleachers. We were there around 6:30pm and it was quiet, with just a few other people (and toddlers) there.
I kept the little guy in his stroller the whole time as there’s a warning to stay 3 metres away from the fence and I knew The Destroyer would break that rule in 2 seconds and then there’d be sirens. He seemed happy to watch the planes which were landing about every 2 minutes. Amazing how much traffic goes through!
There is ZERO shade here and it’s quite open. Lots of grass surrounding the park so older kids would be able to wander around a bit, though the serious plane watchers might give them some looks.
The runways you can observe are 06R and 24L. After a bit of research, the best plane watching times seem to be at “rush hour” which are morning and evening. This website will tell you which runways are currently operational according to wind direction: http://gca.navcanada.ca/atm/iwv/CYUL
We saw mostly small planes landing and as we got back to the car a HUGE 777 landed, but of course I’d already put the camera away. Doh! I make no guarantees that will or will not see giant planes!
From the bleachers I could see where my dad used to work at Air Canada, and you can also watch the buzzing around at the terminal in the distance. If you drive further down the road to Chartier Avenue, you can get a better view of the planes coming and going from Air Canada’s hangar.
While it was fun for a bit, I think I’ve been spoiled by having been to Maho Beach in St. Maarten. You know you’re close to the action when you get sandblasted by the jets kicking up the beach. Check out some videos here. NOT photoshopped.
I felt bad that I was kinda “MEH” about this park rather than “OH MY GOD!” Maybe I was just expecting them to be landing right over my head, rather than taxiing down the runway. And then I was wondering why I felt bad for a park. It has no feelings! BUT, still great for kids who enjoy planes. For all around fun and playing I prefer Surrey Park and Westwood Park as you can see the planes as they come in for a landing right above you, AND there are playgrounds.
p.s. Here’s another website with some good plane-watching spots. http://www.jeanpierrebonin.com/aviation/observationpages/AvionsObservation0_ang.htm