Plan an eco-friendly stay in Montréal

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard has been writing for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes for the media as well as for different companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and top places to be at, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.

This article was updated May 17, 2024.

Is Montréal a green city? Absolutely! Check out our favourite eco-friendly spots and activities in Montréal.

Where to stay

Just arrived in the city? Check into one of these  eco-friendly, Green Key-certified hotels, hand-picked by Tourisme Montréal. Book yourself a room at Le Mount Stephen, the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, the St-Martin Hotel Particulier DowntownW Montréal, or Sofitel Montréal Le Carré Doré. Each of these exceptional establishments has a solid sustainability policy in place. Other options include the modern and minimalist Boxotel or the ITHQ Hotel, which is just steps away from the Entertainment District (known locally as the Quartier des spectacles). Alternatively, the Alt Hotel in Griffintown has EV charging stations in its parking area. Last but not least, the Ruby Foo's hotel, a stone's throw from the famous Gibeau Orange Julep diner, launched its brand-new Signature rooms in summer 2023, renovated with sustainability and ecological awareness in mind.

 

Where to eat

Montréal's food scene offers an abundance of environmentally responsible choices.

Vegans, look no further! Your taste buds will find their happy place at LOV, Aux VivresTendresseCafé Dei CampiPâtisserie ZébulonLola RosaMimi & Jones, Sushi MomoRestaurant ZinZin or The Green Panther. Hungry for more? Try the fresh and creative cuisine made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients at Le St-Urbain, CandideChez VictoireLe MoussoÔ ThymToqué!Renoir, Leméac , Graziella, RosélysRéservoir Brasseur or the ITHQ restaurant. If you fancy some fish and chips, head to Brit & Chips, where the catch is sourced from sustainable fisheries. Finally, for the sake of the planet, some cafés, bars and restaurants have decided to take action and make a significant commitment to zero waste and anti-waste solutions: check out our guide here.

 

Where to rest, relax and rejuvenate

Let your tension float away at Bota Bota, a river spa anchored to sustainability. So much so, in fact, that the facility uses geothermal-type energy to heat and cool its indoor spaces and thermal baths. The energy is extracted directly from the St. Lawrence River, which means it's eco-friendly and renewable. Beyond the technical aspects, the spa uses Babor vegan products made with natural and organic ingredients sourced from the Alps. Added bonus: the spa's unique location offers terrific views of Montréal's cityscape. We love it!

 

Where to camp in Montréal

Want to balance your urban vacation with a few days of camping? Huttopia offers a hassle-free ready-to-camp option just a few kilometres from downtown Montréal. To get there, hop the metro, bus and river ferry to Grosbois Island in the Îles-de-Boucherville provincial park. There are 21 cozy tents for rent on site. Visitors should bring their own sleeping bag and pillow. For more information, go to sepaq.com.

How to explore the Montréal area

Navette Nature is a great alternative to the car for discovering Quebec's natural destinations. This Quebec-based company, dedicated to sustainable mobility and environmental preservation, specializes in public transportation and offers privileged access to green spaces for non-motorized travelers and those wishing to reduce their car use. From Montreal, explore Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques, Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies, Parc national du Mont-Mégantic and Parc national du Mont-Orford, while reducing your carbon footprint and connecting with nature.

 

Embark on an eco-friendly cruise

Curious to know more about the history of the 150-year-old Lachine canal? Hop aboard the Petit Navire, certified carbon neutral zero-pollution electric propulsion boat. Enjoy a 45-minute to two-hour historic and eco-friendly ride where you can sip a drink and chat with fellow passengers.
 

Where to surf, kayak and more

Surfing, SUP, SUP-yoga, kayaking: whatever sport you choose, you'll quickly discover that the St. Lawrence River offers everything from serene spots to adrenaline-inducing areas! KSF calls itself "a family that's expanding around the St. Lawrence." Their team is passionate about adventure, nature and water and will provide you with unforgettable experiences that are also certified eco-responsible. Grab a paddle!
 

Get out and get moving!

Just minutes away from downtown by metro is where you’ll find Parc Jean-Drapeau, a sprawling natural four-season playground alive with activities and festivals all year long. Explore its network of artwork-lined trails, two museums, and expansive beach. Drop by the freshy renovated Biosphère, a Montréal icon since the Expo ’67 World’s Fair,  where you can learn about the importance of an environmentally sustainable lifestyle through scientific exhibitions and demonstrations. Witness thriving urban agriculture firsthand on the  green roof atop the Palais des congrès, then head out to discover Montréal’s best seasonal markets and summertime spaces to drink in the city’s summertime vibe. 

 

Where to rent a bike and enjoy a ride

Ready to embark on a two-wheeled adventure? It's easy in Montréal, where bike rental shops and tours are available throughout the city (Ma BicycletteFitz MontréalÇa roule MontréalBIXI and Spade & Palacio) and there are more than 700 km of bike paths. Plus, there are tons of places to eat and drink along the way. We recommend packing a picnic lunch with fresh produce from the Jean-Talon, Atwater, Saint-Jacques or Maisonneuve markets and then cycling to La Fontaine, Jeanne-Mance, Laurier or Jarry Park. It's a great way to explore different Montréal boroughs.

Reluctant to work up a sweat? No worries, you can always rent an electric scooter at JusstLes Urbanités has also put together an itinerary of Montréal's "green alleys." Everyone loves a quick escape into a green corridor!

Public transportation—offered through the STM bus and metro system—is another choice way to get around the city. Take advantage of special offers on tickets and a practical online tool to plan your journeys quickly and efficiently. You can also download the Transit and Chrono apps to consults real-time schedules.

 

Culinary activities

What if you could combine touring the city with everyone's favourite activity: eating? 'Round Table Tours will introduce you to the best of Montréal's food scene, including businesses that are serious about sustainability. Their tour "Sustaining City: Montréal's Living Table" features urban farmers, food production sites, restaurants and a creative workshop around healthy eating. We highly recommend it! 
 

The best way to explore Mount Royal

You can't visit Montréal without seeing Mount Royal, our local "mountain." The park, which acts as the city's lungs, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same landscape architect behind New York City's Central Park. It's located right in the centre of the city and can be explored on foot, by bicycle, on cross-country skis or on snowshoes. In winter, Les Amis de la montagne, a non-profit that helps protect Mount Royal, offers a guided night-time snowshoeing excursion called "By the Glow of the City Lights (À la lueur de la ville)." Pro tip: Finish off this memorable experience with a warm mug of hot chocolate!
 

Where to see sustainable arts and culture

Montréal's well-known cultural scene includes a several sustainable attractions. Space for Life is Canada's largest nature and science museum complex. It includes the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Botanical Garden and the Planetarium, four exceptional institutions that combine science with emotion to influence your perspective of the natural world and educate visitors of all ages. What will you learn?

The TOHU Pavilion is a venue for shows, experimentation and convergence between culture, environment and community projects. It's also an outstanding example of LEED GOLD-certified Canadian architecture. The facility includes a round circus-arts performance hall—the first of its kind in North America—as well as access to the Saint-Michel environmental complex. A little further north, lose yourself in the valleys and meadows uniquely punctuated with white spheres in parc Frédéric-Back, a new green space dedicated to the environment, culture, leisure and sports. Don't miss it! 

 

Where to buy local products

Head over to Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Mile End to BKIND, an environmentally-friendly store offering natural, vegan, eco-responsible and Québec-made beauty products. A little further down in the Plateau neighbourhood, don't miss Savonnerie M'Nonga, where you can watch soapmakers at work. Shop for handcrafted body products, including natural soaps, bath salts, oils and body butters.

Then, as you stroll through Montréal’s dynamic neighbourhoods, check out the city’s many boutiques specializing in ethical and local fashion. Among our favourites is Harricana par Mariouche, world-renowned for its clothing and objects made from recycled furs, cashmeres and silks. The boutique also offers workshops for making pom-poms, braided scarves from recycled furs and custom hats. Let your creativity run wild!

 

 

Of course, there’s also multi-brands specializing in Québec and Canadian design. At Belle et Rebelle, the selection of clothing and accessories is wildly colourful, cutting-edge and features collections by designers committed to sustainable and eco-responsible production. Unicorn in the Mile End is also well worth a visit. In the Petite-Patrie district, discover the Betina Lou et Marmier boutique-atelier, a multi-brand that promotes slow wear with carefully selected brands embodying strong values of design, quality, transparency and ethical manufacturing. In the same neighbourhood, the DDD boutique will win you over with its selection of design, sustainable and responsible products. Finally, fall for a Matt & Nat backpack or handbag made from recycled plastic bottles, succumb to the fragrance of Dot & Lil's retro handmade soaps and melt for an urban honey produced here by Alvéole.

 

 

On Plaza Saint-Hubert, arloca boutique offers a fine selection of local products for all tastes, and creative workshops for the artist in you and the Boutique Espace Urbain features a vast collection of afro, urban and vintage fashion, including unique jewellery, from over 120 different vendors. It's all about sustainable, locally made products and supporting the region's creative entrepreneurs.

Finally, the Maison du développement durable was the very first building in Québec to earn LEED Platinum NC certification. It offers guided tours, meetings and discussions on sustainable development.

Little things can go a long way

In addition to promoting the local economy through all the possibilities listed above, adopt a slow tourism approach during your stay by staying several nights in the same neighborhood to discover its energy, habits and merchants. Go zero-waste by carrying a kit with you at all times, including reusable utensils and lunch dishes. Choose cafés that offer the reusable La Tasse mug, supporting more responsible consumption. You'll maximize your impact on a healthier, greener planet!

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard has been writing for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes for the media as well as for different companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and top places to be at, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.

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