Go green: an eco-friendly stay in Montréal
Montréal, a green city? Absolutely! Discover our top 10 for a totally green stay.
Catch some Zzzzzzzzzs
Enjoy sweet dreams at either one of these choice establishments whose souci for the environment is always at the heart of things. At the pretty Cœur Urbain B&B, certified by Terroir et Saveurs du Québec, choose from five chic and refined rooms that boast green touches like bedding and towels made from organic cotton. You can wake up to gourmet breakfasts of homemade and local products in this lovely early-1920s building too. For a more downtown design experience, book at the Alt Hotel, in the industrial-chic neighbourhood of Griffintown, for its buoyant mix of flashy colour and environmentally responsible construction.
Enjoy the city’s culinary scene
When it comes to dining, new Québec cuisine gets glowing reviews for its farm-to-table goodness. Tourisme Montréal teamed up with specialized publishing firm VIATAO to create a list of “green” restaurants in Montréal, based on its environmental criteria as well as social, economic and cultural factors. Our top picks from this list include Le St-Urbain, Pastaga and H4C, exquisite eateries that employ exceptional practices.
A spa on water—oooh! The floating Bota Bota, eco-conscious from stern to bow, uses a geothermal-like system to heat and cool its temple of transcendence. Taken from the St. Lawrence River, the energy created is entirely green and completely renewable. Aside from the technicalities, the spa pampers guests with Baborganic treatments, full of natural and organic ingredients culled from the Alps as well as BPA- and animal cruelty-free vegan products of SpaRitual. Plus, you get to enjoy one of Montréal’s best views while you bliss out!
Camp near Montréal
Need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Just a few kilometres from downtown Montréal, Huttopia’s ready-to-camp formula lets you kick back in nature, totally hassle-free. Take the metro, bus, then ferry to the Île Grosbois in the Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville and stay in one of its cozy tents. Special note for packing: you have to bring your own sleeping bags and pillows. For more information, visit sepaq.com.
Learn to surf
Surf, SUP, SUP-yoga or kayak: what’s your thing? Learn to do them all on the bouncy or smooth waters of the St. Lawrence River. KSF calls itself “a family that’s expanding on the banks of the St. Lawrence”, and shares a palpable passion for adventure, nature and water. Unforgettable, environmental experiences guaranteed. Ready, set, surf and paddle to your heart’s content!
Rent bikes and pedal the city
With bike rental places and tours organized city-wide (Ma Bicyclette, Fitz and Follwell, Ça roule Montréal, BIXI), 645 km of bike paths and many places to stop for a bite to eat, bike tours are a must. Make it even sweeter with a stop at the Jean-Talon, Atwater, Saint-Jaques or Maisonneuve Markets to pick up fresh local products then make your way to Lafontaine, Jeanne-Mance, Laurier or Jarry Park. Not only will you have a tasty pop-up picnic to enjoy, but you’ll discover many Montréal neighbourhoods along the way. Our lush back alleys are a great way to see the city’s green side too!
Choose a tasty culinary tour
After bike tours, let’s roll right into the city’s culinary scene. Round Table Tours takes you deep into Montréal’s gourmet universe and business models based on environmental responsibility. The “Nourishing City: Montreal’s Living Table” tour takes you to urban farmers, food production sites and restaurants, and you get to take part in a healthy cooking workshop too.
Explore Mount Royal
You can’t come to Montréal and not visit Mount Royal, our little gem of a “mountain”. The lungs of the city, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape artist of New York’s Central Park, and our big backyard is great for exploring by food, bike, cross-country skis or snowshoes. In winter, Les Amis de la montagne, a non-profit organization that looks after Mount Royal, offers “City Lights” snowshoeing excursions, an illuminating experience that comes with hot chocolate.
Visit cultural centres
Culture thrives in Montréal! The biggest complex in Canada dedicated to science and nature, the Space for Life consists of four prestigious Montréal institutions the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Botanical Garden and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Enjoy immersive, exciting and educational journey where wee and old are wowed by natural and scientific wonders.
The TOHU pavilion, a perfect example of LEED gold-certified architecture in Canada, is a hub for dissemination, creation, experimentation and where culture, environment and the community converge. Not only is TOHU home to the North America’s first circular performance space dedicated to the circus arts, but it also provides privileged access to the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex. Go see!
Shop for local products
As you wander through Montréal’s vibrant neighbourhoods, make sure to pop into boutiques specializing in ethical and local fashions. One of our favourites is Harricana par Mariouche, recognized worldwide for its clothes and objects fashion from recycled fur, cashmere and silk. The doors to the atelier are always open, allowing the public to get an inside peek into the creative process and the chance to chat with the artisans.
Be sure to check out Made in Montréal, which is dedicated to promoting and supporting the local manufacturing and production community. You’ll find everything there, from fashion to accessories and artisanal objects to body care products. Buy a timeless little black dress from Betina Lou or a Québec creation from concept store Unicorn. Fall in love with Dot & Lil’s handmade retro-design soaps or sate your sweet tooth at Léché Desserts, a stylish little donut shop.
Laure Juilliard, blogger
Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.
To see the list of our regular contributors, click here.