Plan an eco-friendly stay in Montréal

Laure Juilliard

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.

This article was updated July 22, 2021

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 hotels, hand-picked by Tourisme Montréal. Book yourself a room at Le Mount Stephen, the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, the Four Seasons Hotel Montréal, the Birks Hotel Montréal, the St-Martin Hotel Particulier Downtown, W Montréal, Le Germain 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. 

Where to eat

Montréal's food scene offers an abundance of environmentally responsible choices. Tourisme Montréal partnered with VIATAO, a publishing house that specializes in sustainable tourism, to create a list of "green" Montréal restaurants. Most criteria were environmental, but social, economic and cultural factors were also taken into account. Our top picks from the list include Le St-UrbainPastaga and H4C (temporarily closed). These restaurants pair exquisitely fresh dishes with laudable sustainability practices.

Vegans, look no further! Your taste buds will find their happy place at LOV, Aux Vivres, Bistro Tendresse, Café Dei Campi or The Green Panther. Hungry for more? Try the fresh and creative cuisine made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients at Candide, Chez Victoire, Mousso, Manitoba, Ô Thym, Toqué!, Renoir or the ITHQ restaurant. If you fancy some fish and chips, head to Brit & Chips, where the catch is sourced from sustainable fisheries. Café Santropol serves massive sandwiches with homemade lemonade in a lush garden-of-Eden-type setting. Last but not least, Le 5e is a zero-waste café that serves vegan brunch every weekend in Verdun. While you're in the area, be sure to take a stroll through this residential area with unique Montréal flair.

Where to rest, relax and rejuvenate

Let your tension float away at Bota Bota, a river spa that's anchored to sustainability. In fact, 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.

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!

Where to take a stroll

Once you're back on land, be sure to check out the pop-up spaces and neighbourhood projects created by La Pépinière, an incubator that promotes community participation. Families will also want to visit Village au Pied-du-Courant, an eco-friendly destination that's fun for kids of all ages. 

To learn about urban agriculture, visit the green roof at the Palais des congrès (Montréal's centrally located convention centre). If you're willing to navigate the streets and some French, you'll be rewarded with the mobile app called "Parcours verts et actifs J’ai ma ruelle à cœur." Created by the Regroupement des écoquartiers, this tool will point you to the most beautiful green lanes and alleyways in Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Le Sud-Ouest and Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. 

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 & FollwellÇa roule MontréalBIXI and Spade & Palacio) and there are 645 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 Dyad. Les Urbanités has also put together an itinerary of Montréal's "green alleys." Everyone loves a quick escape into a green corridor! Of course, public transportation—offered through the STM bus and metro system—is another choice way to get around the city. 

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! If you're looking to treat your sweet tooth, sign up for a pastry-making class at Maison Christian Faure.

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 "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 Rio Tinto Alcan 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. Don't miss it!

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.

Where to buy local products

Ethical and local fashion boutiques are scattered across the city. One of our favourites is Harricana by Mariouche, which is known around the world for its clothing and other items made from recycled fur, cashmere and silk. The boutique also offers workshops on how to make pompoms, braided recycled fur scarves and custom hats. Unleash your creativity!

Next, head over to Maison Jacynthe Montréal, a Québec-owned boutique and beauty salon that specializes in all-natural and vegan beauty products. Cool your heels with a much-needed pedicure or pick up some gifts to bring back home. Arloca also features a wide selection of local products and offers creative workshops for your inner artist.

While you're in town, spruce up your wardrobe with a timeless little black dress from Betina Lou, a Matt & Nat backpack or handbag made from recycled plastic bottles, or a unique made-in-Québec creation from Unicorn. Freshen your visit with the retro-inspired handmade soap from Dot & Lil and take home some locally made honey from Alvéole.

Laure Juilliard

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.

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