1. Old Montréal and the Old Port
Centuries old architecture bordered by the beautiful St. Lawrence River… is it any wonder these historic neighbourhoods of Montréal are considered the epitome of romance? Walk around the narrow cobblestone alleyways in Old Montréal and you could get the impression that this area is old school, but our fair city’s original site is also home to some of its most cutting-edge fashion designers, stellar dining and incredible clubs. There’s tons to explore during your stroll – and if you want to up the quaintness even more, there’s also romantic skating during winter or pedalboat excursions for two during summer.
2. Lachine Canal
Running along the St. Lawrence River from Old Montréal all the way through to Lachine (ergo its name), the Lachine Canal is a beautifully landscaped waterfront trail to explore on foot. Allow a half day to stroll from Old Montréal – start around McGill Street where it meets the river – westward to Atwater Market, the perfect spot to enjoy lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants or pick up the makings of a riverside picnic. (There’s even a SAQ where you can get individual bottles of bubbly, should the mood strike!) The walk back on the other riverbank will seem so much shorter on a full stomach.
3. Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation
This beautiful peninsula park in the north of the island juts out into Rivière des Prairies and has a bit of everything. You’ll see a few dazzling multicolour walls of graffiti, and then go deeper into the woods with beautiful flora and the river on one side. Keep walking until you come unto the dam, where you can sit together at the lookout or gaze below at the pretty beach. You’ll cross a bridge, coming to another section of Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation that’s dotted with impressive historic farmhouses. Bring a picnic and make a half-day of it.
4. Parc René-Lévesque
Out in Lachine, this gorgeous park is the perfect length for a relaxed romantic walk. Parc René-Lévesque loops around a peninsula between Lac Saint-Louis and the Lachine Canal, providing aquatic views on both sides and a wonderful grassy expanse with a sculpture garden in the middle. The collection of 50 monumental contemporary sculptures is owned by the Musée de Lachine. Discover more about each work here.
5. Parc Maisonneuve
With over 63 hectares of green space, this grand verdant expanse is paradisiac in the warm months and a destination in itself. Even better is the fact that Parc Maisonneuve is flanked by the Montréal Botanical Garden, one of Montréal’s most romantic spots ever! Pair the two together by packing a lunch and embarking on a long aimless stroll in the park until you find the perfect picnic spot – there are about three thousand to choose from. As the afternoon stretches on, head to the Botanical Garden to enjoy it at dusk – particularly if you can time your visit for fall time, when the Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens become enchanted with the stunning Gardens of Light festival.
6. Parc Jean-Drapeau
Parc Jean-Drapeau is many things to many people: it’s the place where every Montrealer loves to party, whether it’s at the family-fun winter festivals or the La Ronde amusement park. Located on a pair of islands in the St. Lawrence River, directly across from Montréal’s downtown core (and reachable in 20 easy minutes on the subway system), it also provides stunning views, romantic waterfront nooks galore and miles and miles of trails to stroll along, hand in hand. Expect to see bunnies and gophers doing their thang.
7. Frédéric-Back Park
This giant park in the northern end of Montréal was established to revive a former quarry and dumping ground, which makes its topography truly unique in the city. After a massive investment and incredible landscaping – the most ambitious environmental rehabilitation project ever undertaken in Montréal – Frédéric-Back Park is a new shining beacon of outdoor activities, whether that’s cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, cycling or, of course, hiking anytime. For a true dose of nature, go as the sun is setting, explore the 5.5 kilometre walking trail and enjoy some romantic stargazing.