Where to see fall colours in and around Montréal
The fall colours in Canada are something to behold, and with all its parks and amazing viewpoints, you can see them all within Montréal itself. If you’re willing to drive out a little, too, you’ll see entire landscapes of gold, fire-red and orange! So, here are some of the best spots to snap Instagram gold in and around Montréal.
Whether from the lookouts, the paths or Mount Royal Cemetery, any spot on Mount Royal – Montréal’s beloved mountain – is a magical place to see the colours change on the trees. Beaver Lake is particularly photogenic in the mornings, when the water is still and reflects the surrounding trees like a mirror, but nothing beats the Mount Royal Chalet: from this spot perched at the mountaintop you can see downtown, Old Montréal, the Old Port and the bridges sprawl out before you in all their glory. Instagram-worthy both day and night.
Amazing city parks
Montréal is a wonderfully green town, with great neighbourhood parks like Parc La Fontaine (with its hills, valleys, a lake, a bike path, baseball diamonds, a dog park, picnic areas) and Westmount Park (kid heaven, with jungle gyms and fields for sports of your choice). Parc Jean-Drapeau, Parc Maisonneuve and Parc Angrignon are other stunners, full of multicoloured trees in fall, perfect picnic spots and enough fun activities to fill a half day with the family.
These outdoor-indoor food emporiums are part of what make Montréal such a foodie destination. Come pick up the best of local seasonal ingredients (maybe a pumpkin?) and see the fall foliage, potted plants and bouquets. Atwater Market, right on the beautiful Lachine Canal, is a perfect destination for cyclists and wanderers to refuel and the many mouth-watering stalls. Jean-Talon Market is one of the city’s oldest farmers’ markets, perched right in the middle of Little Italy, one of the city’s most delicious places to be.
Jacques-Cartier Bridge, all lit up at night, is an iconic background for any Instagram post. And have you ever tried walking across it and taking photos FROM it? It spans the St. Lawrence River to connect central Montréal to the South Shore and, in between, passes over Parc Jean-Drapeau on the verdant Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame – so pretty in the fall when the colours start changing. Snap some unforgettable pics from above.
The Montréal Botanical Garden
Set on the edge of the huge Parc Maisonneuve (picnic, anyone?) and just feet from the photogenic Olympic Stadium, the Montréal Botanical Garden is a super picturesque spot any time of year. In the fall, see the changing maple trees and last flourishing flowers in the outdoor gardens and wander in and out of the different climate zones of their indoor greenhouses. From tropical splendor to Canadian autumnal technicolour – expect a full day of family-friendly amazement!
Montréal is full of unique neighbourhoods to discover. Old Montréal is a neighbourhood not to be missed on a fall photo tour. It may well be Montréal’s most renowned, with architecture that dates from between the 16th and 19th centuries next to high-fashion shops and cutting-edge restaurants that are anything but old fashioned. Other great hoods are Mile End, full of only-here coffee shops, local designer wares, great little restaurants and a real village-vibe that’s as hip as they come, and Plateau-Mont-Royal – the colourful house fronts with spiral staircases look fantastic against the bright yellows, reds and golds of the changing leaves.
Just out of town
Within a mere 45-minute drive from Montréal, there are many nature retreats that will immerse you in natural beauty. Start with the Morgan Arboretum in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, a nature reserve with some stunning strolls. Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques, the biggest nature park in the province, has paths alongside both Lac des Deux Montagnes and Rivière des Prairies. Other great discoveries are Parc-nature de l’Anse-à-l’Orme, Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, Parc-nature du Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard, Parc-nature de l'Île-de-la-Visitation and Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies. In Rigaud, mix fall colours with culinary delights with a year-round sugar-shack experience at Sucrerie de la Montagne, or get adventurous among the trees at Arbraska Rigaud!
And further afield
If you’re willing to drive just a bit further, between one and two hours out of the city, you’ll find some amazing daytrips. Offering vistas of flat farmland and soft rolling hills, the Eastern Townships spread out south-eastward from Montréal and are dotted with some of the province’s prettiest small towns, including North Hatley, Eastman, Knowlton, Frelighsburg and Sutton. Check out the area’s cheese shops, cider makers, wineries and apple picking spots – fall is the time! The Laurentians and Lanaudière areas are north of Montréal, and much more densely wooded, making them an idyllic area to see the leaves changing colour. The mountainous topography and clear-water lakes are why they’re beloved by hikers and cyclists. Book a day trip to Lanaudière or the Laurentians with tour companies like Bonjour Nature and Express du Nord.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an arts and lifestyle writer based out of Parc Ex. When she isn't dragging her one-eyed pug around the neighbourhood, she's busy scoping out art shows, shopping for vintage finds, hiking urban trails or designing jewelry for her brand Gré.