Where to see fall colours in and around Montreal
Things to do in Montreal in the fall
by Isa TousignantThe fall colours in Canada are something to behold, and with all its parks and amazing viewpoints, you can see them all within Montreal 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 Montreal.
Mount RoyalWhether from the lookouts, the paths or Mount Royal Cemetery, any spot on Mount Royal – Montreal’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 Montreal, the Old Port and the bridges sprawl out before you in all their glory. Instagram-worthy both day and night.
Amazing city parksMontreal 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.
Public marketsThese outdoor-indoor food emporiums are part of what make Montreal 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 BridgeJacques-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 Montreal 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 Montreal Botanical GardenSet 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!
Buzzing neighbourhoodsMontreal is full of unique neighbourhoods to discover. Old Montreal is a neighbourhood not to be missed on a fall photo tour. It may well be Montreal’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 townWithin 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 afieldIf 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.
WHAT’S NEXTCheck out our Montreal tours or Flight & Hotel packages to get started on your day trips from Montreal.
This post was written by art and lifestyle writer Isa Tousignant, a contributor for Tourisme Montreal. For more exclusive Montreal content, visit their website.