Photo by Denis-Carl Robidoux
Montreal is an island–a fact that people often forget. But this does not mean that Montrealers fail to appreciate their proximity to the water. In recent decades, inhabitants of this waterlocked city have been restoring their relationship with the Saint Lawrence River, and increasingly seeking out water recreation close to home.
The Saint Lawrence River’s water quality has not always been what it is today. Not long ago, the river was contaminated by wastewater, storm water runoff, and sewage. It is only because of the combined efforts of environmentalists, the province of Quebec, the city of Montreal, and the demands of Montreal’s citizens themselves for cleaner water, that river’s quality has improved.
Montreal is located at the convergence of the Ottawa River and the Saint Lawrence River. The Saint Lawrence is Canada’s third longest river. Including the length of its estuary, the Saint Lawrence measures 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) all the way from the Great Lakes in the south to the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast.
Montreal’s shoreline spans just over 266 kilometers (165 miles), and you can access 116 kilometers (72 miles) of it through municipal parks. By car, you can reach many of Montreal’s beaches in as little as twenty minutes to just under an hour. Others are a few hours away, but are certainly worth the drive.
This lively city is central to four monitored swim sites. These sites are sampled by The Environment-Beach program of the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks. Water is sampled at the beginning of each week from mid-June to the end of August.
Water sport enthusiasts will find a lot to look forward to in Montreal, since most beaches provide equipment rentals for recreational activities like canoeing, kayaking, sailboating, and pedal boating. on
Sports like wakeboarding, water skiing, and even river surfing (yes, you read that right) are also popular. The Lachine Rapids are perfect for beginner surfers, whitewater rafters, and kayakers. Experienced surfers and kayakers may wish to try their luck on the more powerful Habitat 67, a standing wave formed by the waters of the Saint Lawrence moving rapidly over the rocks beneath the surface.
Beaches in Montreal are fun for the whole family, with activities such as swimming, aquatic obstacle courses, and lake trampolines. Meanwhile, sandy and grassy shorelines offer parents ample opportunity to unwind in the sun.
Jean-Doré Beach in Parc Jean-Drapeau Park and Oka Beach are some of Montreal’s most easily accessible, beloved, and kid-friendly beaches, and both are lifeguarded. Spend the day warming up on Jean-Doré’s golden, sandy beach before cooling off in its sizable 15,000 square meter swimming area. The park itself features a floating playground, boat rentals, and stand up paddleboard (SUP) lessons.
Camping out by the water is an excellent way to experience Montreal’s beautiful beaches. Plenty of beaches around Montreal are located near campsites, hiking trails, and serene wilderness. What better way to greet the day than with a refreshing morning swim?
Climate in Montreal
Swimming season in Montreal is from mid to late June to the end of August. Montreal’s summers are hot and humid. Often, temperatures can surpass 30 °C (86 °F)—definitely swimming weather. However, on occasion, the very end of summer can become chilly and windy. Water temperatures are warmest in July and August, with monthly averages around 22 °C (72 °F).
When the sun sets on your day of swimming, Montreal is a cultural hub with a unique local experience. The city hosts a number of international festivals, and the historic riverside Old Port of Montreal is well-worth exploring by foot, bicycle, or quadricycle.
Swim Guide shares the best information we have at the moment you ask for it. Always obey signs at the beach or advisories from official government agencies. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. Please report your pollution concerns so Affiliates can help keep other beach-goers safe. Swim Guide, "Swim Drink Fish icons," and associated trademarks are owned by SWIM DRINK FISH CANADA. See Legal.
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