This park consists of 5 islands, offering green spaces, wetlands and wildlife. Early summer 2012 we visited and saw a white-tailed deer and its very frisky fawn. In the fall we saw a large field with a group of Canada geese. It is a perfect place for cycling. There is a network of 21 km of trails, some of which are connected by ferries. We have spent most of our time cycling, but on Ile Sainte-Marguerite, there are almost 10km of rustic trails where only walkers are allowed, and is open year-round. The cycling trails are largely hard packed ground with very little loose gravel - in the fall we took our trail bikes, but on our last visit we were on road bikes and we were okay. We loved taking the little zodiac ferry across the river to get to the island.
The last time that I wrote a review I stated that I planned to try the kayaking. I just tried it, and I was surprised by it. It was not what I expected of a nature park. The water route where we rented our kayaks was chock-a-block with motorized vessels of all shapes and sizes. I felt like I was in one of those locks waiting for the gate to be open. We paddled with careful navigation to avoid vessels, with the occasional strong smell of fuel, very loud music pumping from the larger boats with some drunken behaviour, and getting past vessels to more open water, the occasional crazy driver who did not have a sense of when to slow down (we were warned to be careful because there is drinking on the boats – the clerk himself looked embarrassed to have to warn us about this). It was not relaxing and by no means the nature experience we had in mind.
As far a price is concerned, the cost to get into the park is $12.00, and it is $16.00 per hour per single kayak (you can’t go too far in one hour because you have to leave time to return – heaven knows, there might have been better conditions further on but it would have required going over the hour, and we were not going to take the chance of getting more of the same). We have visited other kayak rental outlets this summer, and this was the most expensive for the least pleasure. There are much more peaceful kayaking experiences to be had around the city. I don’t know if it is this busy all summer (we visited August 25 on a hot day, a perfect day for being on the water), but I won’t be encouraged to drive all the way out to find out again. It pains me to post negative information about this park because I love it for cycling.
On top of this, the entire kayak route was not available because the river was too low, but I was not surprised by that, our summer had been hot with not a lot of rain. It is something to consider if you have your heart set on doing the entire route. Call ahead. (Speaking of calling ahead, the cable shuttle boat (bac-à-cable) that transports people from one island to another was broken that day, making it impossible to enjoy everything. So that would be another reason to call ahead).
A quick note that there is an aboriginal site with a longhouse to explore. We were there with a school trip and the kids were really fascinated with the site.
I discovered on the website that there is an 'experience the park by night' package in the winter, which includes torch-lit trekking on a 4 km path, marshmallows, coffee, hot chocolates, gourmet chocolates and snowshoeing. Sounds nice.
There is a gift shop and a restaurant on site. The french fries and gravy were not good. If I was going to have something high calorie, I should have had one of the desserts.
To get there, you can either drive - there are plenty of parking spaces, or if you cycle like us, you take one of the shuttle boats - we have taken the shuttle boat from parc de la Promenade Bellerive at the intersection of Notre Dame and Mercier (when you pay for the ferry, you are also paying for the park).
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.