Running is a popular pastime in Montreal and well-loved routes of various lengths, terrains, and scenery are scattered across the Island. If running is your thing and you’re staying on the Plateau while in town, here are four places to head for a perfect summer run and discover some of Montreal’s urban gems along the way.
Mont Royal Park, as always, is one of the city’s most beloved destinations for outdoor activities. Running on the mountain offers a variety of routes, relaxed or vigorous exercise, forested trails, and lovely views. You can choose a long, slow incline by following Chemin Olmstead, the gravel road that winds it’s way to the top, or take a more direct route by grabbing the stairs. The Belvedere near the top offers panoramic views of the city and the chance to take a breather. From here, you have the choice of doing a circuit around Beaver Lake, or continuing up to the 100-ft cross—one of the city’s most iconic monuments. Given how lovely the mountain is, it does tend to get busy, so if you prefer quiet, avoid the peak weekend and 5pm-7pm periods. Distances range from 5 to 11 km return, depending on which route you choose.
2. Parc Lafontaine
Parc Lafontaine is a gorgeous green space in the heart of the Plateau and one of Montreal’s well-known landmarks with its lovely lake and large fountain in the centre. For Plateau locals, it is also a favorite place to jog. A well-defined pathway threads its way around the perimeter and is shaded by mature trees. Its super handy location makes it the perfect spot to fit in a run, no matter how busy your day is. The entire perimeter has a distance of around 3.4 km.
3. Mount Royal Cemetery
The Mount Royal Cemetery is a fantastic and unusual places for running. Historic, beautiful, and slightly macabre, it is one of the favourite local places to run. Located on the North slope of Mont Royal and occupying 165 acres of land, there are numerous routes and pathways throughout the grounds. It is much quieter and less tourist-populated than Mont Royal park to the southeast. The main gates are located at 1297 Chemin de la Foret and pedestrian access is open 24/7, even when the main gates are closed to vehicle traffic.
4. Lachine Canal
The Lachine Canal is a bit further away from the Plateau, but is so beautiful and perfect for running it’s worthwhile taking public transit or hopping on a Bixie down to Old Montreal where you can access the canal and over 14.5 km of pathway and stunning views alongside the water. It’s also a great opportunity to check out Atwater Market or grab a pint at Terrasse St-Ambroise—both of which are located on the canal.