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After featuring some iconic and exotic locations on my blog (New York, California, Yosemite, Grand Canyon) today I want to do something different. I want to feature a location that is only a short walk from where I live. You can see that you do not have to take expensive trips to exotic locations to become a better landscape photographer.
Montreal is a beautiful city and is very rewarding for any travel or landscape photographer. It is surrounded by rivers, lakes, mountains, and a great number of provincial and national parks. As a photographer, you can find interesting locations for any taste.
The only problem is that it takes a minimum of an hour to reach those destinations by car. Montreal is a big city surrounded by water, which means congested bridge and tunnel crossings. On summer weekends it is the worst.
This is the reason I want to feature a site inside the city, which is probably the most beautiful spot in Montreal with historical roots.
The place is Parc René-Lévesque, in the borough of Lachine. The park is not very well known to the general public, and the only reason I discovered it is because I moved into the neighborhood a few years back.
The park sits on an artificial peninsula built in the middle of the 19th century during the construction of historical Lachine Canal, which connected the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes and helped fuel the rapid industrial development of Canada.
It is 2km long and only 200-250 meters wide. One side of the park used to serve as a jetty when the canal was in heavy use. Now, it is facing the yacht club and a busy marina, with quiet waters and old trees at the edge.
The other side of the park is very different, with high banks and the extremely fast current of the Saint Lawrence River running along the shore.
In the middle of the park there is a sculpture garden that is part of the Musée de Lachine (Lachine Museum), with 22 huge sculptures permanently featured in the park.
The tip of the park is the best place to watch sunsets. There is a row of benches at the west end of the park where people come to watch the sun go down over the Saint Lawrence River. I have probably photographed at least a hundred sunsets here.
Travel and landscape photography opportunities in the park
- Historical Lachine locks, still functional
- Marina with busy activity in the summer
- St. Lawrence River, with the St. Lawrence Seaway on the other side
- Beautiful sculptures. My favorites are 5 enormous stone legs by David Moore.
- Old Lachine architecture across from marina on south side
- View of the Lachine Lighthouse
How to get there
The easiest way to get to the park is by car.
The most interesting and fun way would be by bike. If you are visiting Montreal, take BIXI bike in Old Montreal and ride along Lachine Canal all the way to the park (15km).
To see the park and photograph it from different perspectives take a 15 minute open-air boat ride (Batobus) from the park entrance to the Lachine Lighthouse ($2.00), then walk back along the river. The photography opportunities will be endless.