Home to the 1967 World’s Fair, these islands offer a casino, museum, racetrack and other diverse attractions. Attend a festival in the park during the warm months.
Spread across two islands in the St. Lawrence River to the east of downtown Montréal, Parc Jean-Drapeau offers the most diverse range of attractions of any area in the city. Gamble at a casino, watch a fireworks show for free, tour revolutionary buildings and bike on a professional racetrack.
Saint Helen’s Island is the northernmost of the two islands. It hosts a landmark of postmodern architecture: the Biosphere. Buckminster Fuller designed this dome for Expo ’67, the world’s fair held on the island. For a fee, enter the museum inside the sphere to learn about environmental issues and sustainable technologies.
Take the Concorde Bridge to Île Notre-Dame, which is a manmade island to the south of Saint Helen’s. Gamble at the Montréal Casino. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the casino features slot machines, four restaurants and a cabaret.
Rent a bike at one of two rental kiosks in the park and ride it on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This 2.7-mile (4.3-kilometer) raceway hosts the Canadian Grand Prix every June. For the rest of the year, it is open to walkers, bikers and roller skaters.
Visit the Stewart Museum, located in an old British military fort on Saint Helen’s Island. This museum presents the influence of European culture on Canadian culture through five centuries of artifacts. Browse through military items, household objects and artwork.
From May to September, Parc Jean-Drapeau hosts many festivals. Visit on a warm Sunday to catch one of the many installments of the electronic music festival Piknic Électronik. Come out on a Friday or Saturday night from June through August to catch a spectacular fireworks show that takes place regularly in La Ronde, the amusement park on Saint Helen’s Island.
The park can be accessed by bus via either the Jacques Cartier Bridge or the Concorde Bridge. There is also a metro stop at the center of Saint Helen’s Island. There is no admission fee, but many of the individual attractions have fees. The park is open year-round, but some of its attractions are closed during the cold months.