In the St. Lawrence River is the Ile St. Helene which was the site of the 1967 Montreal World's fair. The Parc Jean Drapeau encompasses the island. One of the highlights is the tour de Levi. Once a water tower, this is now a lookout point.
Sainte-Hélène island is a small island just few minutes from Downtown Montreal (5 min by Metro). It's a big park (PARC JEAN-DRAPEAU) with few lakes and small rivers where people come and enjoy doing a full of activities during all seasons.
Many events and festivals take place in the island during the year, such 'La fête des neiges' in winter and 'Journées de la culture' in summer and many others.
It's also linked to Notre-Dame island where many big events occur every year; such Formula 1 Air Canada grand prix or ChampCar Grand prix..etc. beside that period the race circuit is open for public (Good for biking or roller blad or just jogging).
Ile Notre Dame & ile Ste-Helene
This is my best place! At least once a week, I drive to the St-Lambert lock on the south shore and put my roller blades on. I then cross on the victoria bridge and access the Villeneuve Formula 1 circuit; except on the week of the Grand Prix (in June), we can ride the race circuit! And then others activities on the islands. You can rent rollerblades for a starter! or ride your bicycle. Bring your picnic and try the beautifull Ste-Helene island, or have a lunch at one of the snack bar. This site also accomodate the attraction park La Ronde with its rides, games, restaurants and shows. On the island, there's also a beach with naturally filtered water, green spaces, flowers and boat rental. You'll also find the Montreal Casino, Biosphere (environmental exhibition), Stewart museum (fascinating history of the New World), Governor's feast (public dinner and show with Nouvelle France theme). At the Olympic basin, you can watch canoe, kayak, scull and dragon-boat competition. On wednesday and saturday of june and july, an international fireworks competition will blow your mind for 30 minutes. Peoples in the Montreal area stops on the road or gather in parks or on the Jacques-cartier bridge just to watch. You can buy first row tickets at La Ronde and sit at the Swan lake. In august, les Fetes Gourmandes is a major attraction where culinary discoveries and unique festivities take place! Numerous kiosks offering food from around the world are places under trees and along the shore lines. It's expensive though, since every thing you taste cost between 2 and 5$. In the winter, La Fete des Neiges (snow festival) invade the island and you can ride a dogs sleigh, admire castle of snow and sculpture of ice, see wild animals, slides on the ice or ice skate. But my favorite remain to ride my rollerblades around the paths through the floralies which are numerous flowers gardens. And every so often, I'll rent a kayak and ride the little channel around the island. This is a very nice place!
Montreal held a superb World's Fair (Man and His World) in 1967...and this is one of the islands on which it was held. It is now a beautiful urban park (Parc Jean Drapeau). You can still see vestiges of the fair but they are few and far between. But the real charm of this island is its peace.....you are literally minutes from the city centre but in an oasis of calm. Walk around, bring your bathing suit and swim in the magnificent city pools and if you want a bit of action...walk under the Jacques Cartier Bridge and enter La Ronde. It's an amusement park and it's open in the summer months. Cross the bridges on foot to Ile-Notre-Dame and visit the beautiful gardens around the Casino de Montréal. Of course, you can go gamble your money away - but the atmosphere at the casino is anything but serene...this is Canada's largest and busiest casino and I think it is open 24 hours a day - YIKES!