|According to the city toponymy site, Jarry Street and Jarry Park are named for different people. The street is named after an early 18th-century landowner, but the park is named in honour of Raoul Jarry (1885-1930), onetime city councillor for Villeray.
The city took possession of the park lands in 1945 after having leased them for years, but a grandiose development plan designed by University of Montreal architect Ernest Cormier never materialized. Tennis courts, playgrounds, wading and swimming pools and vespasiennes (public bathrooms – now out of use) were added bit by bit. In 1960, a 3000-seat baseball stadium was constructed in the park.
The first home game by the National League’s Expos was played at an enlarged Jarry Park arena in April 1969, and the team played there until they moved to the Olympic Stadium in April 1977. The Expos left Montreal permanently in 2004.
No longer needed for baseball games, the stadium was gradually converted into a professional tennis venue, a purpose for which it is still used.
Jarry Park was renamed Parc Jean-Paul II in 1985 in brief flurry of enthusiasm after the Pope’s mass in the park during his 1984 visit to Montreal, but the name change seems never to have taken hold and the park reverted to its original name in 1987.
On any weekend afternoon from spring till fall, you can saunter in Jarry Park and enjoy the pond, the fountain, the trees and the flowers, and appreciate the multicultural cross-section of people for whom this park is an urban refuge. Kids play, people picnic or kick a ball around, ducks flap over the pond. It’s a nice scene. The landscaping is good, because there's a real feel of space even though the park is only 36 hectares. The long view over to Mount Royal gives a sense of space and openness.
There are baseball diamonds at Jarry Park, likewise soccer, bocce, basketball, beach volleyball, swimming pools and playgrounds, a dog run, and two gazebos. In winter the pond is swept to make a skating rink.
The large sculpture near Boulevard Saint-Laurent near the police station is Caesura by Montreal artist Linda Covit. It was installed in 1991 and dedicated to Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. The piece was extensively restored in 2009.
Parts of the park are covered by the free Île Sans Fil wireless internet network.
The Coalition des amis du parc Jarry is a group that focuses attention on attempts to use park lands for other purposes, most notably the gradual enlargement of the tennis facility. A plan to enlarge police station 31, currently located in a fairly small building on the Saint-Laurent Street edge of the park, was scuppered in 2011. The Coalition also sponsors a public cleanup of the park every spring.
To get to Jarry Park the best metro stop is de Castelnau (not, in fact, Jarry), or take the 55 bus up the Main. There is some parking in a lot facing Jarry and also adjoining the tennis facility, and although the park isn’t on a bike path it’s commonly cycled through.
There are no shops in the park, but there is a McDonald’s near de Castelnau metro. The Jean-Talon market is a few minutes away from the park, or you can be adventurous and check out one of Park Extension’s Indian or Greek restaurants. There is a railway crossing from the park that gives access to Ball Avenue in that neighbourhood: the old footbridge over the tracks behind the stadium is now demolished.
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