Île de la Visitation park
Cité Historia history museum offers day camps for kids in summertimeMaison du Meunier
10897 rue du Pont
|Île de la Visitation park is one of the city's unsung gems. The park is only 34 hectares, but it consists of an island and some waterfront facing the Rivière des Prairies, all linked by footbridges. The cycle and walking paths meander among old trees and there's usually a nice breeze off the city's back river.
There are also some historic elements in the park. The reclaimed ruins of the old mill are interesting to explore. The Maison du Meunier has a historical interpretation centre and a bistro with a terrasse overlooking the mill stream – they even make a decent espresso – and the Maison du Pressoir (10865 rue du Pressoir) also has historical background stuff.
In walking east through the park you may find a cruciform memorial to Nicolas Viel, a Recollet priest killed in 1625 by his Huron guides for unknown reasons in a boat on the Rivière des Prairies. Viel's companion, a young native man called Ahuntsic, was also killed, and has given his name to the borough where the Île de la Visitation park is found. The entire incident has also given the immediate neighbourhood the name Sault-au-Recollet.
The park's very accessible, by car via Gouin Boulevard (it's east of Papineau), by public transit via Henri-Bourassa metro (walk or take the 69 bus) or via the Gouin bike path, which branches off through the park. Besides the bistro and historical features, there are a couple of small restaurants along Gouin nearby.
The park offers a view of the Rivière-des-Prairies generating station, a hydro dam downriver of the park – indeed, the whole park puts you very close to the water.
In winter the park has cross-country ski trails and snowshoeing.
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