Plage du Parc Jean-Drapeau: A Montreal Beach Review

Parc Jean-Drapeau's beach Plage Jean-Doré proposes sun and swimming just minutes from downtown Montreal.
Photo by Flickr user carophoto (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach Plage Jean-Doré: The Bottom Line

Montreal beach Plage Jean-Doré (aka Plage du Parc Jean-Drapeau or simply Plage Doré) is a man made body of water and admittedly not quite like lounging in the Caribbean. In all frankness, it can be a bit flat as the lone activity of the day (unless it's oppressively hot and/or you have kids with you and/or you're with a fun group of people). Consider perking up the urban beach experience with a picnic prelude at the Floralies Gardens, gamble a bit at the nearby Casino de Montréal, opt for some biking on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve race track or rent a canoe.

 

Pros

  • Interesting location.
  • Near the gorgeous Floralies Gardens.
  • Beach volleyball on the premises.
  • Affordable admission price.
  • Easy access without a car (the easiest Montreal beach to get to using public transit).

 

Cons

  • Over $3 for bottled water.
  • The water is not very deep (about 5 feet in the middle of the "lake").
  • Might be a let-down if you grew up by the sea.

 

Description

  • When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day from June 21 to August 27, 2017 and then from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on September 2, September 3, and September 4, 2017.
  • Where: Parc Jean-Drapeau (Île Notre-Dame)
  • Get There: Jean-Drapeau Metro (Walk to the left of the metro exit to catch the 767 bus).
  • Day Price: $9 adult (ages 14 and over); $4.50 kids ages 3 to 13; free for kids 2 and under; family rate $22 (2 adults and/or kids ages 14 and up, 2 kids ages 13 and under). Admission prices drop by roughly 40% after 4 p.m.
  • Special promotion: 2 for 1 on weekdays upon presentation of an Accès Montréal card
  • Crowd: Toddlers to seniors. Many teens and early twenty somethings.
  • More Info: Call (514) 872-0199

 

Plage Jean-Doré du Parc Jean-Drapeau: A Montreal Beach Review

Sandwiched between a race track and a casino, Parc Jean-Drapeau's Jean-Doré beach is easy to reach by bike and is one of two Montreal beaches accessible by public transit.

Testing the waters on a 33°C (91°F) early July weekday afternoon with my friend, the beach was at half capacity and the crowd was very mixed, from retirees to toddlers with lots of teens and twenty-somethings.

On a hot and humid day, Parc Jean-Drapeau's beach really does the trick, especially if you are looking for something affordable and accessible to do with friends on differing budgets. Also a great way to conclude an active summer day of walking, picnicking and sight-seeing around Parc Jean-Drapeau, I personally enjoyed the time spent cooling off, even if the man made beach didn't feel quite as alive as a natural lake.

One hygiene note. The woman's bathroom was a mess. I walked in on beach staff mopping up about an inch of "watery" overflow from a nearby defective stall, and then in classic sitcom style, I (accidentally) chose that same (albeit unmarked) stall, adding a new inch of overflow after flushing.

Now my friend --and designated second opinion-- was let down by the Jean-Doré beach experience, citing, among other concerns, the ability to see the other side of the beach. Mind you, he also grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the world, by the ocean in Scotland. So yes, if you were raised by a seaside location prominently featured in travel magazines, Parc Jean-Drapeau beach could very well disappoint.

All in all, Parc Jean-Drapeau beach has definite staycation value and the kids I saw that smoggy day didn't seem to care if they were by the shores of Ibiza or the side of a pond, content crafting sand canals and crumbling castles by the still water.