The Lachine Canal, which runs 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) from Montreal’s Old Port to Lake St. Louis, was built in 1824 to allow ships to bypass the dangerous Lachine Rapids. Today, the canal is lined with parks, bike paths, public art, and bustling residential neighborhoods, as well as the Fur Trade National Historic Site.
Old Montreal walking tours often include views of the Lachine Canal and adjacent St. Lawrence River. Guided boat tours provide guests with background on the canal’s little-known history, while paddleboat, kayak, and canoe rentals are a popular choice for those who want a closer look at its natural landscape.
The Lachine Canal bike path runs the entire length of the waterway and is one of its most popular features. Bicycle tours that highlight Old Montreal often include the path, as well as Atwater Market and the Old Port. Visitors and locals can also explore the bike path using Montreal’s BIXI bike-share program.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Lachine Canal is a must for active travelers and nature lovers.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as neighborhoods and paths along the canal are best explored on foot or by bicycle.
- Boat tours typically run from May to September due to frozen river conditions during the winter months.
- Public restrooms are available in Atwater Market and René Lévesque Park, at either end of the canal’s bike path.
How to Get There
Since Lachine Canal runs 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) along Montreal’s shoreline, there are a number of landmarks that provide easy access points, including Montreal’s Old Port and Atwater Market. If traveling to the Fur Trade National Historic Site by car, take Route 720 to Route 20 and exit towards Rue Richmond. Buses 191, 195, and 496 from downtown Montreal stop in Lachine, a 10-minute walk from the National Historic Site.
When to Get There
Lachine Canal is busiest during the warm-weather months, from May to September. Go in the early morning for a quiet ride or walk along the bike path. Boating, canoeing, and other water activities are off-limits during winter when the water is frozen over. Lachine Canal hosts a range of events throughout the spring and summer, including the Montreal Folk Fest and Lachine Half Marathon. A full calendar is available on the Parcs Canada website.
Fur Trade National Historic Site
The Fur Trade National Historic Site, one of Montreal’s hidden gems, is located at the westernmost point of Lachine Canal. While the historic stone warehouse was built in 1803, fur traders first began launching their boats and canoes from this site in the 17th century. Now a museum, the stone warehouse is located in a tranquil park on the banks of the Lachine Canal and is open daily.