A rare pocket of green in a built-up part of downtown Montreal, Champ de Mars served as a military parade ground and city parking lot before it was converted into a park in the 1980s. During the conversion, workers unearthed remains from Montreal’s old fortifications, and parts of the restored city walls were incorporated into the site.
While many travelers explore the park independently, viewing the restored city walls and unwinding on the grassy lawns, guided walking tours of Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) offer greater historical insight. These tours typically bring participants to Champ de Mars, as well as other key sights in the vicinity such as Notre-Dame Basilica, Place Jacques-Cartier, and Bonsecours Market.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Champ de Mars is an ideal place to take a break from sightseeing, with benches allowing visitors to rest their legs.
- Bring along a picnic to enjoy on the grass.
- The Champ-de-Mars metro station is wheelchair accessible, as is the park itself, though snow and slush can hamper access in winter.
How to Get There
Champ de Mars is situated in Old Montreal, about a 5-minute walk from the Old Port of Montreal. Take the Orange Line metro to the Champ-de-Mars stop.
When to Get There
The best time to visit is summer, when the park’s green lawn makes an inviting place to sit down and relax. For much of winter and early spring (usually between December and April), the park is covered in snow.
What to See Nearby
Champ de Mars is near several well-known city attractions. Important municipal institutions including Montreal City Hall and the Palais de Justice courthouse border the park. Just a short stroll away, you’ll find Place Jacques-Cartier, a historic city square bordered by bistros and cafés and a common stomping ground for street performers and caricature drawers. Ramezay Castle (Chateau Ramezay), the 18th-century home of French governors and now a history museum, is also within easy walking distance of the park.