The Quebec city of Laval covers the entire islands of Île Jésus and Îles Laval. The city is Montreal’s largest suburb, sitting just to the north of it. Still, it is a municipality in its own right, as well as being Canada’s thirteenth largest city.
Laval is a large city with a lot of history and charm. It is often missed for neighbouring Montreal, though it should not be overlooked. Laval is home to numerous attractions and activities, and you could easily spend 3 or 4 days here. If you are thinking about visiting the city, be sure to check out the 15 best things to do in Laval.
1. Ride in a spaceship
The Cosmodome is home to one of five of the world’s space camps; Space Camp Canada. It is also home to the Space Science Centre.
Children between the ages of 9 and 15 can enrol in space camp and will actually get the chance to ride in a spaceship; a simulated one. Space Camp Canada also has other activities to get the kids ready for outer space.
The Space Science Centre is great for everyone, especially those interested in space. It has a life-sized space shuttle cockpit on display, as well as a real lunar rock.
2. Visit a park
Centre de la nature is an outstanding 50 hectare park that is open throughout the entire year. It is a fantastic place for nature lovers or anyone that wants to spend some time surrounded by natural beauty.
This is the largest park in Laval, which was built on an old quarry. Its stunning gardens were created in 1984, though since then they have expanded and today there are numerous new gardens at the park.
In addition to gardens, Centre de la nature is also home to numerous farm animals. It also offers activities all year, including hiking, tobogganing, skating, picnicking, fishing and cross-country skiing.
3. Go skydiving, indoors
Get your adrenaline pumping at SkyVenture Montreal; an indoor skydiving centre. It is a safe way to skydive without having to get on a plane and jump out into the open sky.
SkyVenture Montreal houses a glass panelled wind tunnel that compresses air and sends wind from 50 km/h to 300 km/h. This is enough wind to allow you to float in the chamber, as if you were free-falling in the sky.
A great thing about this place is that it can even accommodate those with reduced mobility. There are also no weight restrictions, so no matter how large you are you can have a go at indoor skydiving.
4. Pick vegetables and berries
From June to October you can pick fresh vegetables and berries at Sauriol Farm. The farm is family owned and operated, and has been for the past 4 generations.
Visit the farm and pick berries, tomatoes, eggplants, onions and sweet peppers. What you pick depends on the month that you visit.
If self-picking doesn’t appeal to you, there is also a market onsite where you can get fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, freshly baked bread, maple syrup, fresh cheese and various other food items.
5. Enjoy the outdoors
The Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is the perfect place to escape the city centre and enjoy the outdoors. The park is a natural oasis, home to lots of flora and fauna native to the area.
Within the park is a 155-kilometre trail that will lead you through forest and marshes. The trail extends all the way from the Ottawa River region to the Lanaudière region, passing through Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles along the way.
The park can be visited year-round, with plenty of activities being offered. If you visit in the summer, you can go boating, fishing, paddling and hiking. Come in the winter and enjoy ice skating, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing.
6. Head to a festival
There are a number of great annual festivals and events in Laval that happen throughout the year. These are mostly cultural events, although there are also a few that focus on family and even the environment.
One of the most popular is the Mondial Loto-Québec de Laval, which is a summer music festival that focuses predominately on choir music. Recently the festival also started bringing in other types of musicians, including Aerosmith and Sarah McLachlan.
Other big events in Laval include Fête nationale du Québec and Fête de la famille. Laval also participates in Earth Day.
7. Go shopping
There are a few major shopping malls in Laval, with the largest being Carrefour Laval. This is actually the largest mall in the Montreal area, having over 300 shops that are spread across one level.
Centre Laval is another large shopping mall, though it is only half the size of Carrefour Laval. This mall has around 150 shops and services spread across 65,000 square metres.
For a more local experience, head to Marché public 440. This is a public market that sells high quality fresh food as well as cooked gourmet meals. There is even a fabulous wine shop onsite.
8. Listen to music
The L’Orchestre symphonique de Laval (OSL) is the best place to do this. The orchestra has been running since 1984 and is led by one of Canada’s leading conductors; Alain Trudel.
There are 53 musicians in the orchestra, as well as a resident composer. Together, some beautiful music is played that can be heard throughout the year.
Other concerts and performances are also held at L’Orchestre symphonique de Laval. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
9. Head to a golf course
If golfing is your thing you will not be bored in Laval. There are a few golf courses in the city that are great for any avid golfer.
Sainte-Rose Golf Club is a lovely 18-hole course that also has a practice green and offers equipment rental. The Saint-François Golf Club boasts two 18-hole courses set amongst trees, flowers and man-made lakes.
The private Club Laval-sur-le-Lac is a prestigious club that was designed by Willie Park Jr. If you can’t get in, head to Le Cardinal Golf Club.
10. Jump on a trampoline
iSaute is a 7,000 square metre warehouse that has been converted into a massive trampoline centre. It is an extreme centre that is fun for everyone, but especially great if you are visiting Laval with the kids. It even has a special area just for toddlers.
There are a number of different trampolines here, as well as activities played within them. You can just jump around during its open jump times, or you can play dodgeball, ski or try a bounceboard.
If you are a night owl, visit iSaute on a Friday or Saturday night and jump with the lights turned down, while lasers and black lights light up the space.
11. Learn about the importance of water
The Centre d’interprétation de l’eau (C.I.EAU) is a centre dedicated to teaching people about the importance of water. It does this through exhibits and activities that are aimed to appeal to all ages, even kids.
Exhibits at the centre show you how water travels from the rivers to the taps of the city, including the purification process. It also hosts special programs, like taking people to visit the purification plants.
The Centre d’interprétation de l’eau is open to the public all year. Guided tours last 90-minutes, but you can also explore the centre on your own.
12. Taste Wine
The Château Taillefer Lafon vineyard is one of Quebec’s largest vineyard. It is also the first one to be authorised to use ‘Château’ in its name.
Take a tour of the beautiful vineyard and taste some of its most distinctive wines. Finish the tour off by purchasing a bottle to take home with you.
Château Taillefer Lafon produces white, rosé and red wines, as well as sparkling and fortified white wine. It also makes a fantastic ice cider.
13. Fly on a trapeze
Trapèze Le Voltigeur is a fun and safe place to spend an afternoon flying on a trapeze. It is one of the largest trapeze centres in the country, with courses being offered every day.
Make a reservation and then head to the Trapèze Le Voltigeur and learn this fun and exciting art form. Instructors are extremely experienced and ensure your safety at all times.
You will spend 2 hours learning and flying through the air on a trapeze. Afterwards, you can relax in the lounge.
14. Be a pilot for a day
The extremely realistic Aerosim Experience is a flight simulator equipped with the latest technology. It is a truly unforgettable experience, as you get the chance to be a pilot for a day.
There are over 24,000 destinations that you can fly to in the simulator, which features a full-scale replica of a real cockpit. Fly a Boeing 737-800 NG to the destination of your choice.
If you would prefer to be a jet pilot, try the F16 Fighting Falcon. Two pilots can do this together, going on a mission somewhere in the world.
15. Go to church
Just to the north of Laval in Saint-Eustache is the Church of Saint-Eustache. This is one of the most famous churches in the Montreal region.
The Roman Catholic church dates back to 1783 and today is both a heritage building and a national heritage site. The original church was burnt during the rebellion, but was restored in 1850.
It is known not only because of the Battle of Saint-Eustache, but also for its phenomenal acoustics. In fact, the Orchester Symphonique de Montréal often uses the church as a recording studio.