A suburb of Montreal, Longueuil is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River directly opposite it. It is a commercial, residential and industrial city, as well as being a historic city that dates back to 1657.
Longueuil is home to numerous attractions, although it is often overlooked by travellers. Especially due to its proximity to Montreal. But the city is worth exploring, even just for a day.
Lets explore the best things to do in Longueuil:
1. Spend a day cross-country skiing or hiking
No matter what time of the year it is, head to the massive 1,850,000 square metres Parc Michel-Chartrand. This is the largest and most popular park in the city; home to three lakes, a marsh, a playground and a lovely garden.
Parc Michel-Chartrand is best known for its 12.5 kilometre long cross-country skiing trail. It also features a sledding slope and an ice rink.
If you are visiting in nicer weather, be sure to enjoy its 10 kilometres of hiking trails. There are also picnic tables and pétanque terrains.
2. Visit a wildlife reserve
Boisé du Tremblay is a wooded area that sits at the very northeast edge of the city. It is an extremely bio-diverse area that has been protected by the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife.
The 267 hectares area is well worth visiting even if you are not a nature lover. It is home to some interesting wildlife, like the Western chorus frog, as well as a plethora of plant species.
There is a lovely trail that leads through Boisé du Tremblay that allows visitors to see all of its great flora and fauna. The trail is open year round and there is a car park at the start of it.
3. Listen to live music
No visit to Longueuil, or anywhere in its vicinity, is complete without going to the renowned International Percussion Festival. The festival takes place for 6 days every July and features over 500 musicians.
The International Percussion Festival is one of the most notable cultural events in the city, attracting over 200,000 people each year. Musicians from Quebec and other parts of the country takes part in the festival. There are also numerous international musicians that come each year.
Each year the theme at the four stage festival is different. One thing that stays the same is that it is always extremely enjoyable.
4. Visit an island
Charron Island is part of the Îles de Boucherville archipelago; sitting in the St. Lawrence River between Boucherville and Montreal. The island was once the property of French governor René Gaultier, but today it is a green space.
Charron Island is linked to Montreal and Longueuil by the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel. It is also the main access point to the rest of the archipelago.
The island is home to parks and greenery, as well as a lovely beach. The beach is accessible by road or by taking a ferry across the river.
5. Learn about Quebec’s history of great women
Musée De La Femme celebrates the women of the city and the rest of Quebec. It is part of the Women’s Museums Network, which brings awareness to the contribution of women in developing the world.
The museum has both permanent and temporary galleries, both of which displays photos, artwork, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia. There are also lectures and courses offered.
In addition to just strolling through the Musée De La Femme, you can also admire the actual building it is situated in. The building is a bungalow-style house on a quiet street that depicts the past role of women as home makers.
6. Spend an afternoon in a park
There are a few in Longueuil, but one of the most popular parks in the city is Parc de la Cité. This large park sits Saint-Hubert borough and features a lake, a large field and a hill that overlooks the park and the city.
If you are visiting in the summer, you can go cycling, rollerblading or hiking along its eight kilometres of trails. Visit Parc de la Cité in the winter and enjoy ice skating on the lake.
Parc de la Cité also hosts a few events each year, like the Fête nationale and the Lac en fête. It also shows films, holds concerts and has other entertainment that the entire family can enjoy.
7. Gaze at art
Longueuil has quite a present art scene, with more than enough for any art lover to enjoy. For starters, several of the parks and public buildings in the city have sculptures that showcase the work of local artists.
A catalogue of all of the art found around the city in public spaces can be found at the Société historique et culturelle du Marigot. This will makes it super easy to find each piece and to read about it and the artist.
If modern art is your thing, head to Plein Sud, which is a contemporary art and animation centre. The centre inspires young artists to show their creativity using different techniques, then showcases their work in the gallery.
8. Go to the mall
Place Longueuil is one of the largest shopping malls in the city. It sits on Rue Saint-Charles, which is Longueuil’s main commercial centre.
The mall has over 140 shops and services, some of which are known chain stores. These include boutiques like La Vie en Rose, Yves Rocher, Ardéne and Bentley.
If you get hungry while wandering around, there are a plethora of food options, most of which are fast-food. There are also a couple of sit down restaurants if you would prefer to rest and be waited on.
9. Explore the old city
Walk around Old Longueuil and enjoy the numerous historic buildings in the area. There are over 450 buildings in this part of the city, all of which date back to before 1945.
The main street in the area is Rue Saint-Charles, which is lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars. City Hall can also be found in Old Longueuil.
The most notable building in the area is the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue. This magnificent Gothic Revival church contains the archaeological remains of Fort Longueuil, which extends underneath the church.
10. Be at one with nature
The Gault Nature Reserve is a 1,000 hectare reserve that is operated my McGill University. The reserve is not in Longueil, but in Mont-Saint-Hilare, which is just to the east of the city.
The Gault Nature Reserve is a stunning area that protects the primeval forests and wildlife in the area. It features 25 kilometres of hiking trails, which is the best way to be at one with nature.
The reserve is open 365 days a year for visitors to enjoy. It is also used for teaching and research by the university’s Faculty of Science.
11. Head to Montreal
Anyone staying in Longueuil for any amount of time should definitely make a day trip out to Montreal. It is the second largest city in Canada and boasts a history rich in culture.
Montreal is pegged as the ‘Paris of Canada’ and it is not hard to see why. It is filled with magnificent landmarks, like Bonsecours Market, Notre-Dame Basilica and Château Ramezay.
Montreal is also a great place to go shopping, especially Downtown and in the Quartier Latin-Le Village. It also has a lively nightlife scene, with fabulous trendy bars, lounges and night clubs to enjoy.
12. Pamper yourself
Kick back, relax and have a spa day. There are a number of fantastic spas in Montreal where you can rejuvenate and get completely pampered.
Treatments like massage therapy, floating bath, cosy wraps and scrubs are available at different spas across the city. It is even possible to see an osteopath.
If you really want to spoil yourself, head to the Spa St. James located at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. You can’t get much better than this award-winning place.
13. Play a round of golf
There are no golf courses in Longueuil itself, but many in neighbouring suburbs. Hire a car and play at round at some of the best clubs in the province.
The Country Club of Montreal is one of the finest and one of the oldest, being established in 1910. It is a private 18-hole course that was recently redesigned by Roy Dye.
La Vallée du Richelieu Golf Club in Sainte-Julie is another noble club nearby. This 18-hole course opened in 1967 and since then has hosted numerous events, like the Canadian Open, the Peter Jackson Classic and the Montreal Championship.
14. Go skiing
Not too far from Longueuil in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville is the Ski Mont Saint-Bruno. This is an alpine ski facility that sits on the slopes of Mont Saint-Bruno.
The hill sits next to a quarry, at 175 metres tall. There are 15 runs, at all different levels, as well as offering night skiing.
Ski Mont Saint-Bruno is home to Canada’s largest ever ski school. There are over 500 ski instructors there every season to teach anyone that may need some help.
15. Walk along Victoria Avenue
This is a major road in the Saint-Lambert area of the city. The road extends from Riverside Drive to neighbouring Brossard.
Victoria Avenue was named after Queen Victoria, who was Canada’s Queen until 1901. There are over 70 businesses lined along the road, many of which are shops.
The section of the street between Riverside Drive and the Saint-Lambert railway station is a well-known shopping strip that is known to locals as ‘Le Village’. The street is also doted with cafés, restaurants and bistros.