04 Jun 2024

Time 10 minutes

Summer Family Fun: A Weekend in Old Montreal

Summer Family Fun: A Weekend in Old Montreal

“School’s out for summer!” goes the song. Wondering what to do to keep your kids busy while sharing great moments that become precious memories? We have everything it takes in Old Montreal to get them moving, eating well, laughing and learning!


Start your visit off with the Pointe-à-Callière Museum’s featured exhibition, Olmecs and the Civilizations of the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first time in Canada that what is considered the oldest of Mesoamerican civilizations is being presented in this way, and the museum cordially invites you to “delve into some 4,000 years of history, exchanges, and cultural traditions.” Did the exhibition spark your child’s curiosity? Pay a visit to the museum boutique for an educational souvenir to mark the moment!

As you leave Pointe-à-Callière, head toward Place d’Youville for a lovely stroll under the trees and into our fair city’s history. To learn more about the ground you’re walking on and Montreal’s role in 19th-century Canada, you can download the free Educational Booklet for your child in advance, created by the Pointe-à-Callière Museum. Click on the “Montréal, Capital of the Province of Canada, 1844-1849” tab, or feel free to browse through all their fascinating guides, an activity that in itself could keep the kids busy all summer!

If your family is more the scouting kind and you’d prefer to be outside to begin your excursion, a Family Scavenger Hunt with Guidatour is an excellent choice. The tour lasts 2 hours, and for $255 (tax included, 10 people max), enjoy not only an adventure to remember, but a snack for each participant as well as a prize for the winners. Winners, you ask? After a brief presentation by your guide, the challenge, should you accept it, is “to accumulate the most points in a limited time by correctly answering all the questions”. Good luck, and don’t forget to reserve!

Oops! Did you forget to bring their little cap? No worries, Artisans Canada has you covered with its super-cute collection just for children. We love their designs, not to mention the fact that we’re buying local. More into bucket hats? Head to Mon Shack au Québec for some adorable ones for 0 to 6-year-olds.

It’s lunchtime! Burger fan? Stop by Yumi. Pizza fan? Stop by Slice + Soda. Fan of the great panini? Your place is Bello Deli. And if you’re in the mood for tacos, 3 Amigos also has a kids’ menu!

Now that you’re fully recharged, set your sights towards the river and head on over to SOS Labyrinthe. Let’s see if you have what it takes to avoid those dead ends, overcome obstacles and find the 4 Treasures of the Longshoremen as you make your way along the labyrinth’s “2 km of fun!”. A great activity where parent-child collaboration promises lots of laughs and a guaranteed good time! Good to know: public restrooms are open and at your disposal inside the building.

You’ve (finally!) made it out safe and sound? Excellent! This definitely calls for some ice cream. Just a few steps away, Mlle Catherine Place Jacques-Cartier offers a sweet selection of must-try artisanal ice creams with something for everyone. We go for the fun flavours on offer as well as the service, not to mention the Parc de la Dauversière right nearby, a perfect spot for some well-earned lounging in the shade. More of a Beaver Tails type? Just walk a little further along Rue De La Commune and there you have them!

If you’ve come equipped, you will no doubt want to do a little “pointing and shooting” on the free pétanque courts set up under the trees of the very same De La Commune. Otherwise, stroll on over to Place d’Armes and, if you happen to be looking for some pretty postcards to send to your loved ones, be sure to make a stop at Marché St-Laurent, where they also boast a fine selection of items, including small local souvenirs fit for every budget. Still need to burn off a little energy? Book yourselves a quadricycle ride along the river for some four-wheelin’ fun as you roll in the sun!

For dinner, Les 3 Brasseurs on Saint-Paul Street is always a great option, where the whole family is sure to find something to smile about. For kids under 10 years old, the menu at $10,75 offers a choice between cheese tarti-flamm, grilled chicken, mini burgers, etc. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy a wide selection of food and drink in a warm and relaxed atmosphere.

Next up, magic. And for this, two solid options are available to you. First, allow yourselves to be transported by Cirque Éloize! With the immersive Bon Voyage, which will be playing from July 3 to August 12, find yourselves in the 19th century and prepare to embark on the very first Canadian voyage by train all the way to British Columbia, indeed as if you were actually there! This “immersive 60-minute family-friendly show that combines live arts, acrobatics and 360° projection mapping” is definitely a highlight you will want to share with your children. Want to set the stage for your experience? Have a listen to the show’s podcast, a cultural initiative prepared for the occasion and supported by the SDC Vieux-Montréal.

Until mid-July, the Cirque du Soleil and its KURIOS show is certain to simply dazzle you! Poetic and funny, with a cabinet of curiosities theme, this performance invites us to enter a whimsical world where fantastical creatures of all kinds come to life. We insist you do not hesitate; the production’s grandiose staging alone is a sight to be seen.

Where to sleep? Several options are available to you across the old quarter, whether it be a hotel or apartment. The Sanders Group has recently opened up new accommodations where you can find all the comfort of home as well as separate rooms.


For breakfast, Le Marquis, with its delectable croissants, chocolatines and assorted viennoiseries that pair beautifully with a nice hot chocolate, is just the perfect spot. It’s also the perfect way to get energized for yet another amazing day!

For your morning program, begin with a visit to the Château Ramezay, which opens its doors at 10 A.M. On a guided or self-guided tour (many thanks to their multimedia circuit, which answers pretty much all the “why?”, “who is that?” and “when was that?” type of questions that the kids are guaranteed to ask), immerse yourselves in the rich and fascinating history of Quebec! “Built in the 18th century under the French regime, the Château Ramezay is one of the rare witnesses to that era” reads their website. As much for the building as what lies inside, by all means do not overlook this cherished historical institution. Good to know: admission is free for children 4 and under, $6 (tax included) for ages 5-17, and the family package (1 to 2 adults and up to 3 children) comes to $29.

Next, we’re off to discover Old Montreal in full-on “eco-explorer mode”! The Château Ramezay has put together a Nature Hunt Booklet, a free downloadable guide to help your child compare the before and now of the historic quarter’s natural green spaces as they learn about the evolution of Old Montreal. A playful yet studious way, upon leaving the museum, to make the fun last and explore the neighbourhood while reflecting on the future as well as the greenery!

Up for a lunchtime crêpe? Not too far from the Château Ramezay, there are 3 must-try options that beckon: Muru Crêpe with their incredible salads like the M12 (with egg, grilled vegetables, mozzarella and choice of ham, sausage or bacon), as well as some sinfully sweet things like their crême brûlée crêpe (oh yes!); Crêperie Saint-Paul with its portions as delicious as they are generous; or Crêperie Chez Suzette, which boasts a pleasant terrasse, most ideally located.

Leave your mark and be a part of history! The Marguerite-Bourgeoys Historic Site is celebrating the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel’s 250-year anniversary with expo two five zero - 1 chapel, 15 artists, which invites visitors to “explore the architectural evolution of the building over the decades, from its modest beginnings to its current grandeur, making it a true living work of art”, exactly the original idea behind this exhibition. 14 professional artists have shared their vision, and the 15th artist is… the public! Thanks to this collaborative work, you also have the opportunity to convey your thoughts and express how you feel about this historic chapel. A splendid idea for younger generations to honour the past while both being in the present and looking to the future.

Great visit, great times, and now for some pure adrenaline! To the Old Port’s MTL Zipline! As you leave the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Historic Site, turn immediately onto Rue Bonsecours or pass in front of (or through, for the cool air, restrooms and pretty boutiques) the emblematic Marché Bonsecours, then go down Rue du Marché Bonsecours until you reach the zipline. If you want more of “Old Montreal, seen from above”, the Grande Roue is just a few steps away, while the Voiles en Voiles offers a pirate-themed aerial adventure course, a guaranteed blast for your little buccaneers!

Prefer to stay on the ground and do you have an inquiring mind? Then don’t hesitate to get straight on down to the Montreal Science Centre! First, the permanent exhibitions just always have a way of demystifying science, and they do so brilliantly. Next, there are the temporary exhibitions like – attention budding gardeners! – The Techno Garden, an experience that goes to the heart of urban agriculture and investigates how technology can support green initiatives and be of service to nature. Also, little gourmets will never see their plates the same way with Banquet, an interactive exhibition that invites you to “start in the kitchen and move into the dining room for a journey where you’ll roll some dough, try daring taste combinations, and explore flavours and aromas”.

Is it ice cream time again? Don’t think twice and just make your way over to CA LEM, where those with a small craving can opt for a scoop or two, while the more ambitious can dive right into a whole frosty pint! For those who love the classics, their vanilla, chocolate and strawberry will surely delight, and if you’re in the mood for a little novelty, their yuzu, taro and Vietnamese coffee simply have to be tried!

Already time to go? Please don’t be sad and just think of your next visit; there’s still so much more to explore, taste, visit and experience, so how about for now we simply say à bientôt!

Photos: Sara Megan - Sébastien Roy - 3 Amigos - Slice + Soda - Mlle Catherine - SOS Labyrinthe

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