It’s a Walk in the Park, by Niem Huynh

This article was written as part of the Peter-McGill Community Council’s Citizen Journalism project, which aims to raise the voices of local residents, students and friends of the neighbourhood through writing, photos, videos and podcasting. If you would like to contribute please get in touch at communicationpic@petermcgill.org or 514-424-6614

Peter-McGill is an exciting district, nestled between buildings, with verdant trees, a diverse population and lots of summer activities for families. There’s something else about this district that is so “moving”: there are abundant walking routes, ranging from easy to challenging strolls.

This interactive map shows just a few examples of walking routes for any season. Click on each coloured route for a short description and an accompanying photo. The map assumes a central location at the corner of Guy and St. Catherine and shows walking paths from there.  Ready to go for a walk?

Route to Mont Royal (red line on the map): One of my favourite routes is heading straight up to Mont Royal. From Guy and St. Catherine, it is a slow uphill on Guy Sst. going north, until you reach Pins St. This first portion of the walk can take between 15-25 minutes, depending on your pace. If you are pushing a stroller, be sure that the brake handle works, you may want to take advantage of that mechanism. Once you’ve caught your breath, walk east along Pins St. You pass by a daycare, a private school, residential space and some trees. After about 15 – 20 minutes on the path and crossing a traffic light, you will see a gravel path on the north side of Pins St.  Travel along this route and after (another) 30 minutes, you will be at the peak of Mont Royal. 

Easy walk through urban architecture (orange line on the map): At the central location, continue west along De Maisonneuve Blvd. You will see that this street offers a scenic stroll through various buildings, businesses, educational institutions, and residential homes. Along the way, there are many resting spots and places to run errands in the Alexis Nihon. Keep walking and you’ll chance upon the Westmount neighbourhood, lined with trees that offer shade. The atmosphere is generally quiet of both pedestrians and car traffic. At the end of this 30-35 minute walk, the reward is a green space, Westmount Park. As an alternative mode of transportation, bike lanes areis another way to travel along this route. 

Urban walk in the heart of Montreal (green line on the map): Walk east from the central location and the scenery changes rapidly. The concrete jungle of tall bank buildings tower over Rene Levesque Blvd. During rush hours, it is bustling with people, bicycles and cars. Along the way, two parks sprout up at the corner of Peel St. and Rene Levesque Blvd. If you continue walking, the Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde offers a quiet place to reflect and pause along this walk (south side of Rene Levesque Blvd). The walk from the central location to the church takes about 15 minutes. 

Explore an old neighbourhood in Montreal (blue  line on the map): A number of parallel streets just south of the 720 autoroute offer a glimpse of the rich history and houses that still populate these areas. Going south along Guy St., be careful of the slight decline. I’ve chosen St. Jacques St for its diverse shops and architecture along the way, just far enough from the noise of the highway. What’s appealing along this walk is the verdant atmosphere given by the numerous trees that line the road. It is really a path for all seasons – the trees offer shape in the summer, the 0-degree incline poses fewer slip-and-fall opportunities. There is a school not too far from St. Jacques St., so the autumn is colourful with the changing foliage and energy of the youngsters. The spring is a reminder of life, when the trees blossom.

As a special bonus, see if you can create a walk through Peter-McGill that includes some of these gems: the mural of Leonard Cohen, a playground for children/dog park, grocery store (there are a variety of stores that carry ethnic foods like Chinese, Korean, and Iranian foods) and a place for a cool/warm beverages. 

Before we bid farewell, knowing that our paths may cross on future walks, go enjoy the beauty of our district. It is truly a splendid mix of urban and natural landscapes, ideal for all seasons.