Photo cred - Feather Saturnfly ***Yes, we know Clydes is now The Pioneer, we just miss it so much though.
When deciding what to do with your friends on the weekend, the West Island is often overlooked. Considered by most to be one big boring suburb, people don’t often think of coming out to the island to spend their free time. But the West Island can be a great place to visit and here are ten places why downtowners should make time to visit the West end of the island.
1. Wild Willy’s
20 Cartier, Pointe-Claire
If you’ve ever tried Wild Willy’s ice cream, then you know there’s nothing on island (or off) quite like it. With fun flavours like Beer Stout, and a specially designed flavour for dogs, Wild Willy’s is worth the trip from downtown. And if creative ice cream wasn’t enough, they also offer a dish called the King King; fifteen scoops of ice cream served in a plastic safari hat.
2. Morgan Arboretum
McGill University Macdonald Campus, Ste. Anne de Bellevue
If you’re looking to escape the noise of the big city then you should consider coming out to the Morgan Arboretum. Located on the McGill University Macdonald Campus near John Abbott College, this forested reserve is open year long for hikers, and cross country skiers, looking to get in touch with nature. Additionally, the arboretum is home to over 220 different species of animals.
Photo cred - Mike Foote
3. The Saint Anne’s Car Show
150 Chemin des Pins, Ste. Anne de Bellevue
If you’re a fan of classic muscle cars and hot rods, then you don’t want to miss the Saint Anne’s Car Show taking place by the Ste. Anne boardwalk on June 13th. The event is free to attend and is a great way to spend a Saturday with some friends. In addition to seeing the cars, there are all kinds of great restaurants to enjoy, and boutiques to visit, while spending a day out in the sun.
4. Le Panier
274 Lakeshore, Pointe-Claire
Speaking of cool boutiques, if you’re looking for a fun place to shop and pick up some unusual items, then you should definitely check out Le Panier in the Pointe-Claire village. From cool gift ideas, and useful kitchen gadgets, to food you won’t be able to find anywhere else, Le Panier is a fun place to stop on your way through the Pointe-Claire village.
21125 Chemin Ste-Marie, Ste. Anne de Bellevue
The only zoo on the West Island, the Ecomuseum is the place to go to see over 110 species native to Quebec in their natural habitats. In addition to being able to see the animals in their natural environments, the Ecomuseum also offers a series of lectures and presentations for people to enjoy about Quebec wildlife.
6. Lachine Fur Trade
1255 Saint Joseph Boulevard, Lachine
If you happen to be a history buff, or a fan of more interactive museums, then you should be sure to plan an outing with your friends to the Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site. Not only do they have a permanent exhibit, but they also have activities for people to participate in (like exploring the history of the fur trade in a hands on environment).
7. Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park
20099 Gouin Boulevard West, Montreal
Bordering on Pierrefonds-Roxboro and L’Ile Bizard-Sainte-Genevieve (so it’s technically on the West Island), this is the only beach on the West Island still open to the public. It’s also one of the largest parks in Montreal, with 30km of nature trails, and also sports an organic farm on the property. If you’re trying to think of something fun to do this summer, or if you just want to get away from it all, Cap-Saint-Jacques is definitely the place to be.
Photo cred - Jump City
77 Brunswick Boulevard, Dollard des Ormeaux
Do you like trampolines? Do you like dodgeball? Do you like laser tag? Then you’re sure to love Skytag. A massive indoor trampoline park, and the only in the West Island, Skytag not only lets people bounce around for fun, but they have organized games of sky dodgeball (aka dodgeball on trampolines). If that wasn’t fun enough, they’re currently building a two-story, 7000 square foot, laser tag arena that’s due to open this April. Awesome.
9. The West Island Villages
Pointe-Claire, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, and Beaurepaire
If you love the feel of a small town, mom and pop shops, old buildings, and restaurants that serve home cooked food, then you should take the time to explore some of the older villages on the West Island. From the Pointe-Claire village that overlooks Lac St-Louis, to the Beaurepaire village in Beaconsfield, the West Island has some of the quaintest villages with unique shops, and antique stores. If you’re looking to spend a day strolling through a small town, enjoying the sun, these West Island villages are the place to be.
10. Maison Bramble House
45 Donegani Avenue, Pointe-Claire
If you’re looking for some hard to find British foods, then you should come out to the West Island and check out Maison Bramble House. Located in the Valois village of Pointe-Claire, Maison Bramble House carries a wide range of imports including authentic (albeit disgusting) Marmite. A fun place to browse for some hard-to-find UK items, Maison Bramble House is worth a visit.