Picnicking In Montreal Parks Involves Actual Laws — Here's How To Avoid Tickets

Hammocks are technically not allowed in many parks?!

Staff Writer
Montrealers hang out in a park in the Old Port.

Montrealers hang out in a park in the Old Port.

It's park season, and that means fun, food and regulations! Yay! Montreal has many rules for conduct and behaviour in its public parks, lots of which could be considered "annoying" or "not in the spirit of fun," but all of which are designed to protect both the people who attend parks and the natural life that resides in them. Many of the most important rules and regulations vary by park, so it's good practice to double-check your specific park on Montreal's municipal website before you go.

In the meantime, though, here's a handy set of common questions about park rules in Montreal, which you can use as a quick guide if you don't want to spend 15 minutes scrolling through the Outremont borough bylaws on your phone.

What are Montreal's rules for grilling and cookouts in parks?

Generally speaking, grills are allowed in the picnic areas of many parks across the island. Many larger parks, such as Parc Angrignon, permit bringing and using your own butane or propane gas grills in areas where signs permit it. Charcoal grills are also allowed in picnic areas of larger parks. Several larger parks have their own public charcoal grills, which anyone can use.

For neighbourhood parks, it's up to each borough to determine whether grilling is allowed, so the best practice is to check this city site to verify the regulations in your area. In the Plateau-Mont-Royal, for example, charcoal grills are forbidden, while propane gas grills are allowed in labelled picnic areas.

Remember to leave no trace, so bring your gas tanks with you, don't leave them in the park, even if they're empty. If you're using a charcoal grill, remember to put your ashes and used coals in ash cans, not just on the ground or in a normal trashcan. That's how you start a fire — and not the fun kind.

Can you drink alcohol in a Montreal park?

The short answer is "yes, sometimes." If you're having a meal in a picnic area, you are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages with it. If you're just chilling anywhere else with a 40 and a bag of chips, be prepared to potentially face down a bored city cop on the off-chance they care enough to say something about it.

You can also get a permit for a special event that allows the consumption of alcohol, but still only in the designated areas.

Can you bring game equipment to Montreal parks?

You can bring equipment for small games, but larger pieces of event furniture such as a "canopy, generator, [or] inflatable games," are often not allowed, even during registered public events.

You're also technically not allowed to hang anything from the trees in many Montreal parks, including hammocks and slacklines. Does this stop anyone? Perhaps not. But be aware of the restrictions in whatever park you're choosing to hang stuff in before you go wild, and also ensure you don't damage the trees during you time there.

Can you smoke in Montreal parks?

You can't consume weed in any public place in Montreal — not on the sidewalks, not in parks, not on the street. Does it still happen? Absolutely. But it's explicitly against the law. Whether stoners have ever cared much for the law is an entirely different question.

Cigarettes, on the other hand, are allowed in some boroughs' parks. There's no provincial law against smoking in parks, but you're not allowed to smoke near a children's play area or a sports field. Yes, this includes vaping. Check for signage to make sure the borough you're in doesn't ban smoking, and otherwise go forth and conquer.

Are pets allowed at parks in Montreal?

Dogs must be on leashes, but many if not most parks allow them. Dog parks are technically the only space where your pet can run free, and there should be one in every borough, so you'll never be too far from a quick play session. For cats and other creatures, leashes are probably still a good idea.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Creator for MTL Blog, often found covering weird and wonderful real estate and local politics from her home base in Montreal.