If anything good has come from COVID-19, it's a deeper appreciation of the great outdoors. That's why the annual Perseid meteor shower is a must-watch this summer — and, Montreal, get ready because it's going to peak Tuesday night.
The best part? All you have to do is gaze up at the sky for a dazzling display of shooting stars (between 50 and 100 meteors an hour, according to NASA)... or possibly even some fireballs.
No need for a telescope. No need for binoculars. And no need to spend a dime.
If you weren't able to snag tickets to a fancy viewing party, simply grab your eyeballs (which should already be in your eye sockets), and maybe a blanket, and head somewhere with low light pollution.
NASA says ideal viewing happens in the hours before dawn, but you could see meteors as early as 10 p.m.
Unfortunately, Montreal is one of the worst cities in the world for light pollution. But we found a few spots that are close enough to the city centre yet dark enough to provide you with a pretty good view of nature's fireworks.
Be sure to always respect these parks' opening and closing hours.
It may be located on a former quarry and landfill, but the vast green landscape is perfect for stargazing.
The park is open until midnight every day, giving you a few good hours to search for meteors.
Parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation
On the shores of the Rivière des Prairies, there are plenty of idyllic places to enjoy the night sky.
Note that the park is only open from sunrise to sunset, so you'll have to get there right on time to try to get a glimpse of the Perseids.
You'll need to tag along with a member (members have "privileged access to the site from dawn to dusk") to get in to catch a glimpse of the Perseids as the sun rises, but it's well worth it to access "the darkest skies on the Island of Montreal."
Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies
This 261-hectare urban green space located at the eastern end of the island is a paradise for nature-lovers and meteor chasers.
Note that the park is only open from sunrise to sunset, so you'll have to get there right on time to try to get a last glimpse of the Perseids.
Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques
Located in the western part of the Island of Montreal, this peninsula offers stellar views of the Rivière des Prairies and Lac des Deux Montagnes beneath the twinkling stars.
Note that the park is only open from 7 a.m. to sunset, so you'd be cutting it close, but it might be one of the best shots you've got in the city.
It looks like it might rain Tuesday night. But don't worry. The peak lasts a few days and will still be visible on August 12 and 13. Plus, the folks at EarthSky.org suggest checking out this meteor shower after the peak, too.
Moonlight interferes with visibility, so on August 18, when there's a new moon, why not take a second or third or fourth glance upward to marvel at something beautiful?
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment and obey any local laws.