ManAboutMTL

Cruising on the Season's Best

When it comes to the weather,  Montrealers just can't be fooled, and are all-too familiar with the feeling of September unceremoniously...

When it comes to the weather, Montrealers just can't be fooled, and are all-too familiar with the feeling of September unceremoniously shuffling summer out of the city. For some time now, we've bid farewell to those glorious 9pm sunsets and braced ourselves for that unmentionable other season only a few months away. Except that this fall could just prove to be a one-of-a-kind standout. The late break of a couple heat waves, and some extended warm weather in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are making us especially grateful for Mother Nature's sunny, pleasant goodness. 


We know you're determined to take full advantage of every season, and so one surefire way to continue enjoying the outdoors with family and friends, even well into the fall, is a day on a boat discovering the natural beauty of the waterways surrounding our city. Picture it: the wind whipping through your hair, the sound of the motor as it cuts through the water, and the unparalleled (not to mention Insta-worthy!) perspective of MTL's skyline from both the St. Lawrence and Lac Saint-Louis. You begin in the Old Port and head down the Lachine Canal at a leisurely clip before zipping past the lighthouse to Dorval Island. Or perhaps you'd like to go the other way, under the Jacques Cartier Bridge past the iconic man-made islands of St. Hélène and Notre Dame? 

With food, drinks, and friends onboard, you're living a unique cottage experience that's literally minutes from downtown and more accessible than you think. Indeed, living on an island has its privileges, and with a slew of marinas dotting its perimeter and facilities offering daylong boat rentals and lessons, the question isn't 'from where should we leave?', it's 'which side do we want to see first?'

     

Before getting started, one rumour you need to cast overboard right away is that boating is an expensive and elitist pursuit accessible to few: thinking this way is to wrongly equate it with the mega-yacht paradises bobbing in the port of Monaco. Nonetheless, realizing the boating dream of your own means getting informed, and Discover Boating is your one-stop web reference for it ALL. 



Presented by Canada's Recreational Boating Industry, both veteran captains and novice passengers will get inspired for their next (or first!) outing, and benefit from a site chock-full of info. Ever thought about one day purchasing your own pleasure craft? The simple, comprehensive layout lays out all the details: from required licenses and choosing the right vessel, to maintenance, care, and storage. Of course, if you want to test drive first they have advice on renting as well.

But besides the requisite planning and logistics, the real joy comes with connecting with those you've invited along while getting acquainted with Montreal's aquatic surrounds. We jumped on the chance to experience this first hand when a media group joined a guided excursion for an al fresco day trip to the Boucherville Islands on a posh 24-foot Yamaha jet boat. The sun was in full force as we sped by the clock tower beach and along the port past the Olympic Stadium and quaint, New England-style homes in Longueuil on the South Shore side of the river. Other scenic routes and marinas were pointed out by our engaging guides and, while nimbly manoeuvring us to the destination and back, our captain Marc Vassilian shared both his passion and expertise which had us excitedly planning our next day afloat.


 


 

     
    
We anchored in one of the narrow passages that cut through the islands, alongside other groups out for a day in the sun - some romantic couples enjoying time alone, some families with kids splashing about,some party dudes with their own music going - and proceeded to enjoy a delightful catered lunch that organizers had arranged, complete with chilled white wine and beer that went down super easy. Our only regret? Not packing a swimsuit! The water was too inviting, yet we had to content ourselves with watching others take full advantage of their boat's back swim platform to dive off into sheer refreshment.


After all, when it comes to boating, the end of the dock is the beginning of everything...


D.H.

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