A popular and enjoyable activity is to take a boat tour on the Saint Lawrence River (Fleuve Saint-Laurent). The Saint Lawrence is one of the world’s great rivers. It is 1,200 km long, flowing from the five Great Lakes in the middle of North America to the Atlantic Ocean. It starts 250 metres above sea level and over 10,000 cubic metres of water flow by every second.
The river is very important to Montreal, which is actually on an island in the middle of this huge river. You can enjoy the river in the Old Port or at other parks by the river, but taking a river cruise is fun. An easy and cheap way to get a short trip on the river is to take the ferry from the Old Port to Saint Helen’s Island. It runs every day in the summer.
There are several other companies that have boat tours and cruises on the river.
- Croisières AML has tours, party and dinner cruises and others from the Old Port.
- Evasion Plus Croisières has tours, dinner cruises, cruises for the fireworks festival, and day-long trips to Quebec City on the river.
- Bateau Mouche has covered boats with day or evening or dinner cruises and tours from the Old Port.
The Lachine Rapids are a dangerous section of whitewater where the river become shallow west of downtown. The rapids are the reason Montreal was built where it is. In the 16th century, when ship sailed from Europe, they could come all the way up the river to Montreal, but they were stopped by the rapids. It wasn’t until the Lachine Canal was built in the early 19th century that ships could pass by Montreal and continue up the Saint Lawrence River. The government has a historical boat tour of the Lachine Canal. You can see the Lachine Rapids at Parc des Rapides, but you can also take a raft or jetboat tour of them. Be prepared to get wet and very excited!