On top of an old quarry and municipal landfill is one of the most exquisite city parks anywhere. The park offers incredible lessons in the renewal of nature and renewal of a space that, until recently, was a toxic and noisy place resented by the local community.
The Frederic Back Park (192 hectares) is almost as large as Mount Royal but offers much smaller crowds and incredible vistas and trails that cross valleys and meadows. Dotted across the landscape are spherical objects that look like alien spaceships but are in fact methane capture devices. Distant views of the Mountain, and St-Joseph’s oratory are pretty much the only reminders you’re not in an open prairie.
The land is the site of rapid regeneration, beginning with massive indigenous wildflower meadows that lead quickly to the formation of new forests. The area is home to an impressive array of fauna, including coyotes. At the south end of the park is La Tohu, Montreal’s famed circus school, as well as a co-generation plant (they use the methane from the park to generate heat and electricity).
During winter months, there is a 7 km cross-country ski trail around the park. Year-round, there is access to indoor soccer and an indoor skate park on the west side of the park.