Circuits and itineraries
Float along the waters of the Lachine Canal National Historic Site to discover an entirely new side of the city! The 14 kilometres waterway takes you to the heart of Montreal’s must-see attractions, with breathtaking views. It takes about 3 hours to transit the canal’s five locks; along the way, the canal’s high-calibre, secure facilities offer many stops that will show you all facets of the city. Mooring and locking permits are available online and on-site. Climb aboard for an unforgettable adventure!
To make the trip even more enjoyable, captivating programs enliven the shores!
- Montréal like you’ve never seen it before!
- Small loop to this summer’s greatest events!
- Nautical itineraries
Montréal like you’ve never seen it before!
Old Port of Montréal
At the eastern end of the Lachine Canal lie the Old Port of Montreal and the Old Montreal with all its European charm. Many berths are available for mooring upstream of lock 1. Wander Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets to discover neighbourhood boutiques and art galleries, and experience unparalleled dining at the local bistros and restaurants. To enjoy an intimate glass of wine with your significant other, head for Place Jacques-Cartier and its pleasant terraces, where street performers add music to the mix. Round out the evening with a major event at downtown’s Place des Festivals, an easy metro ride away.
International des Feux Loto-Québec Show
Every Saturday as well as many Wednesdays in July, book your front-row seats at the spectacular International des Feux Loto-Québec Show! The Lock No. 1 wharves offer an exclusive spot at low cost to take in the dancing lights spectacle. From there, enjoy the unique view provided by the lock's belvedere or stroll to the Old Port of Montreal area. Dazzling evening guaranteed!
Hurry up and book your mooring space by contacting the lock operators at 514-595-6594 or through VHF-canal 68 during operating hours.
Visit the International des Feux Loto-Québec website to consult the program.
Stop along the way to savour the thousand and one pleasures of Atwater Market! The Atwater dock has many spaces available, and you can even tie up overnight. Then, let your senses be your guide as you stroll by stalls bursting with colour and mouth-watering smells. In addition to the market’s cafes and boutiques, counters serve up rapid, innovative dishes that you can enjoy on the spot, or take along for a waterside picnic. The nearby grocery store, SAQ and metro station make it a preferred stop for boaters. Take advantage of the stop to stretch your legs and walk or bike along the canal path, thanks to the rental services located on the canal’s banks. Explora, a free app, turns your smartphone into a guide so you can explore the neighbourhood and its history, accompanied by sound and pictures.
Old Lachine, where the Lachine Canal meets Lake Saint-Louis, is the perfect place to take in an extraordinary natural setting. Docking is available at the Parks Canada wharf located upstream of lock 5. There, a splendid riverside park, ideal for a stroll or picnic, nestles in a neighbourhood whose history goes back more than 2,500 years! Staff at the Lachine lock’s Visitor Services Centre can tell you about all there is to discover. To wrap up your evening in style, take a seat at one of the many terraces along Saint-Joseph Boulevard, and watch the sun go down over Lake Saint-Louis.
Small loop to this summer’s greatest events!
Don’t miss a beat this summer! Head to the small loop that winds its way through Parks Canada’s network of waterways to be in the front row for this summer’s must-attend events.
Montréal’s festival season
June marks the beginning of Montréal’s festival season. The Lachine Canal is where it’s at for the Canadian Grand Prix, the Francofolies, or Montréal’s International Jazz Festival.
The metropolis comes to life day and night, and docking is available at the many Parks Canada wharfs located along the waterway. Enjoy a walk or a bike ride along the canal’s 14.5-km of path between two shows and take in the natural landscape and breathtaking view of downtown Montréal.
Keep an eye out for food trucks to enjoy a typical Montréal culinary experience.
Vintage and romantic stops
After crossing Lake Saint-Louis, head towards the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal for a romantic evening.
With its beautiful boardwalk and numerous restaurants and bistros, it’s no surprise that this lock is the busiest in Canada!
Mooring services are available on site, both upstream and downstream. Also in June, don’t miss out on Cruisin’ at the Boardwalk, with an atmosphere reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s and roughly 500 classic cars on display.
Once your hunger is satisfied, cross Lake des Deux-Montagnes towards the Ottawa River. Known as one of the most beautiful rivers in North America, it features amazing and varied landscapes and numerous inviting stops along the way.
The road winds up to the Carillon Canal, where a picnic in the park while watching Canada’s highest lock and its vertical lift gate, which weighs nearly 200 tons, is a must.
Party in the Nation’s Capital!
At the beginning of July, it’s Ottawa’s turn to sway to the rhythm of major events. For the ultimate experience in the nation’s capital, celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill. A few days later, the Bluesfest will host performances by great blues singers during one of the country’s largest music festivals.
The adventure continues at the Rideau Canal, a treasured jewel of UNESCO’s World Heritage list surrounded by pastoral landscapes and small historic towns. After arriving in Kingston, you’ll reach Lake Ontario, at the crossroads of the St. Lawrence Seaway. From there, the wild landscape spreads across the Thousand Islands National Park, which supports a rich biodiversity, and you can maneuver through a series of rock islands until you reach Brockville.
Gently navigate down the St. Lawrence River and its ever-changing river banks to return to Montréal, where the International des Feux Loto-Québec is in full swing. Once you’re in the Lachine Canal, settle in to a nice spot somewhere in the Old Port to admire the fantastic lights show.
Where magic happens
In August, round out your day trip by heading for the Richelieu River to attend the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and watch the enchanting hot air balloons from a different viewpoint on the water. The rich program will have something for everyone.
While crossing the Saint-Ours Canal, stop at Darvard Island to take in the uniqueness of its lush flora and its characteristic hills. Before you reach Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, let yourself be charmed by the Chambly Canal’s natural setting, where you can see part of our heritage come to life before your very eyes with authentic replicas from the past, such as its manually-operated locks and bridges.
Enjoy your trip!
Here are a few nautical itineraries and their approximate distances between towns along the way. These circuits will take you through most of the Northeastern inland waterways including the Chambly, Saint-Ours, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Lachine (retrictions may apply), Carillon and Rideau canals.
Estimated nautical distances
Montréal to Sorel = 70 km
Sorel to Chambly = 70 km
Chambly to Lake Champlain = 55 km
Chambly to New York = 520 km
Montréal to Québec = 250 km
Montréal to Ottawa = 180 km
Montréal to Kingston = 275 km
Montréal to Toronto = 500 km
Estimated nautical circuits
Montréal, Ottawa, Rideau Canal, Kingston, St. Lawrence River, Montréal = 655 km
Montréal, Chambly, Lake Champlain, Champlain Canal, Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, St. Lawrence River, Montréal = 1000 km
Montréal, Chicago, Mississippi, Miami, New York, Chambly, Montréal = 7 500 km
- Montréal to New York - 5 days
- Montréal to the Rideau Canal,
returning via the St. Lawrence Seaway - 7 days
- Grand Circuit Nautique, omitting the Rideau Canal
(returning by the St. Lawrence Seaway) - 2 weeks
- Grand Circuit Nautique, including the Rideau Canal - 3 weeks