This canal was constructed in the 1800s to allow ships to sail from the Atlantic to the great lakes. The surrounding area was once the industrial heartland of Montreal. When the canal was replaced by the St. Lawrence seaway in the 1950s, the factories were closed. Some have been repurposed as gentrified apartments; some are still slowly decaying.
I found this mix of history, decay and redevelopment to be very interesting - beautiful and ugly. We went for a long bike ride along the canal and went for a walk on a second day. I would not recommend the path for a long walk - it is too narrow to safely accomodate cyclists and pedestrians. However, I highly recommend a bike trip. In addition to the interesting vistas (and historic markers), there are numerous spots to stop for refreshment. The Atwater market is a highlight. I also recommend the St. Ambroise brewery - it has a nice terrace where one can sample beer (or cider) and enjoy some basic pub snacks.
The canal cycle path links to numerous other cycle routes (including ferries leaving from the old Port). There are kayak and small boat rentals near the Atwater market.
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