Ile Sainte-Helene and Parc Jean-Drapeau

Map data courtesy

The Îles Sainte Hélène and Notre Dame sit in the St. Lawrence River just off the coast of the old city center. Both are popular escapes for runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists. The Île Notre Dame caters to the latter two groups of sport enthusiasts - it features some of the smoothest pavement in the city. The asphalt is kept up for the Formula One Grand Prix de Montreal, which is held in June every year.

Because of Notre Dame's plethora of wheeled-sports enthusiasts, BTG's running route is focused on Parc Jean-Drapeau and Île Ste. Hélène. There you'll get a chance to check out some of the more famous sites of the city - including the large biosphere on the east side of the island - and even be able to work in a hill climb when you head up the trails towards the Tour de l'Île. But the Île Notre Dame provides a great workout experience as well, and if you need to get more miles under your legs you can hop over the bridge and add in a jaunt around it.

The best way to get to the islands is by metro. Take the underground to the Jean Drapeau station. Our route starts and ends from there.


  1. Start your run at Jean Drapeau metro station.
  2. From the exit, run straight until you hit the running path by the roadside. 
  3. Turn left and make the loop around the island. Your path will be pretty evident as you go, but you'll see lots of interesting things along the way. This includes the:
    1. Montreal Biosphère (.17 mi / .27 km). This large dome was the former pavilion for Canada during the 1967 World's Fair Expo. Today it houses a museum dedicated to water and the environment.
    2. Jacques Cartier Bridge (.64 mi / 1.02 km)
    3. La Ronde Amusement Park (.7 mi / 1.1 km) which stretches across the north end of the island.
    4. Swan Lake (2.66 mi / 4.3 km) which sits on the south end of the island.
  4. Complete the loop of the Île Saine Hélène (3.33 mi / 5.4 km). 
  5. Keep running a bit further past the Biosphere. Just after it, turn left and at the Chemin du Tour de l'Île (3.45 mi / 5.6 km). This path will lead you up towards the summit of the park's main hill.
  6. Follow the signs to get to the hill's summit and the tower at the center of the island (3.75 mi / 6.1 km). Run up the steps to the top and enjoy the view!
  7. Return down the hill to Jean Drapeau metro station (4.2 mi / 6.8 km). End your run.