Here are some family-friendly neighbourhoods in and around Montreal

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Over the past seven years, Christine Latreille says she and her boys have visited more than a thousand parks in Montreal and beyond.

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When Christine Latreille was a real-estate broker showing homes, families always wanted information on two key neighbourhood features: schools and parks.

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Latreille is no longer in the business of real estate, but she has become something of an expert on parks. Over the past seven years, she says she has visited more than a thousand parks with her two boys in Montreal and beyond. She writes about parks, play and neighbourhood activities for Montreal Families Magazine and activeforlife.com, as well as on her own website, strollerparking.ca.

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“We’ve had a great time over the past few years exploring different neighbourhoods that I’ve never visited before, despite having lived in Montreal my entire life,” Latreille said.

While there are many excellent parks in and around Montreal, some neighbourhoods stand out as being particularly family-friendly.

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“I would recommend that families consider whether they’re looking for their own private yard space, but will need a car to get around, or if they’re comfortable without a yard, in which case walking around the neighbourhood to see where you can play outdoors is a must,” she said.

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The West Island offers single-family homes with yards and hundreds of parks and green spaces, but the rising cost of real estate has put these homes beyond the reach of many families. According to the most recent quarterly real-estate report published by the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, the median price of a home in the southern part of the West Island was $770,000, or $663,600 in the northern part of the West Island.

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For a more affordable home with a backyard, Latreille recommends Île-Perrot, which includes the municipalities of Terrasse-Vaudreuil, Pincourt, Île-Perrot and Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot. The median price in this area is $540,000.

“Everyone I know who lives on the island of Île-Perrot adores the quality of life, easy access to the train system, and relative affordability of the homes compared with the same houses on-island,” she said.

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Île-Perrot is also a favourite destination for families to explore local farm stands, visit Parc Olympique in Pincourt or head to Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot to play at the pumptrack at Parc des Mésanges or the historic Pointe-du-Moulin park, she noted.

For those who prefer being closer to the city, many urban neighbourhoods also offer great family amenities. With a median price of a million dollars or more for a detached home in the most desirable urban areas, however, many families may only be able to afford a condo, townhouse or plex.

While it might not have the newest or fanciest parks, N.D.G. has pretty much everything families need within walking distance, Latreille said. The Plateau is another spot she would recommend for its easy access to restaurants, amenities and play spaces, as well as the beautiful and soon-to-be-renovated La Fontaine Park. Nearby parks Persillier-Lachapelle, des Joyeux-Vikings and St-Jacques have all recently been redone, she noted, creating more spaces for families to relax, eat, play or cool off at a splash pad during hot Montreal summers.

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In Outremont, residents can find a park every couple of blocks. There is the brand-new Pierre-Dansereau Park just south of the Université de Montréal MIL Campus, pocket parks tucked between multi-family residential buildings and beautiful garden parks with mature trees and duck-filled ponds, she said.

In Villeray, such parks as Giovannina-di Tomasso and Jean-Marie-Lamonde offer community gardens as well as inviting play and leisure areas, while nearby de Normanville Park appeals to all ages with a large splash pad and playground as well as outdoor ping-pong tables, bocce courts, a baseball diamond, a covered gazebo for activities and converts, green space and plenty of picnic tables and loungers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many municipalities expanded their outdoor programming for families, Latreille said. Pierrefonds offered pop-up concerts in parks and Pointe Claire created drop-in park programs, while places like Outremont, Verdun and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve closed streets to create play zones for children.

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