Head to the beach in Montréal

Fancy an island beach holiday this summer? Montréal might not be the first destination that springs to mind, but the city, an island in the St. Lawrence River, will be getting sand between its toes this year. An urban beach (June – Sept. 3) is being created at the Quays of the Old Port.

The quays have long been a summer attraction for their river breezes but this summer you can sip a cocktail under your parasol and relax in a beach chair in the sand. Up to 800 sunseekers can enjoy the seaside atmosphere complete with showers, boardwalk, bar and great views of the South Shore, Jacques Cartier Bridge, Old Montréal, Isle Sainte Helene and the famous Clock Tower, which closely resembles Big Ben in London.

The beach is the first part of a $180-million redevelopment of the Old Port, which will create an international exhibition centre and refurbish the promenade and Jacques Cartier jetty.

When you emerge from beneath your parasol you can stroll to the world premiere of Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition (until Sept 16) at the Montréal Science Centre and find out which Star Wars character you are. Props, costumes and models from the films are on display as well as the chance to create your own Star Wars hero.

To cool off you can always see the latest 3D movie at the IMAX theatre, To the Arctic, the story of a polar bear and her two cubs and their daily struggle for survival amid the melting ice.

If you cannot resist the river you can try jet boating the rapids, sample dinner on the Bateau-Mouche or board an old ferry boat — now a luxurious award-winning spa, Bota Bota, with stunning views of Old Montréal from your hot-tub.

Quadricycle in the sun to the distinctive yellow and blue striped big top of Cirque du Soleil at Jacques Cartier pier for the new production, Amaluna, an epic love story set on a mysterious island.

Come September a fleet of tall ships will be dropping anchor at the Jacques Cartier quay, Sept.13-16. You can tour the ships and wander around the Maritime Village with its music, street performers, workshops and nautical tales.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Debra Wiseberg

Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.