It’s fitting that one of the first sculptures visitors encounter in René Lévesque Park is about feet. David Moore’s “Site/Interlude” consists of five colossal steel legs, each filled with rubble. Spaced along a path like a series of mysterious footprints, they beckon viewers further into the park.
Sprawling and spacious, the park does require a lot of walking. At 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 square meters), it’s one of the largest outdoor sculpture gardens in Canada. Twenty-two monumental works by Quebec artists animate the landscape, from Michel Goulet’s colorful flagpoles to Bill Vazan’s fictional petroglyphs. Other artists include Catherine Widgery, Octavian Olariu, and André Fournelle.
Many of the sculptures are reminiscent of ancient civilizations, with variations on collapsed Roman columns or megaliths. One of the most striking is Robert Roussil’s “Hommage à René Lévesque”, which rises from a hilltop like a bouquet of torches. The park’s namesake, René Lévesque, was premier from 1976–1985. A passionate champion of Quebec sovereignty, he orchestrated the province’s first referendum on whether to secede from Canada.
The park is located on a long jetty in the borough of Lachine. At its farthest point, where the St. Lawrence River broadens into Lake Saint-Louis, it feels a little like you’re by the ocean. It’s hard to believe that the entire jetty was reclaimed from the river in 1848, during the excavation of the Lachine Canal. The nearby Lachine Museum tells this story, along with other exhibits about local history.
Know Before You Go
René Lévesque Park is about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) from the nearest metro station (Angrinon), but can be reached by bus. Paid parking is also available. It can also be accessed via the Lachine Canal bike paths, or the La Riveraine cross-country ski trail. The park is open all year from sunrise to sunset. Dogs are not allowed in this park.