Île Ste-Hélène


Created from 15 million tons of earth and rock excavated when the metro was built, Île Notre-Dame is laced with canals and pretty garden walkways. The Grand Prix du Canada Formula One race is held each year on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named after the Québec race-car driver who died in a crash in 1982. From mid-April to mid-November the smoothly paved track is open for cyclists and in-line skaters.

Throughout the year, the island's main draw is the huge, spaceship-like Casino de Montréal in the former French pavilion from the World's Fair. You can challenge Lady Luck at 3000 slot machines and 115 gaming tables. Alcohol is not allowed on the floor and you must be 18 to enter. Bridges link the pavilion to the Jardin des Floralies, a lovely rose garden.

On the southern tip of the island, the Plage Jean-Doré draws thousands on hot summer days. Nearby is the Olympic Bassin, the former Olympic rowing basin, which now hosts the popular Dragon Boat Race Festival in late July.

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