© Eaton Centre, Stéphan Poulin Credits: © Eaton Centre, Stéphan Poulin
Underground City: follow RÉSO signs
If the fall weather turns chilly or wet, head underground. Montreal’s excellent Underground City, made up of 33 kilometres of connecting passageways, has over 1,700 shops and restaurants, and 40 performance venues. It links to the metro, bus and train stations, as well as some hotels including the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel (see below). With all this and more, it deserves to be called a ‘city.’
The Eaton Centre is the Underground City’s largest mall with five levels and 175 stores including Gap Kids, Guess, Steve Madden and more. In the food court, treat the kids to a bubble tea, grab yourself a coffee and catch up on email using the mall’s complimentary Wi-Fi.
What the guidebooks don’t tell you: Unlike its Toronto counterpart, the Eaton Centre in Montreal is closed on Labour Day.
Kids’ comments: “If you don’t like to shop, check out the Grévin Wax Museum on the fifth level of the Eaton Centre. You’ll see Wayne Gretzky, Frankenstein and Indiana Jones. It’s fun!”
Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, 900 rue de la Gauchetière Ouest, 514-878-2332
After working up a sweat shopping in the Underground City, guests of the Bonaventure Hilton Hotel can refresh with a dip in the rooftop pool. No matter the weather – chilly fall days, cold winter nights – the hotel keeps the water at bathtub warm temps for year-round enjoyment. If it’s a balmy fall, snuggle up in the hotel’s complimentary terrycloth bathrobe on a poolside chaise lounge and watch the kids play in the water. When the kids have had enough, grab towels from the lifeguard hut, and stretch your legs on a family stroll around the winding rooftop garden; it covers an astounding 2.5 acres.
What the guidebooks don’t tell you: Bring workout gear. The Hilton Montreal Bonaventure’s fitness facility is much bigger and airier than you’d typically find in a hotel.
Ride the stationary bike, lift free weights or do yoga in the stretching room.
Kids’ comments: “We liked playing under the pool’s little waterfall.”