Although the temperature last weekend hit +30, Autumn is officially here. This is probably my favourite season – particularly if you can add heat in the mix, knowing that winter is not far off the horizon.
In starting to plan where I want to go around town to catch the magical colours of nature this year, I started to make a list of my top spots that I’ve found over the last 2 years to be good places to catch the vibrant colours. In doing so, I thought it would be nice to put a top 10 Montreal Autumn photo locations list together. I’ll state at the outset, this is my own personal top 10 and you may have other spots you know of, or indeed prefer…if so, please do share in the comments (and feel free to post a link to your own pics).
The list isn’t in any particular order, but if you are visiting Montreal and want to catch the fall colours in town, I hope this list will be a useful guide.
Montreal Autumn photo Location #1
I’ll start with probably the most obvious spot, the Kondiaronk Belvédère on Mount Royal. Anywhere on Mount Royal is a great place to head in the fall season (well any season in fact), but I selected the Kondiaronk because of the view it provides of the Montreal skyline.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Great for sun rise or late afternoon (just before sunset when the city glows in a golden light).
Montreal Autumn photo Location #2
Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery
The Notre Dame des Neiges cemetery could almost pass as Montreal’s 2nd Botanical garden given the wide variety of tree species (over 60) that have been planted here over the years. There’s a special peace and tranquility that I find roaming the 50+km of roadways in this vast 340 acre cemetery (the largest in Canada). I’ve still yet to photograph the wonderful tree lined Ceremonial way – certainly in the plan this year though 😉
Preferred time of day to photograph: Anytime but early morning/late afternoon provides for some nice shadows among the grave stones (note the cemetery closes at 5pm)
Montreal Autumn photo Location #3
The lake in parc Lafontaine underwent renovation last year and is now a perfect place to shoot autumn reflections in the crystal clear water. People sitting on benches or walking next to the waters edge provide for some added interest in your shots. Always a great spot for people watching.
Preferred time of day to photograph: mid-late afternoon
Montreal Autumn photo Location #4
The maple trees that are planted at the edge of the Bassin Bonsecours always make images pop at this time of year. With either the Marché Bonsecours or the city skyline as a backdrop together with some great reflections from the water, you can spend a lot of time enjoying a warm autumn day here.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Early morning but also great for sunsets
Montreal Autumn photo Location #5
Parc Jean Drapeau on Île Sainte Hélène
There are a couple of spots in Parc Jean Drapeau on Île Sainte Hélène that provide some nice fall photo opportunities. One place in particular though that I really like, is around the 2 lakes that are located below the Levi tower. The small white “Monetesque” bridges are what draw me here, plus the wonderful reflections that can be found in the tree lined lakes.
If you are here late afternoon near sunset, it’s worth walking up to the lookout near the Levi Tower for a great view of Montreal in the distance. Although not specific to Autumn, head to the path below the L’Homme sculpture by Alexander Calder for some of the best Montreal skyline views.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Early morning or sunset (for montreal skyline)
Montreal Autumn photo Location #6
It wouldn’t be possible to have a top 10 list on great places to visit in Montreal during Autumn without including the wonderful Botanical Gardens. Although there is an entry fee, the gardens are well worth visiting this time of year, particularly around sunset and staying after dusk for the Gardens of Light installation in the Chinese and Japanese gardens. This year, the event runs until November 2.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Late afternoon/early evening
Montreal Autumn photo Location #7
Place Ville Marie
I have to admit, this is one of my favourite shooting spots in downtown Montreal, whatever season it is. I’m talking specifically of the lookout area at the southern end of McGill College avenue. The view up McGill College to the base of Mount Royal that is clad in fall colours is a picture postcard view.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Early morning to mid afternoon when the sun highlights the trees on Mount Royal
Montreal Autumn photo Location #8
Dorchester Square recently underwent a major renovation and is now a great spot for shooting. Not only do you have some great fall foliage with the many trees in the square, you also have some fine architecture and monuments that can add some great background and foreground interest to your fall shots. On a warm weekday you will also find lots of office workers sitting on the benches and walking through the park that can provide some nice ‘street’ opportunities for your Autumn shots.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Early morning or around midday to catch the lunchtime crowds.
Montreal Autumn photo Location #9
Escarpment path on Mount Royal
The escarpment path for those who don’t know is the path that leads from the Camillien Houde lookout to the top of the stairs near the Kondiaronk lookout. I love a spot near the steps leading from Camillien Houde way that provides a great view of the Olympic Stadium and the relatively large and varied tree line that is below. Another spot nearer the Kondiaronk lookout gives a nice view of the Percival Molson stadium – you may even be lucky to catch a partial elevated view of an Alouette game.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Early/mid morning or mid afternoon (before the sun falls behind Mount Royal)
Montreal Autumn photo Location #10
Agora in Place Viger
Okay, this one is probably going to be a bit controversial given the feeling many people have with Agora in Place Viger. Designed in 1976 and inaugurated in 1981, Agora was created by sculptor and landscape designer Charles Daudelin. True, after years of neglect, Agora became has become a favourite spot for vagrants to hang out. I’m on the side of Heritage Montreal though on wanting to see Agora renovated and become a hub for local artists – which was the original plan when it was inaugurated.
I’m getting off track. The reason I like Agora, particularly in Autumn is for the vivid red ivy that can be found cascading over and around the concrete structure.
Preferred time of day to photograph: Early morning or late afternoon to capture the shadows, but also midday can be great for getting high contrast images.
I could have easily extended the list to 20 favourite places and know many people will have other preferred locations, if you do, do share with us in the comments.
The last week of remarkable warm temperatures certainly was a great start to this years’ Autumn season…hopefully we will have a few more weeks of the same and plenty of colourful shooting opportunities. I’ll be posting some of this years autumn catches in due course.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.
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