Having grown up on the East Coast, the word “beach” is connected connected intimately to getting into the water to swim and splash around to cool off. This is why I have a hard time connecting these strips of sand on a quay in the old port to an actual beach. However, I’m sure many residents of a city lacking an actual beach (Oka, my favourite beach of any proximity to Montreal, is quite a distance away for many) will take what they can get. Other cities, also far away from natural beaches, have created similar sandy areas that they call beaches such as Sugar Beach in Toronto and the Paris-Plages in Paris (the most significant difference being that those beaches are free). Our “Plage de l’Horloge” is the latest phase of a large redevelopment of the Old Port into a recreation/tourist mecca, as can be seen in the official video above.
Thinking the beach was open yesterday, I went down to check it out. Unfortunately it wasn’t opening until the next day (today) so the photos I took show the beach empty and undisturbed. It’s broken up into two sections, a long strip on the northern side of the quay and a triangle on the eastern point below the clock tower. Along with sand there are a number of adirondack chairs, umbrellas, a boardwalk, a bar, and a few mist stations. According to The Gazette, the cost of installing the beach was $3 million plus another $400,000 for “reception and service pavilions”
The beach opens today and is free for the rest of the weekend. Afterwards, entrance fees vary between $3 and $6. It opens at 10h30 and closes at 19h30 daily until September 3rd when it will only be open on weekends until September 23rd when it closes for the season. Official website.