Habitat 67 is located on a man-made peninsula facing the Old Port called Cité-du-Havre. In 1964 a 25-year-old architect named Moishe Safdie was mandated to build the stackable, prefabricated cement cubes he had designed for his master’s thesis at McGill University as a pavilion at Montreal’s Expo 67. His revolutionary concept for affordable, socially integrated housing became one of the city’s greatest landmarks. It’s now an exclusive community of million-dollar penthouses (those baby boomers and their ideals…). You can easily get there and admire it from up close by riding the bike path that connects Cité-du-Havre to the Old Port.
Located a short distance away from Habitat 67, the Parc de la Cité-du-Havre is a peaceful, secluded gem. At the furthermost tip of the peninsula you will find a gazebo, clean bathrooms, and one of Montreal’s most amazing views. Overlooking the downtown skyline and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, it’s especially beautiful around sundown when the city transforms into a sparkling metropolis. Bring a date, a blanket, and a picnic – you may run into a family of immigrants cooking their meals in makeshift coal barbecues, or maybe stumble upon one of the many elderly Chinese men who head there on weekends to fish in the St-Lawrence River, but chances are you’ll have the whole place to yourselves.
Montreal is not known for surfing as it lacks the rolling coastal waves, yet right behind Habitat 67 a permanent rip curl has been attracting surfers for over ten years. Walk behind the tennis courts and down towards the embankment – you can’t miss it. Every now and again people get trapped in the current and pulled under, so only go in if you know what you’re doing. KSF, a Montreal river-surfing school that brings students to the Habitat 67 wave, can help get you started. Visit their website here.