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Plane Spotting at Jacques-de-Lesseps Park

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AirplanesCanadaKidsMontrealNorth AmericaParksPlane Spotting
Article author: michael
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About 20-something years ago, a buddy of mine that was training to be a pilot, brought me to an area near the Montreal Trudeau Airport to plane spot. I don’t remember exactly where it was, but it was in the more industrial side of the area near the airport.

That was probably the early 2000’s, and I never ended up back at that spot. In 2012 however, ADM (Aéroports de Montréal) opened a new park called Jacques-de-Lesseps Park, named after Jacques Benjamin de Lesseps from France, who was lost at sea along the Gaspé, Quebec coastline in October 1927.

The park is located right next to the airport, and was set up specifically for plane spotting.

I wasn’t aware of it however until my mother mentioned it earlier this year, as she thought it would be fun for my little one to see the planes taking off and landing. So my wife and I waited for a not-so-cold day and went to check it out.

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park Info

Getting There

The park is located right next to the airport, so it’s relatively easy to get to, depending on where you’re coming from.

The easiest way is to drive there. However, if a car isn’t an option, you can take the 211 bus from Lionel-Groulx metro to the Dorval bus/train station, and then from there take the 202 bus to Cote-de-Liesse and 55th avenue. From there it’s about a 5 to 10 minute walk to the park.

If you’re coming from a different spot in the city, you can use the STM Trip Planner to find the best route. Or even easier, click on the Directions button in the Google map above, and enter your starting location to get directions using public transit, driving, walking, or cycling.

Brief History of Jacques de Lesseps

Jacques Benjamin de Lesseps, son of French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, was a French aviator born in Paris in 1883.

In 1910, he became the second person to fly an aeroplane over the English Channel, and shortly after was the first pilot to fly over Montreal, and then Toronto.

He served in the French Air Force during World War I, earning the Criox de Guerre, and was also awarded the Legion of Honour.

After the war, he joined the Compangie Aerienne Franco-Canadienne, specializing in aerial photography and surveying.

The Park

The park has a few benches a bit further away from the runway, as well as a stadium-style bench a bit closer. But if you want the real close-up views, you’ll want to walk up the little raised mound near the fence.

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park





We brought our son thinking he’d really get a kick out of the airplanes, but you know what? I was actually pretty giddy myself hearing and feeling the roar of the engines as the planes took off! 😆

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park

It’s a pretty amazing feeling being so close to these massive machines as they take off.

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park

I had previously checked one of the flight tracking websites (flightaware) to see what times were best to visit. It seems most of the flights take-off from around 7am to 10/11am, and then again after 1pm until a bit later in the day.

Of course flight times will vary depending on the day, but that’s generally when I saw the majority of take-offs happening, which was what I wanted our son to see.

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park

We did manage to get quite a few take-offs in, which was really fun for my son. I think if we’d made it just a bit earlier though we’d have seen a lot more, but we were still happy with what we saw.

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park

Jacques-de-Lesseps Park


So if you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids that doesn’t cost anything, or just want to get a close-up view of the planes taking off and landing, Jacques-de-Lesseps Park in Dorval is a great place to do it!

I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area, or love plane spotting, but I’d suggest going around the 8am to 9am mark if you can, as that’s when you’ll likely catch the most take-offs.

Update: I just read that new signage has been posted due to many people leaving food out for the birds, which is causing a bird strike hazard for the planes.

So please respect the park rules, and don’t leave food and garbage laying out for the birds! Neglecting the rules could result in the park being closed down due to the dangers it causes, which would be unfortunate for everyone.

This recent cbc.ca article explains more.

Until next time,
michael 😀

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