Montréal's Old Port was transformed in 1992 from a dreary commercial wharf area into a 2km-long (1 1/4-mile), 53-hectare (131-acre) promenade and public park with bicycle paths, exhibition halls, and a variety of family activities, including the Centre des Sciences de Montréal . It stretches along the waterfront, parallel to rue de la Commune, from rue McGill to rue Berri.
The area is most active from mid-May through October, when harbor cruises take to the waters and bicycles, in-line skates, and family-friendly quadri-cycle carts are available to rent. Warm months also bring information booths staffed by bilingual attendants and 45-minute guided tours in the open-sided La Balade, a small, motorized tram. Cirque du Soleil often sets up its signature blue-and-yellow-striped tents here in spring. In winter, things are quieter, but an outdoor ice-skating rink is a big attraction.
At the port's far eastern end, in the last of the old warehouses, is a 1922 clock tower, La Tour de l'Horloge, with 192 steps leading past the exposed clockworks to observation decks overlooking the St. Lawrence River (admission is free).