|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
|Location||Ville-Marie, Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Area||209 hectares (520 acres)|
|Operated by||Société du parc Jean-Drapeau|
|Status||Open all year|
Parc Jean-Drapeau (formerly called Parc des Îles) is situated to the east of downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in the Saint Lawrence River. It comprises two islands, Saint Helen's Island and the artificial island Île Notre-Dame.
The islands were the site of the Expo 67 World's Fair. Île Notre-Dame was constructed for the exposition. The park was renamed in honour of Jean Drapeau, the late mayor of Montreal and initiator of Expo 67.
Saint Helen's Island was discovered by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1611, who named it in honor of his wife, Hélène de Champlain, née Boullé. It also bears the name of Helena, mother of Roman emperor Constantine the Great.
The island belonged to the family of Le Moyne de Longueuil from 1665 until 1818, when it was sold to the British government. The British built a fort, a magazine and a bunker after the War of 1812. The new Canadian government acquired it in 1870, and it was converted into a park in 1874.
The islands of the archipelago were chosen as the site of Man and His World (Expo 67). To prepare for this role, Mayor Jean Drapeau expanded Saint Helen's Island and consolidated it with several neighboring islands (including Round Island) and created Île Notre-Dame using the fill excavated during the construction of the Montreal Metro in the early 1960s. 28 million tons of fill and were needed for this massive undertaking. When the work was completed, Île Notre-Dame and St. Helen's Island hosted Expo 67, which was featured impressive pavilions from over sixty countries.
After the closing of Expo, the site continued its fair vocation under the name Man and His World and finally, most facilities were dismantled and the island was converted into a park. In 1999, the Parc des Îles de Montreal was renamed Parc Jean-Drapeau in honor of former Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, who had re-shaped the islands, built the Montreal Metro and brought Expo 67 to the city.
Île Notre-Dame hosts the annual Canadian Grand Prix, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The Canadian Grand Prix has been held on the island since 1978 with the exception of 1987 and 2009. The Montreal Casino, the Beach, the Olympic Basin, the Flower Gardens and the pavilion of Canada are also located on the island.
Saint Helen's Island hosts the Montreal Biosphere (United States pavilion during Expo 67), the Fort de l'Île Sainte-Hélène (Stewart Museum), Six Flags La Ronde amusement park, as well as the Saint Helen's Island Aquatic Complex, public pools built for the FINA championships in 2005.
It is the site of the studio of Radio-Classique Montréal as well as the site of many outdoor concerts. Bands such as Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden and Nickelback have performed in the park. The Vans Warped Tour and the Osheaga Festival is also located there almost every year. The metal festival Heavy MTL is also held there annually.
Many hiking and cycling trails, outdoor sculptures, streams and small waterfalls adorn the two islands.
- Solyom, Catherine (2009-02-07). "New 91-metre-high hill opens at Jean Drapeau Park". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). Retrieved 2009-02-08.[dead link]