The park area on the western tip of the island has a small lake with a beach open throughout the summer season for swimming, volleyball and watercraft rentals. During the decades since Expo 67 the city of Montreal has embellished the island with plants and trees, making it look less artificial.
In 1980 the greening and beautification of the island was accelerated when it was the host to the Floralies Internationales, a horticultural exhibition and competition gathering plant masterpieces from dozens of countries. Still accessible today from spring to autumn, these magnificent gardens cover an area of over 25 hectares. The Floralies gardens are preserved and arranged creatively by the Parc Jean-Drapeau team of gardeners. In addition, the micro-climate created in part by the lagoons crisscrossing the island promotes the uniqueness of these gardens by allowing the growth of plants usually intolerant of Montreal's climate.
In fall and spring, visitors to Notre Dame Island primarily consist of gamblers at the casino and rowers and canoers at the Olympic Basin. During the coldest part of winter, ice skaters use the basin as a rink. City workers clear the snow from its icy surface as part of the annual winter festival, "La Fête des Neiges de Montréal". However, the ice rink was located on Saint Helen's Island, close to the Jean-Drapeaumetro station, the past few years. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can also tour the area.