Five Ways to Be an Ecotourist in Montreal, Quebec
20 April, 2012: What does it mean to be an ecotourist in Montreal?
Ecotourism is defined by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
Ecotourism doesn’t always have to involve traipsing through large national parks, going on safari, or braving old rainforests. Ecotourism can concern just the little things you do to adjust your behaviour and consumer choices to suit a more ecologically responsible lifestyle during travel. Here are five ways you can adapt your behaviour to be more environmentally responsible while on vacation in Montreal, the cultural capital of the province of Quebec in Canada.
Circulate Montreal-style—that is to say, by rollerblade, skateboard, or road bike. Rollerbladers and cyclists, especially, are ubiquitous and show up in strong numbers on the streets of Montreal in the spring, summer, and fall. So it is worth a word of caution to advise that you must look both ways when crossing the street, even when there are no cars in sight, as these two-wheeled commuters can be real speed devils at times!
Sign up for BIXI, the public bicycle-rental service. The ubiquitous BIXI bike stations all over the island ensure that you can get from Point A to Point B in a flash without having to worry about finding a parking spot.
Buy local. Support local agriculture by shopping at little greengrocers (épiceries) and local public markets. Another way to buy local is to buy apparel and other consumer goods from local businesses and artisans. A good souvenir to take back home with you, for example, could be a beautiful painting of Montreal or its surroundings from one of the many talented, local artists on St-Paul street or a self-portrait sketched by a street artist in Place Jacques-Cartier, both in Old Montreal.
Ride-share. Montreal is close to so many delightful little towns and villages. If you wish to expand your travel itinerary by making little detours in places such as St-Sauveur, Mt-Tremblant, St-Adèle, St-Agathe, the Eastern Townships (les Cantons de l’Ouest), and Sherbrooke, an alternative to renting a car could be to sign up for a ride-share (covoiturage). Companies like Allo-Stop and Amigo Express have easily accessible offices in downtown Montreal, and you can both sign up for membership and book a ride in the same visit. The cost varies by distance (from $5 upwards) but is generally under $12 one-way—which sure beats the price it would cost just to fill up on gas.
Do not litter—really. Even if people around you are doing it. Look for a trash can. And if you have recyclables, look for recycling containers. Montreal metro stations have both, though you are likely to find just regular trash cans on the street. If you can’t find trash or recycling bins, hang on to your trash until you reach a facility that has them!
So, you see, with hardly any effort at all, you can be on your way to transforming yourself from tourist—to ecotourist!