Canada F1 Travel Guide – How to Get to the Montreal Grand Prix

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Red Bull F1 Fan on the Montreal Metro traveling to the Canadian Grand Prix

The Canadian Grand Prix is located on a tiny island in the middle of a river near Montreal, Quebec. This means some of the more traditional methods of getting to the circuit are not an option.

This Canada F1 travel guide provides all the information you need to know to help you get to the GP. It details everything from public transport and Montreal F1 parking to the nearest airport and train stations.

Contents

Where is the Canadian Grand Prix?

The Canadian Grand Prix is held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which is home to the Wall of Champions.

This circuit is in the middle of a park called Parc Jean Drapeau on Notre Dame Island in the middle of the St Lawrence river. It’s in downtown Montreal in the Canadian province of Quebec.

See our article on the Canadian GP track for more information on the exact layout of the circuit on the island.

The full address of the circuit is:

  • Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
    Parc Jean Drapeau
    Montreal
    Quebec
    QC H3C 6A1
    Canada

How to get to the Montreal Grand Prix

By far the easiest way to get to the race circuit is using the Metro train system that runs throughout the city. This is 100% the recommended mode of transport for getting to the Montreal Grand Prix.

Other more conventional methods like driving and parking aren’t available near the circuit as it’s on an island.

Each section of this Canada F1 travel guide goes in to a lot more detail on the different ways of getting to the GP.

Montreal Metro system

Montreal has a great Metro system of underground trains.

The Metro stop you want to aim for closest to the Canadian Grand Prix is the Jean-Drapeau station. 

This is on St Helen’s Island which is the island adjacent to the one the circuit’s on.

Parc Jean-Drapeau Metro station is on the yellow line of the Montreal Metro system. It’s only one stop away from Berri-UQAM which is the main interchange for the whole Metro.

Below is a hi-res map of the Metro, click it full the full size version. You can see the short yellow line on the right side of the map. The only stop after Jean-Drapeau is the University which is the only Metro station on the southern side of the river.

Use the two journey planners below to see how to get to the Parc Jean Drapeau stop from the station nearest to you.

The CityMapper app is also a great way to plan your journey using public transport around a city that’s new to you.

Metro times

The Montreal Metro runs from 5.30am to 1am.

If you’ve got a Canada GP General Admission ticket and want to get to the track as early as possible to try and get a seat you’ll need to be in the queue well before the gates open between 7:30am and 8:30 am.

The 5:30am start on the Metro should be fine for that. Journey times for the stops furthest away on the Metro won’t be anything more than 40 – 45 minutes.

Metro tickets

In July 2022 the Montreal Metro began rolling out contactless card readers at all of its turnstiles. The plan was for these to be completed across every station within a year, but they weren’t quite finished everywhere in time for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix.

However, they should all be up and running ready for the 2024 race. That means you will be able to simply use your contactless credit or debit card to scan in to and out of every station without having to pre-purchase tickets.

You can still pre-purchase tickets on an OPUS card which may work out a bit cheaper if you’re planning on using the Metro a lot. Below are some example costs:

  • Single trip: $3.75 CAD
  • 24 hour ticket: $11.00 CAD
  • 3-day ticket: $21.25 CAD

If you do want to pre-purchase one of these tickets I’d suggest doing it as soon as you can and before the Sunday. Buying tickets is a bit of a slow process and the queues can be long on race day.

Getting to the circuit from the Metro

Once you’ve arrived at the Jean-Drapeau station there are two bridges you can walk across which go over the river and take you to Notre Dame Island where the circuit is located.

These are Cosmos Bridge (northern one) and Concorde Bridge (southern one). These take you to the Cosmos and Concorde circuit entrances respectively.

For details on the different entrance gates and which ones to use, see my guide to the Canadian GP entrances.

Which grandstand you’re sitting in will dictate which bridge / entrance you take:

General Admission ticket holders can use either bridge, depending on where you’re planning on going within the circuit.

There is sometimes shuttle bus 777 running from Jean-Drapeau station which goes to the Casino entrance. If you’re heading to the far side of the circuit (Grandstand 1, Platine Grandstand or the Paddock) then getting a seat on the bus will save you a lot of walking.

How busy will the Metro be?

On the Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend the Metro to Jean-Drapeau station will be very busy. On any normal day the walk from the station across Cosmos bridge to the circuit is little over 5 minutes, but on the race weekend you can expect it to take a lot more because of the amount of people traffic.

This will be even more extreme at the end of qualifying and the race itself, when all the fans will try and leave at the same time. You should plan to hang around at the circuit after the event for a while to let the hordes disappear.

Or if you’re staying in central Montreal, consider walking all the way back instead if it’s a nice evening.

River Shuttles to the Canadian F1

One of the best tips I can give you in this Canada F1 travel guide is to check out the Montreal river shuttles. They’re an under-utilised but great method of getting to the Grand Prix.

These go between the Old Port of Montreal and St Helen’s Island. During the F1 weekend they run a special timetable with extra crossings. One-way tickets cost $5.50 CAD per person.

Here’s a pin for where the river shuttle pick up / drop off point is in the Old Port of Montreal. 

For more information and to buy tickets in advance check out the Navettes Maritimes website. 

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Parking

There is no official public parking at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during the Formula 1 weekend.

The only Montreal F1 parking on the island itself is for hospitality ticket holders who have access to the Paddock Club. Those VIPs are able to park at the Casino within the circuit perimeter. If you want one of those parking spaces you need to pay over $10k for a Paddock Club pass!

If you’re insistent on driving and parking at the Canadian Grand Prix you’ll need to find parking on the mainland somewhere close to a Metro station and use the train for the final leg of the journey.

Here’s  few suggestions on where you can do that:

  • Complex Desjardins shopping mall in downtown Montreal. $24 per day parking which can be pre-booked. There are four Metro stations within a 5 minute walk of the mall which are only a couple of stops away from Parc Jean-Drapeau
  • Namur Metro station has a large shopping mall and Walmart right next to it which can be used for single-day parking. Just over 30 minutes on the Metro from Namur to Jean-Drapeau.
  • Street parking or parking lots near Berri-UQAM station. You’ll just have to hunt around for these, but this is central downtown so expect lots of road closures and traffic.
  • Parking lot next to the Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke Metro station. This is the best option if you’re coming from East of Montreal as it’s the other side of the river.

Below is a map of all of these parking areas.

The earlier you get to any of the above Montreal F1 parking locations the more likely you are to be able to find a space. Leave it too late and you’ll probably have to hunt around for some street parking and walk further to a Metro station.

Parking at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is not advised during the F1 weekend because of the traffic, but find a spot in one of the places listed above and it can be done. I’d recommend using one of the other methods of transport listed in this Canada F1 travel guide instead.

Bicycle

If the weather’s good and you want to avoid the crowds on the Metro, Montreal has a city bike sharing platform called BIXI. 

There are 800 bike stations dotted around the city and over 10,000 bikes available. There are even 3 stations on St Helen’s Island so you can ride almost all the way there.

Rides are $1.25 CAD for a single trip for non-members, and anyone can go and pick a bike up without pre-booking.

Uber to the Canada F1

Uber is present in Montreal, but will be exceptionally busy on the race weekend and will experience a lot of price-surges making it pretty expensive.

Plus they’ll get stuck in traffic. Sometimes they can get to the Casino entrance, but not often. Don’t rely on these as a good method of getting to the Canadian Grand Prix.

Nearest Airport to the Canadian Grand Prix

If you’re flying in for the Canadian Grand Prix, the nearest airport is the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL).

This is located just outside downtown Montreal and will be the best location for all international and domestic flight arrivals.

Unfortunately the Metro system doesn’t reach the airport. To get in to downtown you can either take a taxi, of which there’s loads waiting at the airport.

Alternatively you can use the dedicated airport shuttle. This is bus 747 which goes between the airport and downtown Montreal and runs 24/7. It drops off near the Berri-UQAM station which could take between 40 and 70 minutes, depending on traffic.

Tickets cost $11 for 24-hour unlimited use, but if you buy a weekend metro pass instead that includes this bus service.

More information can be found here and here. 

If you’ve got any suggestions on anything else to add to this Canada F1 travel guide, please drop a comment below.

 

Canadian GP - What to Expect

I’ll send you my 6 must-know tips for attending the Montreal F1 race so you are fully prepared, know what to expect and get the most out of the event.

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

leave a comment

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Free email guide

What to expect on your trip to the Canadian GP

My 6 most important tips for anyone going to the Montreal F1 race this year.