Montréal's favorite waterfront park is your ideal gateway to the St. Lawrence River. Rent a pedal boat, take a ferry to Île Ste-Hélène, sign up for a dinner cruise, or, if you're really adventurous, ride a raft or a jet boat through the turbulent Lachine Rapids. If you're determined to stay ashore, however, there's still plenty to do, including street performances, sound-and-light shows, art displays, and exhibitions. Visiting warships from the Canadian navy and other countries often dock here and open their decks to the public. You can rent a bicycle or a pair of in-line skates at one of the shops along rue de la Commune and explore the waterfront at your leisure. If it's raining, the Centre des Sciences de Montréal on King Edward Pier will keep you dry and entertained, and if your lungs are in good shape you can climb the 192 steps to the top of the Clock Tower for a good view of the waterfront and the Islands; it was erected at the eastern end of the waterfront in memory of
merchant mariners killed during World War I. You can, quite literally, lose the kids in Shed 16's Labyrinthe, a maze of alleys, surprises, and obstacles built inside an old waterfront warehouse. Every couple of years or so the Cirque du Soleil comes home to pitch its blue-and-yellow tent in the Old Port. But be warned: when the circus is in town, the tickets sell faster than water in a drought.