An Afternoon Under the Van Horne Overpass

Even on a Rainy Day, the Popular Skatepark is a Skater’s Haven

It’s a hot, rainy and foggy July afternoon in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, a seemingly horrible day to bust out the skateboards. However, the damp weather is no cause for concern for those familiar with the beautiful skatepark under the Van Horne overpass.

Located five minutes away from Rosemont metro, the park sits at the foot of the historical Van Horne warehouse, giving it a gorgeously industrial ambiance.

In 2019, the park officially opened for the first time. It was built as a response to Mile-End’s desperate need for spaces dedicated to young people and as part of a larger plan to revitalize the borough. At the time of conception, it was also the largest street-style park in Quebec. Since then, the park has grown into a beloved and famous spot for Montreal skateboarders, and even for people outside the city, due to its thoughtful design and unique features.

In the early afternoon, the park is relatively quiet, but by 4 p.m., a crowd gathers and the skatepark comes alive with the sounds of rolling wheels and slamming boards on the ground. Fortunately, due to the composition of the park, even if the skatepark is full, skateboarders will always be able to try their favourite obstacles. Photos by Alice Martin.

The Mile-End skatepark is overlooked by the Van Horne warehouse, a Mile-End legacy building, and is located under the Van Horne overpass. The park features a full bowl section, a large flat space and a large variety of obstacles, making the park interesting to beginner and advanced skateboarders, as well as everyone in between.
(Left to right) Jean-Christophe Côté, Artem Mogylnyi, Kostia Kozachynskyi (pictured here) and Xavier Beriault (not pictured here) settle in to start their afternoon session. The four skateboarders from Ottawa were on a road trip to Quebec City. They were passing through Montreal and were well aware of the spot’s existence. They knew they had to make a stop under the overpass.
Beriault attempts a kickflip on one of the park’s many rails. The Van Horne skatepark was built so that all obstacles run in parallel lines that follow the overpass, which makes the flow of the park easy to grasp, and collisions rare.
Kozachynskyi (pictured above) and Mogylnyi (pictured below) pop ambitious jumps on the park’s ramp.
Côté skates in the bowl section of the park. He has been skating for sixteen years now and bowls are one of his favourite things to do.

According to Empire, the Mile-End skatepark is the first in Montreal to feature a full bowl section with a snake run–a transition between bowls that allows skateboarders to change bowls without losing speed. The entire bowl section is not covered by the overpass, but the rain seemed to dry quickly, allowing Côté a few runs.

If skateboarders initially come to the Mile-End skatepark to get their fix of physical activity, they stay for its beauty. One of the overpass pillars features large wall art of a skateboarder, an important reminder of the place being designed for skateboarders, in a city that hasn’t always been welcoming of them. The rest of the park is just as colourful, even on a rainy day.