[Early Days]  
[Many items have been suppressed in this Lite Version]
It's hard to remember now what the long stretch between Cote St. Paul and Ville St. Pierre looked like when I first rode along it. Indeed, I have been along this section much less, for most often I would catch the Canal Trail at Ville St. Pierre, to head west, and at Cote St. Paul, to head east.
The pre-Trail picture shows the north bank of the Canal to be open and bare. It was not thus even when I first encountered it, but the trees that had been planted were just young saplings, and provided little shade. It was hot riding in the sun along the open trail.
I recall being amazed the first time when the trail came abreast of Highway 20 and I could see the cars whizzing by as I pedaled along. There were no footbridges across the Canal, and the 'halte' at Notre Dame was only rudimentary. Alongside the Canal, behind the factories, ran a railroad line, which has only recently been taken out. The old Canal drainage ditch was also visible. Along the south bank was the massing Sidbec Steel complex, followed by that of Monsanto Chemical (the old Lasalle Coke Plant), with the impressive old coke crane. Beyond that, the north bank was empty, save for the open fields climbing the hillside.
Later, in the mid to late 1980s, I began to access the Trail from time to time via the Notre Dame Halte, where I could easily park. The trees were larger by then, and provided more shade. In the late 1980s, the Angrignon Shopping Centre was built, and a footbridge was added at that point. (These footbridges and viaduct extensions were in the original 1979 plans!)
In 1991, I used to ride down via the viaduct and then Notre Dame Street, to catch the Canal, and then return to use the footbridge. It was in this way that I did shopping at Zellers to furnish my new apartment. Work was already underway on the extension of the viaduct to link up with Trinitaires.
Except for the growth of the trees, little has changed along this stretch since the opening of the Lachine Bike Trail. There are two new footbridges and two new highway bridges.
Looking west along the Canal's south bank from the Cote St. Paul bridge. The land that I was standing on was once the channel north of the support island of the old swing bridge. This view today would be cut by the new bridge.
|West along Canal from Cote St. Paul Bridge|
The trail heads off west, past the two red cabooses. I always knew here that I was heading out for the long stretch. The tall trees to the right were planted to shield the path from the railroad tracks, which have since been removed.
|Trail heads West along North Bank|
From Cote St. Paul 'Halte'
The typical Summer view, riding along in the cool shade, under the tall trees.
|West from Cote St. Paul along North Bank|
|Canal South Bank in Lasalle: Looking East|
|Canal North Bank in Lasalle: Looking West|
Towards Coke Tower in distance
A welcome respite, and a good place to access the Trail. Looking through the trees, one can see the Turcot Container Yards in the background, now gone. On many occasion I have left the trail here and gone along Notre Dame to cross the viaduct and come home via Montreal-Ste. Anne Road and St. Jacques. There is a footbridge at this location, which has remained closed.
|At the Notre Dame 'Halte'|
In the distance can be seen the Trinitaires Bridge, and beyond that the footbridge over the Canal. At the right can be seen Notre Dame climbing up to the viaduct. Along this section is the most open expanse, and nearest to the highway.
|Canal South Bank at Notre Dame 'Halte': Looking West|
New Trinitaires Bridge in distance
Back into the wooded area, as factories and a large container depot line the highway side of the Trail.
|Canal South Bank in Ville St. Pierre: Looking West|
Near Gauron Bridge
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