[1999: Before Construction]
[Many items have been suppressed in this Lite Version]
In the beginning, the Bike Trail hugged a narrow right-of-way west of the Rockfield Bridge, between the back of a long cement-block factory building and the concrete banks of the Canal. Suddenly, past this obstacle, the Trail opened out into a long parklike expanse, and came to a rest area complete with washrooms, benches, and a small parking lot.
Sometime in the early 1990s the building was removed. For a long period the Bike Trail reverted to a gravel surface across that space. Finally, the building's area was fenced off as a soccer field and the Trail was re-paved. Across St. Patrick from this section are the ends of residential streets with modern housing.
The road had always crossed the Locks at the western end, and it may have been thus when I first came upon this area by bike. Clearly, the plan shows that the none of the new road and bridge existed before 1979, even the section through Lasalle! I can remember the huge Dominion Bridge structure just east of the old bridge, and how There seemed to always be a few empty steel barges tied up, sometimes loaded with huge pieces of steel bridgework.
Once I began to visit the area regularly, the new roadway and bridge were well entrenched. There would be a busy bike path crossing, and then the rail would continue alongside the old Canal and Chemin du Canal. There would be a footbridge leading across to the centre island, where the trail crossed the driveway leading into the Marina, at the Marina gate. It was never possible to ride down into the Marina. The trail continued alonside the driveway until it reached St. Joseph. At one time, the Bike Trail went a ways alongside the south sidewalk of St. Joseph, until it crossed onto Monk Island via a footbridge at the foot of 7th Avenue. This was later removed and replaced by a pedestrian footbridge right by the Monk Pavillion, and a today's bicycle bridge was built at the corner of the island. This, of course, has all been changed once again (See Below)
The original plans clearly called for the devlopment of a park on the outer jetty, the park that would eventually become Parc Levesque. I do not recall ever seeing the area before it was turned into a park, nor can I recall when I first rode through it. I do remember, though, that the trees were much smaller then.
The first (or last) section of the Lachine Trail, between the LaSalle 'Halte' and the LaSalle Boulevard crossing.
|Looking East along Path in Lasalle||Approaching Lachine End of Canal|
|Lachine End of Canal|
The 'new' road bridge. The old road did not need a bridge, as the area it crossed was all filled in. There was a bridge for the Dominion Bridge Company's railway, connecting the plant with the wharves. The abutment of this bridge can still be seen in the photo. Construction is already underway. The lock area has been dug out and an earthen cofferdam is in place.
The decision to continue on to Parc Levesque or to veer right towards Lachine is now made right at the intersection. The Trail to Lachine parallel the road, except for a brief portion where it sets out in its own right-of-way through the grass. The driveway for the Marina now comes from the south
In early Spring of the year the Canal was to open again, the locks have been completed, but the Visitor's Centre is just beginning to be erected.
|Lachine Locks: March 2002|
The view in May (from the opposite direction: Looking West from the new bridge) shows how quickly the work on the Visitor's Centre has progressed.
|Lachine Locks: May 2002|
By July, everything was done. Boats filled the locks to begin their descent of the Canal.
|Boats in Canal Locks at Lachine|
|Heading Down the Canal|
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