Bike Ride to Repentigny
L'Assomption & Terrebonne:
Part I: East-End Revisited 2003


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2004


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Bike Ride to Repentigny, L'Assomption & Terrebonne

Part I: The East End Re-Visited: Belle-Rive to Bout-de-l-Ile
Saturday, June 7, 2003


Belle-Rive

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Cast Terminals from Corner Bruneau & Bellerive

 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2000 St John's Ride)
2002 River View: Ventilation Towers for Lafontaine Tunnel
 

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Lafontaine Tunnel - CAST Terminal - Belle Rive
View Original in PDF

I proceeded east along Notre-Dame from the Caty-Bruneau Block, first passing by the towers of the Lafontaine Tunnel, next to the huge parking lots and entranceways of the massive Cast Container Terminal. Once alongside the terminal, the Bike Trail finally left the sidewalk and went along its own, shaded right-of-way. To my right, tall concrete walls hid all but a few glimpses of the terminal.


Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Alongside CAST terminal

 

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Belle Rive
View Original in PDF
 

At the far end, the wide river vista opened up as I cleared the concrete wall and looked out upon the green expanses of the Promenade Bellerive Park. I rode over to the riverfront at the western end of the park, to the same point where I had stopped in 1999, and near where Alex and I and Sheryl had wondered some time later.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)/(Taken on 1999 Bout Ile Ride)
Shoreline at Bellerive Park Shoreline (1999 View)

 

Click to enlarge
(Taken on 1999 Ride)
Eastward along shoreline at Parc Bellerive (1999 View)

I then rode along the 2.2km length of the shoreline, following the well-groomed gravel track along the crest of the embankment. At the eastern end, a wooden pier had been erected, allowing one to look back on the whole length of the open shoreline. [This is the first open shoreline the citizens can access west of the Verdun waterfront!]. From the eastern end of the park, the CAST terminal seems small and distant. Eastward, the shoreline along Montreal East remains closed.


Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Pier at Park Bellerive Shoreline from Bellerive Pier

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Harbour looking west from Bellerive Pier Montreal East from Bellerive Pier

 

Montreal East

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Monteal East Boundary
View Original in PDF

I was ready to head onward at 11:35. Just across the Montreal East boundary, the Bike Trail leaves the waterfront and returns to its position along the south side of Notre Dame.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Welcome to Montreal East

 

Before continuing eastward, I took a one-block detour up the first major street, Georges V, in order to check the state of the East End rail line. At one time this main line extended westward into town as far as Hochelaga, terminating at the Moreau Street Station. Originally built by Canadian Northern Railway around the turn of the 20th Century, it eventually fell into the hands of Canadian National. Some years earlier, I had noticed that the tracks had been taken up at the Pie IX crossing. Later, I visited the Maisonneuve Market with Sheryl, and saw that the tracks had just been removed. I was curious, then, just how far the rot had spread. At the western boundary of Montreal East, I saw that all but one single line had just been removed.


Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Mtl East: Pulling up the tracks: Looking West Mtl East: Pulling up the tracks: Looking East

 

Heading eastward along Notre Dame, I noticed that much had changed in the intervening three years since my last passage. The vast sea of oil storage tanks which used to line Notre Dame through Montreal East had been removed, and all was now vacant land. I guess when I look back, the signs were all there, even then. I wrote in 1999:

The bike trail proceeded along the left side of Notre Dame, through the middle of the vast refinery complexes: First the Shell, and then the Esso refineries. In an attempt to soften the bleaknes of the surroundings, the roadway was landscaped and cleaned up somewhat: Overhanging pipes, for example, were gaily painted. Still, there was no escaping the delapitated, empty look of a lot of the area. A lot of the tanks were rusting away and vast tracks of land stood empty. (It was such a contrast to when I remember first seeing the area, when my parents had driven this way back in 1971. In those days, everything looked prosperous and spiffy. All the tanks were freshly painted.

There was a detour around work on an underground culvert which must, at one time, have been a creek.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Mtl East: Detour on Notre Dame

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Mtl East: Old Creek bed (?) Mtl East: Industrial Plant

 

I stopped at the same "Esso Island" where I had paused in 1999 to take photos and climbed up to take the same shots, both up and down Notre Dame Boulevard.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Mtl East: Looking West on Notre Dame Mtl East: Looking East on Notre Dame

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 1999 Bout Ile Ride)
Mtl East: Looking West on Notre Dame (1999) Mtl East: Former Tank Farm: NE View (1999)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Mtl East: Former Tank Farm: NE View Mtl East: Former Tank Farm: SE View

 

Past the former tank farms, the Bike Trail drops briefly back down to the waterfront, to run through Montreal East's delightful, if small, waterfront park. It was 12:00 when I reached the park in Montreal East. Once through the two-block greenspace, one is guided back up to Notre Dame. (Actually, at this time it was even soon, for part of the path was blocked off.)

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Montreal East: Eastern enclave
View Original in PDF
 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Mtl East: Waterfront Park Mtl East: Path Blocked

 

Pointe-aux-Trembles

I did not follow the Bike Trail, which passed by Notre Dame, to run alongside the old rail line about a block to the north. I had taken this route back in 1999, but preferred the scenery of Notre Dame. I was on the lookout for the famous windmill that I had read about while doing research for my 1999 writeup. Armed with the address, and looking carefully, I managed to find it at the corner of 3rd Avenue.

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Pointe aux Trembles: Western End
View Original in PDF

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Pte aux Trembles: Windmill

 

Now hidden next to a funeral home, the windmill stook alone for many years. It was actually the second windmill built at Pointe-aux-Trembles. When built in 1719, it stood inland from the Chemin du Roi, which ran along the crest of a shoreline which is no longer there.

Click to Enlarge (From Historical Plaque: Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Map Showing Old Mill & Chemin du Roi

 

I continued eastward on Notre Dame as far as Boulevard St. Jean Baptiste, where one can descend to the river. Here is the original site of the village and fort of Pointe-aux-Trembles, and today the official beginning of the Port of Montreal. I try to visit this location on every passing, for it is a delightful place to watch the river traffic. The river pilots depart from here in small boats, to meet the large cargo ships anchored in the river. There is a riverfront park in front of the church, where one can look upriver at the private shorelines.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 1999 Ride to Boucherville Islands)
St. Jean Baptiste viewed from Opposite Shore (1999 View)

 

I stopped and relaxed for a lunch of cheese and salami as I explored the river with my field glasses. I found an historic plaque which explained the history of the region. It was 13:00 when I was underway again.

Click to enlarge (Taken on 1999 Ride)
1999 Views
Looking downriver from the pier
at St. Jean Baptiste Boulevard
Shoreline east of St. Jean Baptiste Boulevard
 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 2000 St John's Ride)
2002 River View: Pier & Park at St. Jean Baptiste Boulevard
 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Map Showing Original Fort

 

I headed east along Notre Dame, continuing to eschew the Bike Trail, which I had pioneered back in 1999. I'm glad I had a chance to go along the trail, but found the scenery along the main road to be much more interesting, despite the traffic. There were even occasional glimpses of the river.

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Pointe aux Trembles-2 Pointe aux Trembles-3
View Original in PDF
 

I came, at last, to the big powerline crossing. South of Notre Dame, this was left as a wild park, with a gravel road leading down to the boat landing.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Pte aux Trembles: Power Line Crossing

 

A bit further along, I passed the riverfront park at de la Rousselière, whence I had explored the railroad lines back in 1999. It is here that the Bike Trail rejoins Notre Dame, to run along a protected lane on its north side. I came upon the familiar park around the historic Maison Baudry, built in 1720.

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Pointe aux Trembles-4 Pointe aux Trembles-5
View Original in PDF
 

Click to enlarge (Taken on 1999 Ride)
East along Notre Dame near 58th Street (1999 View)
 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)/(1999 Bout Ile Ride)
Pte aux Trembles: Maison Baudry 1999 View

 

When I had passed this way in 1999, I had no idea there was a major railroad junction just a block away. It was during my subsequent research into the railroads of the area that I learned of the new CN line across the northern side of Montreal Island, which met the old main line at Pointe-aux-Trembles, just west of the Hawthorne-Dale Cemetary. When this line was completed in after the War, the old main line into Moreau Station became redundant. All passenger traffic was then routed around to the north and down into Central Station.

I was on the lookout and as soon as I saw the "Via Rail" sign, I headed north to find the station. Of course, few passenger trains come this way now, for the main corridor trains take the South Shore route.

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Pointe aux Trembles Train Station & Wye
View Original in PDF
 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Pte aux Trembles Railway Station

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Pte aux Trembles Railway Junction: Joining the Main Line
(Heading through Hawthorne-Dale)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Pte aux Trembles Railway Junction: Looking West

 

Bout de l'Ile

I returned to Notre Dame and continued eastward, through the wooded section. When, at the far side, the Bike Trail turned away to return to the tracks, I continued straight. The trail rejoined me at the 81st Avenue crossing, and I followed it as it led down to the river and to Bellerive Street.

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Bout de l'Ile 1
View Original in PDF

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Bout de l'Ile: Waterfront Park

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Bout de l'Ile: Side Passage through Islands

 

I retraced the route along the waterfront which I had first discovered in 1999, and reached Bout de l'Ile at 13:15. I did not take time to detour towards the park, however, but road directly up and onto the bridge, to cross over to Repentigny. It was already quite late in the afternoon and I began to set my sights on my ultimate goal: The town of l'Assomption.

Click to enlarge (from Ville de Montreal Web Site)
Bout de l'Ile-2
View Original in PDF

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)/(1999 Bout Ile Ride)
The new Pont Le Gardeur 1999 View

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2003 East End/L'Assomption Ride)
Bout de l'Ile Park

 

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
March, 2004