Bike Rides to the South Shore:
St. Lambert to Ste. Catherine
via La Prairie

Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2004


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St. Lambert to Ste. Catherine via La Prairie

Labour Day: Sept 3, 2001

Foreword

It was a nice day, and a great day to be cycling! Looking for something new to see, I decided to ride along the South Shore from the St. Lambert Locks to the Ste. Catherine Locks. While I had made this ride many times along the causeway, I had never done it along the South Shore proper. I would be surprised to run into things which I did not expect, such as a river barring my path or the rustic flood wall at La Prairie. All in all it was a good choice, and I would ride this way again

On my return, I explored, also for the first time, the lower reaches of Nun's Island. I discovered that ever-shrinking half of the island which is a wilderness park, and a great lookout at the foot of the island.

The [original write up], made right afterwards, is available.

Across Town: Documenting Some Changes

I got up later than expected, and so did not set out until 08:35. I followed the DeMaisonneuve Bike Path to Decarie, where I stopped to take photos of the soon-to-be-built-upon Glen Yards. I rode on down the hill at St. Jacques and over to the Lachine Canal, where that season they had an exhibition of floating artwork. I stopped across from the Atwater Market, where I could see that construction was about to erase a tree-filled lot and change the scence forever. Finally, I continued on to the end of the Canal, where work was well underway on the digging out of the old basins. A detour at the Des Seigneurs Locks had shunted everyone over to the south side, as the North side was now closed. It was 09:15 when I arrived at the head of the Canal. . Along Canal to head. See dug out harbour. Arrive at head of canal: 09:15

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
The Glen Yards: As they soon will not be

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
The Glen Yards: As they soon will not be

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Artwork on the The Lachine Canal

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Atwater Market View: Before Construction Atwater Market View: This View is now gone!

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Lachine Canal Construction

 

Cité du Havre and the Route to the South Shore

I followed the path out past the port and along Cité du havre until I reached the Concorde bridge. It was a beautiful day and the morning lighting made such an impressive sight that I decided to stop, from 09:30-09:35, to take a set of panoramic photos of the Old Port that was across from me. I continued along, then, across the two Expo Islands until I came to the St. Lambert Locks. (Greater detail on this section can be found in the write up of my [1999 Ile Notre Dame Loop Ride].)

(Composite of Images Taken 2001)
Composite Harbour Panorama
[See Full Sized View]

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Harbour Panorama - From Concorde Bridge
 

 

Across St. Lambert and Brossard

I crossed over at the St. Lambert Locks at 09:45, but remained until 10:05 to take photos as a ship passed through.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
St. Lambert Crossing: Up St. Lambert Crossing: Down

 

From the locks, the bike bath crosses over to the inland side of the freeway along the river. Through the town of St. Lambert, the path continues on the inland side, leaving the river and winding through suburbia. At the Brossard line, however, one is led back to the water's edge. I regained the shoreline at 10:20. A very nice section of bike path then runs alongside the water, until just past the Champlain Bridge, where it turns inland to run alongside the highway. I reached the Champlain Bridge at 10:30).

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Crossing Over South Shore Highway

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Path along South Shore: Approaching Champlain Bridge

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
The Champlain Bridge End of Waterfront Section

 

I dropped in, unannounced, at the pastor's house on Toulouse Street for a cup of tea (10:30-11:00). When I resumed, I followed the marked bike path as it ran along the frontage road of the busy highway. To my right were a line of new high rise condominiums, but I could still see the water on the far side. Eventually, the path came out at a riverside park. My joy at regaining the river was short-lived, however, for I saw that the path left the river completely, crossing under the highway to head into the suburbia of Brossard. It was 11:20 when I left the river.

La Prairie

I rode along the marked bike path painted onto the suburban streets, then onto a proper right-of-way as the trail turned west to along the clearing underneath some power lines, then out past brand new housing developments, before finally seeing the reason we had been shunted inland: Our way was blocked by the River St. Jacques, which I had never even known existed.

Out along the marshy banks of the river, suburbia mercifully came to a temporary end. There was a nice kiosk where cyclists could rest, and then a footbridge to carry the path over the river to the far side. On the La Prairie side, the trail ran along the eastern edge of a vast, artificial lake, complete with fountains. The far shore was peppered with new housing developments.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Looking Back on Path & Kiosk: Approach to River Crossing

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Crossing the River: Looking North to Highway

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Alongside the Artificial Lake in La Prairie

 

I reached old Laprarie at 11:35. Along with the River St. Jacques and the artificial lake, this too was an area I had never seen before! The old section of town was faced with a flood wall, which must have protected it before the Seaway and the highway were built. Behind the wall was an old-fashioned town with narrow streets and rustic buildings, which I took a few minutes exploring. In front of the flood wall was a small tunnel leading under the highway to the waterfront proper. I followed the tunnel and it brought me out to a marina on the channel. Always enjoying the soothing presence of water, I staked my place at the pier to enjoy my snack: A fresh peach.

When I returned to continue along the bike path, I found that it left the river almost immediately, to head inland along the streets of the town. Only when the main highway curved away from the shoreline to head south did the bike trail begin to run alongside the water again, along Marie Victorin into the town of Candiac.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2002 River Ride)
La Prairie on the South Shore (Binoculars)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2002 River Ride)
La Prairie Flood Wall

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Montreal and Seaway from La Prairie Pier

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
La Prairie Pier from Seaway Dike

 

Candiac, Delson and Ste. Catherine

Soon the bike trail was leading right alongside the shoreline, on a marked should beside Marie Victorin. In Candiac, the trail led for a ways through a waterfront park where they even provided an air hose for cyclists! It was 12:00 when I reached this point: Time to call Sheryl.

Past the park, the trail resumed its place alongside the road. Crossing a small bridge brought me into the town of Delson, and then barely two blocks later I had crossed into the town of Ste. Catherine. By this time the upcoming locks were clearly in view. Many of the channel islands below these locks had been groomed into parks, and there were paths and footbridges connecting them.

It was 12:30 when I got to the Ste. Catherine locks. I took a detour, to ride over to the Recreoparc, with which I had already become quite familiar. I found a place alongside the river where I could watch the rapids with my field glasses as I ate my lunch of cheese and grapes. I stayed from 12:30-13:00.

Returning Home: Nun's Island

I out at 13:00 to begin my return home. As I rode along the levee bike path, I was favoured with a strong tail wind. I made the 1km distance to the Ice Bridge in only 45 minutes (13:00-13:45). Making the now quite familiar crossing, I came to Nun's Island at 14:05.
Click to Enlarge (Taken on 1998 South Shore Ride)
The Seaway Dike: Ste. Catherine to Champlain (1998)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2001 South Shore Ride)
Mont Ste. Hilaire from Seaway Dike

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 2002 River Ride)
The Champlain Ice Bridge (2002)

 

Since it was still quite early, I decided to explore Nun's Island by bicycle for the very first time. On all previous rides, I had ridden across the eastern end of the island as quicly as possible. This time I followed the marked bike alonside the road to the bottom of island. Where the long string of new developments finally ended at a construction site, I found myself riding through what was left of a wild park. I reached the foot of island at 14:20. There was a small meadow and a cleared spot to look out across the water at the LaSalle Shoreline and the distant rapids. I took a break to have a look see and a snack: A thick slice of whole wheat bread.

The path continued on around the island, so I left to head up the other side at 14:30 and by 14:45 I was back at the top of the island, coming in along Golf Road.

Homeward Bound

I was back at the Lachine Canal, just east of the Atwater Market at 15:00, when I called Sheryl to check in. I followed the canal past locks at St. Henri and on to the Notre Dame exit. I followed Notre Dame and come home via the Angrignon overpass, returning back up along St. Jacques to cross the railroad tracks at the Beaconsfield pedestrian skywalk.

I got to my street at 15:45, but remained to talk with Cyrice until 16:05. I had been gone for seven and a half hours.

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
January, 2004