This would be the second time that I rode the Grande Two Mountains/Oka/Hudson Tour. I had first made this ride the previous year, after having met, by pure chance, my friends Claudia and Gilbert in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, as they were returning from this route. I had ridden the Oka trail many times, once even having taken it with Sheryl. I had also been several times to Hudson. This would only be the second time I had closed the loop by taking the Oka/Hudson ferry. When I had come the previous year, I had not brought my camera!
It was day 2 of my summer vacation and I was anxious, no "hot" would be a better word, to get in a bike ride. Day one of my vacation had been spent writing. This day, Sheryl was taking a course and would be busy all day.
Although I would get a late start, I would nevertheless end up cycling for 13 hours in total. This time included many stops, however. for I took lots of photos and made lots of notes.
Read the Original August - 1998 Write-Up, if desired.
08:45 Although I had announced the night before that I would be getting up early and getting an early start, I ended up starting out late. I had initially set the alarm for 05:00, but during the night I re-set it for 06:00. In the morning, I slept right through the alarm and did not get out of bed until 7:30. All of this caused Sheryl to begin singing a laughing song about my getting starting, with the refrain ending in "Ha, Ha, Ha"...
So, at 8:45, I set out for my morning ride...
09:45 or so... I reached the "Back River", having followed my normal route up past Blue Bonnets; past the Kraft factory in TMR; under the Met; up through residential streets of Ville St. Laurent, to Cote Vertu; over to Marcel Laurin for two blocks, to Thimens; then east to Grenet, which I followed to Gouin.
I crossed the Pont LaChapelle and caught the Laval bike path on the far side. as it swung down underneath the bridge. On the far side, the trail went along the shoreline as it crossed the grounds of the old polyvalent high school. Then it climbed up to Boulevard Levesque, where it became a painted shoulder.
Leading over to Laval
|Riviere des Prairies:
Looking east from Pont Lachapelle
|Riviere des Prairies:
Looking west from Laval side of bridge
Soon a large park opened up on my left. It was just before the crossing of Promenade des Iles, a large boulevard that descended the hill towards the river. As soon as the park appeared, the bike path left the street to enter the park and begin descending the hill to meet up with Promenade des Iles.
The previous year, I had chosen not to go that way, for it seemed lead out of the way. I had left the bike path when it turned down towards the "Islands" and had continued along the long, boring stretch of residences found on Boulevard Levesque and Boulevard Samson.
This time, therefore, I decided to follow the bike path to see where it might lead. I made the turn into the park and descended along along Promenade des Iles. The excursion was nice, actually, and did not end up taking me too far out of my way. There was a quick run down onto the Islands, across a tiny bridge; and then a ride back up to the mainland, across yet another tiny bridge. Soon the bike path met up once again with Boulevard Levesque, which seemed to have originally been the old river road.
Boulevard Levesque came to an abrupt end where Hwy 13 had cut across it. The bike trail left the road and climbed up through the open fields next to the 13 and under the power lines, until it came out at the wide, modern and busy Boulevard Samson. I rode up onto the overpass crossing the highway.
|Laval bike path climbing up to end
alongside Hwy 13
|Hwy 13 crossing at Chemin Samson|
10:40 I was atop the Boulevard Samson bridge, overlooking Highway 13
|Looking south along Hwy 13|
Coming down the far side of the overpass, I turned left at the first opportunity, to descend once more towards the river and find Bord de L'Eau. I imagine that before the 13 was built, Bord de L'Eau was the same road as Boul Levesque had been on the far side
Indeed, I remember coming back from Ile Bigras by car, in the mid-1970s, and driving along this road, then uninterrupted.
|Bord de l'eau looking east.
It was the old road, now cut off by the 13
|Bord de l'eau, at beginning,
just past the Hwy 13
|Bord de l'eau, looking west|
As I rode along this bit of 'country' still left in Laval, I could not help but notice how the onrush of development had increased, even since my visit of the previous year. What had been farmers' fields on both side gave way to "Projets domiciliaires", each a separate collecion of cracker boxes.
A bit of history was still to be found, however, in the form of an old roadside shrine, only slighly displaced to make room for a housing development
|Roadside shrine, from yesteryear||Calvaire Sauriol|
En 1923, Raoul Sauriol, tailleur de pierre, edifia ce calvaire surmonté d'un toit à quatre versants et d'une crois en pierre. Plusieurs membres de sa famille attestent que M. Sauriol accomplissait ainsi un voeu, en action de grâce à Dieu pour un grand bienfait.
Les quatre murs en pierres de champs, solidement montés sur des fondations de béton, ainsi que les linteaux de pierre en font un spécimen unique sur l'île Jésus et même au Québec, où les abris des croix et calvaires sont presque toujours en bois et ouverts aux quatre vents.
La cérémonie de bénédiction, présidée par le Père Sigouin, S.J., ami de M. Sauriol, attira une foule considérable de fidèles des environs. Un témoin raconte: "Sur un mille de longueur, les véhicules occupaient des deux bords du chemin. Il y avait un choeur de chant dirigé par la maîtresse d'école."
Autour du crucifix, M. Sauriol avait disposé des statues de la Sainte Vierge, de saint Joseph et de deux anges tenant chacun un bénitier. Il venait souvent y réciter le chapelet et le voisinage y faisait de neuvaines ainsi que le dévotions du mois de Marie.
Sauriol's Wayside Cross
In 1923, Raoul Sauriol, a stone mason, build this wayside cross covered with a four-sided roof and a stone cross. Several members of his family attest that M. Sauriol thus completed a vow, as thansgiving for a large favour received.
The four field stone walls, solidly mounted on concrete foundations, as well as the stone lintels, make this a unique specimen, not only on Ile Jesus, but even across Quebec, where the coverings for roadside crosses are almost always made of wood and are open on the four sides.
The blessing, presided over and Father Sigouin, a friend of M. Sauriol, attracted a considerable crowd of the local faithful. One witness remembers, "For over a mile, vehicles were parked on both side of the road. There was a chior directed by the school mistress."
Around the crucifix, M. Sauriol had placed statues of the Virgin Mary, of Saint Joseph, and of two angels each holding a holy-water basin. He came often to say the Rosary and the people of the neighbourhood came for Novenas as well as for devotions during the festival of Mary.
|Riviere des Prairies:
Looking south from Bord de l'Eau.
Even with the lakefront apartments in Pierrefonds, which I first saw during my 1974 'Gouin' bike ride)
At a certain point, Bord de L'Eau joins up with Boul. Samson, the new, combined road retaining the name of Bord de L'Eau. Looking south at at another point, one could see the apartments of Pierrefonds across the river.
11:10 I reached Ste. Dorothée, just past a small commercial hub near the turn off for Ile Bigras. At Ste. Dorothee, the road goes under the railway bridge of the Two Mountains Commuter Line, and on the far side, to the right, is the Ste. Dorothée commuter rail station.
|Rail bridge over Bord de l'eau,
just past Ile Bigras turn off
|New Ste. Dorothy train station|
The road enters the exclusive, and one-time 'anglo' enclave of Laval sur le lac.
|Entrance to Laval-sur-le-Lac|
I passed the 'cable' ferry to Ile Bizard. There were a few years around the time of my discovery of this corner that I came and went via the ferry route and the West Island.
Just past the ferry is 'Peuplier' (Poplar) street, which cuts across the neck of the island, parallel to the train tracks. Only once have I ridden around the long way.
|Laval-Ile Bizard ferry||Laval-Ile Bizard ferry, sign|
11:24 I reached the Barrage Grand Moulin, where the Lake of Two Mountains exits to become the Mille Iles River. I had cut across the western tip of Lavel, across the town of Laval sur le lac, on Peuplier Street. As a contrast to earlier years, they had now built a proper bike trail along this street, which parallels the train tracks. On the other side of the tracks is the golf course. I rode by where once had been the 'Laval Links' train station.
The Barrage Grand-Moulin was built in the early 80's for flood control and provides a connection between Laval and Two Mountains for those on a bike.
|Barrage Grand Moulin, sign|
|View of barrage Grand Moulin|
|Upstream side, from Laval||Downstream side, from Two Mountains|
|Top of barrage Grand Moulin||Mille-Iles River, looking downstream from Barrage|