Bike Rides about Town:
West Island Composite
Pierrefonds


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2003

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Pierrefonds


Anse à l'Orme & the Pierrefonds Countryside

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Sept, 1999 West Island Tour Ride)
Pierrefonds: Ruisseau à l'Orme
Click to Enlarge (Taken on Sept, 1999 West Island Tour Ride)
Pierrefonds: The Last Farm

 

One passes the last farm and then the road comes out at the cove of Anse à l'Orme. There is an intersection as Chemin de l'Anse à l'Orme heads inland alongside the small river of the same name. There is a small bridge crossing the river, and from which one can look lakeward out onto the cove.


 

As the road goes round the cove, one passes the small community of suburban homes that is nestled there, almost like a small town. At the base of Cap St. Jacques, the road turns abruptly to the right and becomes Boulevard Gouin, which cuts, straight-as-an-arrow, across the base of the cape.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~16:15)
Pierrefonds (Anse à l'Orme): Anse à l'Orme Shoreline Pierrefonds (Anse à l'Orme):
Boul Gouin through Anse à l'Orme

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~16:15)
Pierrefonds (Anse à l'Orme):
Sailboarding at Anse à l'Orme Park
Pierrefonds (Anse à l'Orme):
Shoreline of Retreat
North of Anse à l'Orme Park

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~16:10)
Pierrefonds (Anse à l'Orme): Colonial House along
Boul. Gouin at Cove

 

Except for occasional houses on the south side, this section of Boulevard Gouin is lined with open fields and small stretches of low, scrub forest. Cap St. Jacques is now a regional park, so the north side of the road is likely to remain undeveloped, whereas signs of development are already creeping into the south side.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~16:00)
Pierrefonds:
Boul. Gouin across Cap St. Jacques

 

I first explored the Cap St. Jacques Regional Park, north of Gouin Boulevard, in 2003.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:45)
Cap St. Jacques: View Westward from Cape over Lake of Two Mountains Cap St. Jacques: View of Beach Cove on Lake of Two Mountains

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:45)
Cap St. Jacques: View of Beach on Lake of Two Mountains

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:45)
Cap St. Jacques: Beach Sign
- Are they serious?

 

"At the point where one passes the main entrance to the park begins a nicely groomed bicycle trail running along the shoulder of Boulevard Gouin", I wrote from the memory of earlier rides. On the latest ride, no trace remained of this path.

Along the River & into Populated Pierrefonds

On the far side of the point, there is a scenic stretch where the road runs right along the open shoreline of the Rivière des Prairies. Although there are now occasional homes along the way, the rural feeling is maintained a bit longer.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:30)
Pierrefonds (Crystal Beach): View over Water towards Cap St. Jacques Pierrefonds (Crystal Beach):
Last Rustic View along Gouin
(This will soon be gone!)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:30)
Pierrefonds (Crystal Beach):
View Eastward along Boul. Gouin

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:15)
Pierrefonds (Crystal Beach): Encroaching Development

 

This feeling ends abruptly. One passes the first suburban street heading south, Chateau Pierrefonds Boulevard, and then is immersed in suburbia, complete with gas stations and depanneurs along Boulevard Gouin. The boulevard has left the open shoreline, and so both side are lined with these newly built homes.

Just to the south of Boulevard Gouin, the old, original highway, begins Pierrefonds Boulevard, the new and wide boulevard which runs parallel all the way across Pierrefonds to Sources Road.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~15:00)
Pierrefonds: Extension of Boul. Pierrefonds
past Chateau Pierrefonds
Eating up the Last Farmland on the Island

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Drive: 031101)
Pierrefonds:
Pierrefonds Boulevard looking West from Farm
(Close Up)

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Drive: 031101)
Pierrefonds: Remaining Farm Lot amidst Suburbia
- From Pierrefonds Boulevard

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Drive: 031101)
Pierrefonds: Remaining Farm Lot amidst Suburbia
- From Boulevard Gouin

 

Along Pierrefonds Boulevard, just west of Ste. Geneviève is a stately church which has one of the west islands best kept secrets, a tall hill, rising behind it.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~14:45)
Pierrefonds: Majestic Church along Boul. Pierrefonds

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~14:55)
Pierrefonds: View Northward from Hill Behind Church

 

Gouin continues for a mile of so, until it passes the northern end of St. Charles Road and then enters the quaint, old village of Ste. Geneviève. Up until quite recently, Ste. Geneviève was the only town along this coastline, and all else was farmland.

West of Ste Geneviève & the Ile Bizard Bridge

The town of Pierrefonds, which was once that portion of the parish of Ste. Geneviève that was not within the latter's town limits, encircles the older village. Thus, after passing through Ste. Geneviève, one comes out again into Pierrefonds.

Upon leaving the main part of the village, but still within its limits, one comes abruptly to the wide open and major intersection with the road coming leading to the Ile Bizard bridge. At this point, one is very close to Pierrefonds Boulevard, which parallels Boulevard Gouin on the inland side.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~13:55)
Ste. Geneviève: Boulevard from Ile Bizard at Boul Gouin
Boul. Pierrefonds in Distance

The official bike path runs along the should of Pierrefonds Boulevard. I took this bike path a couple of times in the early 1990s, but I soon found it far less interesting that riding along Boulevard Gouin. Whereas Gouin retains its old style charm, Pierrefonds Boulevard is just another wide suburban avenue, with strip mall developments lining both sides.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~13:35)
Pierrefonds: Boul. Gouin at St. John's Road Pierrefonds: Pierrefonds Boulevard at St. John's Road
Official Bike Path

 

Leaving the bridge area, Gouin becomes a quieter, tree-lined road, lined with older houses. It continues alongside the river until one passes the norther end of St. John's Road.

Across the Neck of Pierrefonds' Point

As Gouin cuts across the neck of the point in Pierrefonds, it loses its quaint nature and becomes, once again, just a busy, suburban route. All around are blocks of new homes and Gouin is lined with small businesses and tiny shopping centres. Traffic is quite heavy for the narrow street. It is a long and unintersting stretch. (But the same stretch along the parallel Pierrefonds Boulevard, where the official bike path is located, is even more uninteresting.)

Exploring the Peninsula

Only once before 2003, on my very first ride out this way in 1974, did I ride out to the end of the point. At the far end, across the railroad tracks, are several large blocks of new apartment buildings. From the parking lot, one has a panoramic view of the river. I remember, from that first ride 30 years ago, that Gouin was far less built up than it is today.

In 2003, I decided to take a ride around the peninsula's edge, along the water, to see what was there.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~13:25)
Pierrefonds: Westward View from Parc de la Rive Boisé
Ile Bizard Bridge in Background
Pierrefonds: View from Parc de la Rive Boisé

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~13:15)
Pierrefonds: Downriver View from Ile Barwick Pierrefonds: Channel between Ile Bigras & Ile Perrot

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~13:00)
Pierrefonds: Parc des Arbres - On the Far Side

There is an undeveloped park nestled along the west side of the CN tracks at the bridge. Access is also possible (For now, but not for long I imagine) from the other side.

The only crossing is at the end of Sources Boulevard. It was this crossing that I explored back in 1974, when all around was still pretty empty.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on 1998 Two Mountains Ride)
Pierrefonds Point, from Across the River

 


Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~12:15)
Pierrefonds: Laval Shore from Rapids Park

 

There remains, for the time being, a small spit of wilderness along the eastern side of the CN tracks, up to the bridge.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~12:15)
Pierrefonds: Beyond Riverdale: Soon-to-be-Gone Wilderness

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~12:30)
Pierrefonds: Wilderness Trail Beyond Riverdale

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~12:30)
Pierrefonds: CN Bridge to Ile Bigras

 

Leaving Pierrefonds Along Gouin

Things change rapidly as one comes to the end of Pierrefonds. One passes the northern end of Sources Road, and a block later the traffic from Pierrefonds Boulevard is shunted over to Gouin, as the latter traverses the railroad tracks and enters the town of Roxboro. Where narrow Gouin had been just busy, it now, with the addition of all the extra traffic, becomes quite difficult.

Quite often, of late, I have left the north shore route at Sources, to cut inland as a shortcut home. I ride south on Sources Road, past the shopping centres and Hwy 40, to Hymus, where I head east to find my route north of the airport that brings me out at Cote Vertu. From there I find my way to the crossing underneath the Hwy 40 (once again) at the Kraft plant.

Leaving Pierrefonds Along the Bike Trail

I discovered in 2003 an alternate route out of Pierrefonds. There is a short bike path which leads through the forest along the edge of the river and comes out in Roxboro. Alas, the forest is fast being encroached upon by developers.

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~11:45)
Roxboro/Pierrefonds: Bike Path east of Tracks Roxboro/Pierrefonds: Bike Path through Woods

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~11:45)
Roxboro/Pierrefonds: Riverside Woods

 

Click to Enlarge (Taken on Gouin Ride: Thanksgiving Day - 2003: ~12:00)
Pierrefonds: Housing Tracts Encroach on Riverside Woods

 

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
March, Oct, Nov 2003