I have ridden along the north coast of the West Island, between Senneville and Cartierville, far fewer times than I have along the Lakeshore. Whereas I have typically made Lakeshore rides at least once a year, I may have only ridden along the north coast perhaps five or six times in total.
|Senneville: The Town Line|
Senneville starts abruptly when one feels they should still be within Ste. Anne de Bellevue. One rides around the shoreline past the Locks and the Church, and then comes to Senneville Road, which takes off immediately to the north. Senneville's town limits begin right at the corner.
The area between the two highways is characterized by straight country road, with relatively little traffic, as compared with Lakeshore Road. Looking to lakeward, one can catch no more than occasional glimpses of the water through the trees of a series of large estates. Landward, there are many small streets, with an almost suburban residential air. One passes several large institutional and light-industrial complexes.
I was surprised during my ride in 1999 to come upon what must be the last remaining commercial apple orchard on the Island of Montreal. It was in one of the large, shoreline estates, just before coming to the Highway 40 underpass.
I was also able to find, there, clear traces of the old road, now cut by the freeway.
|Senneville: Real Apple Orchard on Montreal Island|
|Senneville: The Lake of Two Mountains|
North of the underpass, one enters a stretch of empty countryside. The lakeward side is lined by a row of tall trees. It was one of these trees that snapped during the storm in 1998 and pulled down the powerline behind me.
One approaches a rather significant hill. While climbing, one can see a large house atop the hill on the landward side, with well-groomed grounds stretching down the hill along the driveway. I tried riding up the driveway one year to get a better photo, but had to make a hasty escape when loose dogs came bounding out after me.
There is an abrupt drop on the far side of the hill, into a deeply forested section. The road makes a definite curve to eastward.
Many large estates, with vast grounds, open out on the lakeward side, the lake now being Lake of Two Mountains. Homes along the heavily forested inland side tend to be more modest. There are several good vantage points where one can get a view over the lake.
|Senneville: Fancy House on the Hill||Senneville: Modest, Old-Style Homes|
|Senneville: Mansion||Senneville: Fancy Grounds & Gardens|
As one leaves the area along the point, the vast estates, with their finely groomed grounds, give way to some of the last remaining farms on the island of Montreal. I remember how surprised I was on my first ride out this way (in 1974) to come upon real, working farms. Senneville Road takes on more and more the feel of a small road out in the country.
|Senneville: The Quiet, Country Road||Senneville: Real Farms on Montreal Island|
As the trees give way to open fields, one comes upon a small roadside historic plaque, nested within a tiny park, which commemorates a battles of former times:
Following the Lachine massacre in August 1689, the Iroquois continued to terrorize the Montreal area. In October, Governor Denonville sent out a scouting party of 28 under the Sieurs Dulhut and d'Ailleboust de Manthet which came upon a party of 22 Iroquois in the lac des Deux Montagnes. In the mélée that followed this surprise encounter 18 Iroquois were killed, three taken prisoner, while one swam to safety. This victory did much to restore the shaken confidence of the inhabitants.
|Senneville: The Monument||Monument Text|
East of the monument, the country nature of the ride continues for a short while. One can already see off in the distance though, the signs of the suburban intrusion which has transformed much of the West Island.
|Senneville: More Quiet Road||Senneville: Open Meadows
& Approaching Civilization
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