There is an abrupt change at the Ste. Anne de Bellevue line. Both sides of the road open up, as the houses come to an end. On the inland side are the extensive grounds of MacDonald College while on the lake side the view is, for the most part, unobstructed by any buildings. The road to the Ste. Anne cemetary marks the town boundary.
|Ste. Anne: The Town Line||Ste. Anne: Entrance to Cemetary at Town Line|
Most of the time, I follow the bike path which runs the length of the park-like campus. At the eastern end it passes the on-campus residences that the university reserves for some of its faculty. Then the ride resembles that across a park, except for the stately architecture as one looks inland. The trail is high enough above the road and above any buildings along the water that one has a clear view of the channel. Of late, near the middle of the ride, one passes the immense terminus of the west end bus lines.
|Ste. Anne: Bike Path
across McDonald College Campus
|Ste. Anne: At the Baie d'Urfé Line
Bike Path Ends
The bike trail comes to an end at the western end of the campus, at Maple Street. There, one must rejoin the main road, which is quickly tranformed into a narrow street as it enters the village.
|Ste. Anne: Bridges & Canal Approach|
After a few blocks, it is possible to drop down to the waterfront. There one must dismount and walk the bike along the waterfront boardwalk. The maritime nature of the town of Ste. Anne is one of the things which make it such an attractive destination. At almost every season, there are at least a few boats tied up. During the busy Summer season, the entire length of the boardwalk is lined with boats tied up sometimes two and three deep. As I walk along, I enjoy watching the boaters relaxing or making bar-b-q's on their boats. There is always quite a crowd along the boardwalk itself, which is lined with trendy restaurants and outdoor terraces.
A stop of an iced cream cone is often a well-earned treat at the end of the two-hour ride.
|Ste. Anne: Looking out over the Channel
from the Bridge Sidewalk
|Ste. Anne: The Boardwalk & Quai Sera|
|Quai Sera has since burned down and the space is now a vacant lot|
|Ste. Anne: Along the Boardwalk:
|Ste. Anne: Lone Boat Tied Up in Channel|
|Ste Anne: The Locks on Ste Anne Canal|
A visit to the locks at Ste. Anne is another de rigueur part of each visit. During the season, it is fun to watch the boats pass through. Even when there are no boats, however, all the technology makes for an impressive sight.
There are four bridges going over the locks: Two highway bridges and two railway bridges. It is from the parking lot under the highway bridges that the access to the bike path leading over the northernmost (westbound) bridge is to be found. In former times, one rode around by the church and up through town to access the bike path via the highway entrance. No bikers are now allowed on the highway at this point.
|Boats in the Ste. Anne Locks|
|From the Bridge||From Alongide the Locks|
|The Park underneath the bridges|
One must walk across the lock gates to get to the small park that has been groomed along the levee separating the canal from the rapids. This small park, situated mostly underneath the bridges, makes for an excellent picnic spot. On every visit, at least one long and noisy freight train is bound to pass over one of the two main line railway trestles. It is always soothing to sit and watch the rapids.
Under the Highway Bridges
|Ste Anne: Rapids under Rail Bridges||Ste Anne: Rapids under Rail Bridges|
North from the park stretches a long jetty, out into the waters of Lake of Two Mountains. The space the small marina occupies was once the main canal, of which the long jetty was a functioning part. On every visit to the park, I usually ride out to the end of the jetty for the view.
|Boat Harbour at Ste. Anne Locks Looking towards
Ile-aux-tourts Bridge & Lake of Two Mountains
|The Pier at the Boat Harbour|
|Ste. Anne: Bridges Looking South from North Quai||Ste. Anne: Ile aux Tourtes Bridge
& Lake of Two Mountains
Looking North from End of North Quai
I was surprised once, when I came in late Summer, to see how the low water had transformed the area. People were wading out on the rocks, and could nearly cross the entire channel. When the water is higher, those with powerful boats sometimes bypass the canal. I guess this is not possible all season long.
|Ste. Anne: Bridges & Low Water from North Quai||Ste. Anne: Low Water off End of North Quai|
There is also a long jetty leading south from the locks, which forms the far side of the channel in front of town. Occasionally, I will ride down to the end of that quai. It is more difficult, however, as there are usually many people from the boats tied up alongside who are on the walkway.
|Ste. Anne: Channel from End of South Quai|
|Ste. Anne: Bridge-Sidewalk Approach from Ile Perrot|
For a long time, I always took the sidewalk across the south side (older) bridge when I went west of Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Even after I discovered the bike trail along the north side bridge, it was inconvenient to use it when approaching Ste. Anne from Ile Perrot, as it was on the wrong side of the highway. From the sidewalk, one has a magnificent view out over town as one approaches.
From the bike trail, on the other hand, one has a great view of trains crossing one of the two railway bridges.
|VIA Rail train|
|Approaching Ste. Anne's Trestle||Crossing the Bridge|
Sometimes, when I am in a hurry to move on to further destinations, I will ride through the old town along its narrow main street.
|Ste. Anne: A Look down the Main Street||Ste. Anne: Rustic House|