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Montreal and its Waterways

Posted by on August 11, 2012

We have spent the past two weeks within 35 miles of Montreal, first in the downtown area and then exploring the lakes (Lac Saint-Louis and Lac Saint-Francois) and satellite communities (Lachine, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue) to the west.

The city core of Montreal is quite familiar to us from our visits with our daughter, Vanessa, when she attended McGill University. This time we spent a full week there, revisiting old favourites (Mont Royal for its excellent views, the Old Port for its restaurants, fireworks, and always vibrant street scene) and discovering new gems (the Botanical Gardens). We went for two extended bike rides, one along the Lachine Canal (a National Park because of its natural setting and impressive historical significance) and another beside and across the St. Lawrence to view the Lachine rapids (which also took us through extensive parkland).  Great cycling – another reason why we love Montreal!

The areas we explored in the second week were new to us. We had imagined this section of the Seaway would be quite industrialized and perhaps not that appealing to recreational boaters, however we found the river setting to be very enjoyable. The waters of the two lakes that comprise the St. Lawrence here are very clean and warm, excellent for watersports. We swam often, because it was very hot! Even the Seaway locks and connecting canals are mostly framed by green surroundings (and impressive for their size and engineering too). The satellite communities were also fun, Salaberry de Valleyfield in particular. It caters to boaters – for $20 per night we tied up right next to a splendid park adjacent to downtown. Free evening entertainment we could enjoy while lounging on the bridge included a sound and light show on the old canal and an oldies rock concert at the park bandstand.

We`ll soon begin our trip up the Ottawa River to our nation`s capital. When we turn to port to enter the Rideau Canal we`ll have spent about seven weeks travelling through Quebec by boat. The desire to see this province and other parts of eastern Canada from the water was one of the compelling reasons for purchasing His Idea and embarking on this trip. Without a doubt, the time we have spent in Quebec has provided a great experience.

Montreal skyline at dusk, from the Pavilion viewpoint on Mont Royal.

 

Cycling the Lachine Canal (its about about 13k from the Old Port to Lachine); many of the old factories lining the canal have been converted to condos.

 

Surfing the Lachine Rapids at the riverside park in suburban Montreal; there were about 25 surfers at this location.

 

The streets of the Old Port at night, which are filled with people (both tourists and locals) who come for the abundant restaurants and variety of often free entertainment.

 

Summer festivals that fill the streets and plazas are common in Montreal; this one was to celebrate the conclusion of the Comedy Festival.

 

Montreal and various corporate sponsors provide bikes for a relatively modest rental charge throughout the city (pick up in one place and drop off in another).

 

Ria racing the Montreal Grand Prix circuit (the race will be run in a few weeks).

 

A couple of our larger neighbours at the marina (Blue Moon,198 feet, and Rochade, a paltry158 feet)

 

Our anchorage in the southwest corner of Lac Saint-Louis, about 15 miles from downtown Montreal; the waters were clear and warm.

 

Our berth at the old Solanges Canal (which closed after 50 years when the Seaway opened in 1959)……

 

…..where we tied up to the old canal wall; due to the low water levels right now, the Captain had a few challenges climbing up to secure us to the old bollards.

 

Waiting to enter the first Beauharnois lock, our deepest to date.

 

Our berth at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield…..

 

….where we met up with fellow PDQ owners Doug and Charlotte (from Annapolis) and Serge and Nicole (from Berharnois, who spotted our PDQ and had to come and investigate).

 

Watching the Baby Boomers Band perform oldies in the park bandstand at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

 

A vessel damaged the Beauharnois lock and delayed our return to Lac Saint-Louis by a day; given the summer traffic, there was a full house when the lock reopened.

Next up, Ottawa and the Rideau Canal.

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