One of Montréal’s great failures is the construction of the Lachine Canal. It was built in the early 1800s in order to bypass the rapids on the St Lawrence and enable shipping to other big production centres to the west. The railways and some new American waterway made the canal irrelevant as it was slower and more crowded than the alternative routes.
But, one of the great beauties of Montreal is the now repurposed Lachine Canal, now a National Historic Site. It stretches from the Old Port east for 15 km to Lachine and Lasalle. Along the canal is a very well kept and well used cycling path. Much of it passes through industrial parts of the city, but it passes by Atwater Market and some lovely parks and bridges too.
April joins our family as we rent bikes from Ça Roule Montréal for the afternoon and rode 15.7 kms and back again (31.4 km total). The kids take a km to adjust to the bigger bikes. Acadia isn’t strong enough to change gears so I set it to the middle gear and she struggles up hills, but is content otherwise. I enjoy watching her tiny frame manage such a large machine.
Also of note – it’s Amber’s first time riding a bike since 2003 when she biked across Canada.
We stop for a cool cream ale at the McAuslan brewery which has a patio set up with tons of bike racks in front. There are a few people there when we stop at 4:30, but it is packed on our return voyage at around 7 pm.
Fish-n-chips at Momma’s in the very picturesque Lachine neighbourhood at the end of our trail energizes us. We give the kids some Stewarts pop as an added guarantee they can make it back.
The uncertainty of how fast the kids can go on the return trip and the short time we have left before the bikes have to be returned prompts us to return the same route back. We were hoping to come back along the shore of the St Lawrence, but we’ll leave that for next time.
We are sweaty and thirsty when we walk our bikes on the sidewalk in front of bistros to Ça Roule. The kids are stoked that they have completed the longest ride of their lives so far.