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Walk the Region 2014: Green Spaces in Montreal, Quebec

Walk the Region, Montreal, is back for the fourth time from June 28th to 30th, 2014. During this three-day expedition, we plan on walking nearly seventy kilometers, departing from the Sainte-Julie agricultural grounds on the South-Shore and arriving in the old town of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, which has been transformed into a college town, at the point west of the island. For us, the organizers, this intimate annual crossing of the Montreal metropolitan area is a way of discovering, living and re-imagining the territory that belongs to us.

Following the Invisible Places of 2012 and the Becoming Spaces of 2013, our guiding theme for the itinerary this year is nature in the city. We will cross through one of the oldest wooded areas in Montreal, a national park in the midst of St-Laurent, industrial sites that have become wasteland or parks, and a natural habitat whose fate remains highly contested. This ecological heritage also includes individuals and citizen groups who, over the past four decades, have mobilized themselves to ensure that nature continues to have a place among us, as well as for all of those who continue to care for and live in green spaces. This will also be an opportunity to question nature in the city outside of the great green spaces – this less photogenic natural environment, more fragmented but still important.

All of those who are passionate about Montreal and its surroundings, about the appropriation of public spaces, about the environment and local history, about urban camping, photography and certainly walking, are welcome – for one hour, one afternoon, one day or the whole three days.

Promenade de Belle Rive, Montreal, Canada

Day 1: Saturday, June 28th, twenty-two kilometres

  • Depart from South-Shore, in front of the mysterious Hydro-Quebec Research Institute building, on Highway 30.
  • Cross the Monteregian agricultural grounds and the town of Boucherville.
  • Get to know the river, while on the ferry to the Iles-de-Boucherville national park.
  • Take the ferry again on the other side of the islands toward Promenade Bellerive.
  • Discover the pleasures of Ontario Street, and spend the night in the Hochelaga neighborhood.

Day 2: Sunday, June 29th, twenty-nine kilometres

  • Climb Rosemont, then walk along the railway path on the all-purpose track.
  • Take a short detour to visit the heart of the Outremont yards, the site of a future UdeM development.
  • Have dinner in the Parc-Extension neighborhood (for the best Indian food in Montreal!)
  • Cut across Ville Mont-Royal.
  • Discover the heart of the Saint-Laurent neighborhood and the cuisine of Rue Decarie.
  • Pass through the Bois-Franc neighborhood, the site of an old airport, which represents an example of New Urbanism.
  • Spend the night in the Saraguay neighborhood.

Day 3: Monday, June 30th, twenty-six kilometres

  • Discover the Betrand brook and the nature park Bois-de-Liesse.
  • Cross the interchange and the Trans-Canadian Highway, and walk alongside the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport and the Dorval Golf Club.
  • Discover the West Island neighborhoods, sandwiched between Route 20 and 40.
  • Venture into Terracotta Park, the site of an old tile factory, and now a rite of passage for all for the teens of West Island.
  • Visit the highly contested Angell Woods woodland.
  • Cross 20 at Beaurepaire village and walk alongside the Baie d'Urf lake.
  • Walk across the Macdonald campus of McGill University.
  • Have dinner on the water in the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue village.
  • Return to Montreal on the iconic Bus 211.

Do you know of an essential site for lovers of urbanism along this route? Let us know in the comments section below, and we will try to add it to our itinerary.

We are also looking to recruit walkers who know the region we will be crossing well, and who would love to act as guides or simply discuss it with us, whether at a particular site, over a steak, in a neighborhood, or even for an entire day.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.