Day 126 Montreal, Quebec - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

September 3, 2011

Day 126 Montreal, Quebec


We learned from a Crazyguy forum this morning that a bikeway near Schenectady has been washed out by Hurricane Irene and that some Amtrak trains in the area are suspended. This naturally send us into hurried calls to Amtrak and onto Google to see where exactly the affected areas are. It seems our route is OK, so we still plan to cycle down starting Wednesday. We will put away our images of our earlier long detour around weather conditions and go back to frolicking in this cosmopolitan city.

Today's frolic was supposed to be an 80 km (return) cruise out to the east end of the Island, where brother Harold and sister-in-law Francine live. Threatening (and as it turns out, inaccurate) weather forecasts knocked us off the bikes and into the car.

The car route crosses the Island on Boulevard Pie-IX. As as child, I accepted that there was a street with this weird name, never thinking about what it signified. Of course, Pie-IX refers to Pope Pius IX, who anyone with access to Wikipedia knows was Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, and was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal infallibility. The Pope defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin. So in short, this was one with it guy!

The Pie-IX boulevard, however, is not so swell. It begins by swinging by the Big "O" - the Olympic Stadium - 1976 Olympics, that is.

The tower of the Big "O"
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The citizens of Montreal just got through paying the stadium off. Rumours are, it is now slated for demolition. You can see the tower from which the roof is suspended from all over the east end, and it is really out of step with the elegant spires and domes of the city. The remainder of the boulevard features low rise commercial development and the low income housing of the north end. This bit is not what a tourist would come here to see. On the bikes, we too would have missed it, since the Route Verte hugs the water, but in the car... ughhh.

Pie-IX Boulevard - where did they get that name?
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Montreal North - not too quaint
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Terrebonne, where Harold and Francine are, features a historic section. We missed it this time, preferring to enjoy Francine's multi course mediterranean inspired lunch and going through precious old family photos.

We returned along Pie-IX and noted it did not improve from the reverse direction! Good news, though, to my knowledge there is no Pie-X street to tell about tomorrow. I did notice a Pie-XII in Quebec City, though!

Hanging out in Terrebonne instead of cycling.
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