Roads to close for Tour la Nuit and Tour de l'Ile this weekend in Montreal
Published Friday, June 2, 2023 9:42AM EDT Last Updated Friday, June 2, 2023 4:05PM EDT
Cyclists will be in the spotlight and on the streets in Montreal this weekend.
Thousands of them will be taking part in the Tour la Nuit, on Friday, and the Tour de l'Ile, on Sunday, to officially launch the cycling season. Motorists, meanwhile, will have to plan their journeys in the north of the city.
"The Festival Go Vélo is really a celebration where cycling takes centre stage," says Jean-François Rheault, President and CEO of Vélo Québec, which organizes the festival.
The Tour la Nuit is "really a party," added Rheault.
The event starts at 8 p.m. on Friday. Cyclists will be invited to pedal 24 kilometres through streets closed to traffic for the occasion, dressed in their best luminous accessories.
"There's a feeling of happiness to be able to ride through the city without interacting with cars. There's a real feeling of safety and freedom. There's a very peaceful side to the idea of just being able to discover the city," said Rheault.
The Tour la Nuit route will start in Maisonneuve Park at the corner of Rosemont Boulevard. Cyclists will pass through the boroughs of Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Saint-Michel, Montréal-Nord and Saint-Léonard.
The Festival Go Vélo used to start at Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough.
The organization decided to move the event this year because of the heavy traffic on the approaches to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, caused by work on the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel.
Vélo Québec expects around 20,000 people to take part in the Tour la Nuit, and around 18,000 in the Tour de l'Ile.
The 38th Tour de l'Ile de Montréal will be held on Sunday June 4. The emblematic event offers cyclists a 47-kilometre ride through the streets of the city, which will be inaccessible to motorists. The event will also start in Maisonneuve Park at 9:15 a.m.
Tour de l'Ile participants will pass through seven Montreal boroughs: Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montréal-Nord, Rivières-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Anjou and Saint-Léonard.
For the more athletic, alternative routes of 53, 75 or 99 kilometres will be available. However, these routes will include streets open to motorized traffic. There will be no official start for these "discovery" routes, and cyclists will set off at their own pace from 7 a.m.
"It's a party, yes, but it allows people to experience the city from a different point of view, and sometimes to surpass themselves," said the Vélo Québec president.
Both activities will also end in Maisonneuve Park. DJs, inflatable games and other activities will entertain young and old alike.
"There will be a return of the Ferris wheel, which we left out during the pandemic. It's really going to be a festive site," said Rheault.
Cyclists wishing to take part in these events can still register on the Vélo Québec website or complete their registration on the day. Children aged 12 and under can take part in the event free of charge.
RESTRICTIONS FOR MOTORISTS
Motorists will need to plan their journeys if they intend to travel in the north of the island of Montreal on Friday evening or Sunday.
Vélo Québec invites the public to consult the map of the cyclists' route, or to use the Waze application, where the cyclists' route will be indicated.
During both events, Autoroute 40 and Sherbrooke Street will be open to traffic, as will Saint-Michel Boulevard, Autoroute 25 and Autoroute 15.
"There really are options for getting around, you just have to be a little better prepared," said Rheault.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 2, 2023.