In & Around /Volume 1 /Issue 30

July 28, 2016

This Week:
L’International des Feux in Old Montréal
Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in Rigaud

IN: Old Montréal’s L’International des Feux

This stalwart of the Montréal summer festival scene is in its 32nd year and this coming Saturday is the grand finale! To cap another wonderful works-of-fire season, the theme for Saturday’s finale is A Tribute to Elton John and will be a “pyromusical display as flamboyant as the legendary music and style of Elton John… [featuring] the music of Elton John, who is indeed the narrator of this tribute and invites us into his musical and personal universe. The soundtrack list includes megahits such as Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Saturday Night’s Alright, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Candle in the Wind, [and] Circle of Life.”. I mean, come on, world class fireworks shot out of cannons to the tune of Rocket Man? I don’t think it could get any better than that. And if you’re going to get outside this weekend, might as well let both your eyeballs and earballs be lambasted at the same time!

L'International des Feux Laronde

The Good: 

  1. I am no fireworksologist, but the fireworks in these shows are the best I have ever seen.
  2. It’s free. Mmmmm, free. 
  3. When’s the last time you listened to Elton John? If it’s been more than a year, then you have got to get back on this bus!

The Bad:

  1. If you don’t get to your spot early enough to park your butt, you might end up with an obstructed view au boutte! (tip: get wherever yer going early).
  2. What I’m proposing here is not the most physical, get fit, breathe in your fresh air type of outside event. 
  3. Traffic. On Fireworks nights, traffic is a nightmare. Hint: don’t drive there. Park at a metro station and metro in, or bike in, or walk down, etc.

The Useful:

  1. L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, Link to Village au Pied-du-Courant which is a great place to park yourself to watch the show, 514-397-2001.
  2. Official Website (and link for this particular show – starts at 10pm rain or shine).
  3. MTL Blog page with other great spots to watch the Fireworks

Pro Tip:

  • Saturday is supposed to be partly cloudy (i.e. less crowds) so go ahead and treat yourself to being a kid again (unless you are in fact a kid, then go ahead and continue being said kid) – buy a day pass for LaRonde and stay for a front-seat experience to the fireworks show. You will not be disappointed. 

AROUND: Rigaud’s Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes

This past weekend, we wanted to go for a hike somewhere west of Montréal. There are actually quite a few options but we opted for Mont Rigaud (aka Mont Oscar, it turns out). During my usual I&A sleuthing, I learned that there are no less than 3 spots to have a hike on Mont Rigaud: 1) The ski resort, 2) Les Sentiers de l’Escapade and 3) Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes. We chose the third one because of a link I stumbled upon online that promoted its trails as being quite family friendly and that assured a nice summit view. If you look at the map on the link above, we basically took the white trail all the way to the summit (where it say “C[r]OIX”) and then doubled back on the white trail again to come down. The trail itself was very well maintained, easy enough (with a little kick in the butt challenge once in awhile), and awash in a splendid variety of forest types. And the summit view? Well, after only a 2km hike, my expectations were low, but I was blown away. It was one of the best summit views on any mountain hike I’ve done within a 2 hour radius of Montréal. That’s a bold statement but it’s quite the unique view up there – beautiful checkered farmscapes, peaceful Ottawa river, sailboats galore on Lake of Two Mountains, Oka Mountain rising in the distance, the village of Rigaud at your feet, and on and on. As well, the trail leads you through a couple of “fields of stones”, left over from when the mountain was a granite producing behemoth sending its stone off the mountain on elevated train rails (remnants of which still remain). An odd, and cool, piece of history.


The Good:

  1. It’s all free. $0.00. Parking, hiking, praying (if yer into that), all of it is free. And I like that.
  2. We tried out this new citronella bug spray,  so I don’t know if it was that or not, but there were virtually no mosquitoes!
  3. If you drive up as far as you can on Rue de Lourdes and then park, you’ll save yourself a walk up boring asphalt and you can jump right into the hike (which begins btw all the way to the right of the parking lot, past the bathrooms, right where the road is chained off – head into the woods, across the little bridge and have at it!)

The Bad:

  1. One of my favourite things to revel in while hiking is the onslaught of olfactory greatness I experience while taking in huge nasal breaths. Here, due I imagine to being surrounded by many farms, the olfactory onslaught consists mainly of manure.
  2. The “fields of stones” are OK to walk on but if yer weak in the ankles or need to use a hiking stick for balance, you’ll find these “fields” to be a pain in the ass (not a long pita, but a pita nonetheless).
  3. There are zero, and I repeat, zero trail maps or indicators on the trails themselves. See Pro Tip below to overcome this one.

The Useful:

  • Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, rue de Lourdes (behind the Arena), 450-451-4631.
  • Official Website … however it is encountering some serious server issues so you may or may not ever get onto the actual website.
  • The one good map I found to help you on your hike.

Pro Tip:

  • Download a GPS hiking app so you can figure out where you are in relation to the mountain and have some semblance of direction while hiking around here. I use AllTrails on my iPhone and it helped immensely. 

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
– Jack Kerouac | b.1922 | American Novelist & Poet

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