In & Around /Volume 1 /Issue 33

August 18, 2016

This Week:
Waterfight at Montréal Olympic Park
Le Petit Train du Nord in The Laurentians

IN: Montréal’s Biggest Water Gun Fight. Ever.

When’s the last time you grabbed a loaded water gun and really had at it with a few thousand of your closest friends? Right… never. So go ahead and grab your favourite Super Soaker, head to the Big O for 3:00pm this Saturday, and have at it! This water gun fight is part of the Jackalope Fest which is an action sports fest like no other, and is happening right in your backyard this coming weekend. I have never been to a water gun fight of this magnitude (since this is the first ever event of this type in Montréal), however I have partaken in a few events at the Big O in recent years since they’ve started pouring energy (& money) into the Esplanade Sun Life and surrounding Olympic areas. I’ll say that the people in charge of these events, activities and festivals are trying crazy things, unique things, and are making things happen in this long forgotten concrete waste land. Any activity that can help revitalize these awesome structures is gold in my books. Also… water gun fight in 31 degree heat? YES PLEASE!

Water Gun Fight

The Good: 

  1. Nothing like good ol’ fashioned water gun soaking fun to bring out yer inner child!
  2. You bring your own gun and clothes so you can Rambo the heck out of your weaponry and attire and (sort of) not look ridiculous within this context.
  3. Very easy to get to – it’s at the Big O which has a metro station literally in its belly.

The Bad:

  1. The event was postponed last year because it got too big before it even got started. Look for some serious security/police presence.
  2. My assumption is that there won’t be a ton of younger children, so if you plan on bringing your wee ones, I’d try and at least team up with another brood to ensure young’un fun!
  3. If you do happen to take public transportation… well… it’ll be a long, wet ride home. Ignore the staring.

The Useful:

  1. Montreal Olympic Park, 4141 Pierre-De Coubertin, 514-252-4141.
  2. Official Event Facebook Page.
  3. Direct link to the full Jackalope Fest schedule.

Pro Tip:

  • Make sure you bring at least 2 guns. Make sure said guns have ample water reservoirs too. Don’t bring one of those guns that sucks in water from a pool/tub/surrounding water/etc for every shot… you’ll get walloped but good if yer constantly looking to refill!

AROUND: Le Petit Train du Nord – Ste-Agathe to St-Sauveur

One of my all-time favourites! If you’re looking for a glorious way to spend the day outside on your bike, then this trip will make you happier than a flamingo at a P!NK concert! Le Petit Train du Nord is a cycling trail that was built atop the old path of the actual Petit Train du Nord, which was the nickname given to a railway that ushered in northward population expansion from St-Jérome to Mont-Laurier. I chose these two points for the start and finish because they provide a slight downhill the entire way and avoid climbing the steepest part of the entire Petit Train du Nord trail as you approach Ste-Agathe from the north. Our trip begins in southern Ste-Agathe, just as the trail begins to descend slightly and runs to Piedmont / St-Sauveur. You’ll pass through beautiful little villages, lakes, streams, bridges and outdoor simplicity while you slowly descend 30km to St-So. You’ll still need to pedal of course, just not uphill, since the angle of descent is south of 2% I’m sure. We had two kids in one chariot and our picnic lunch & libations in the other chariot – I recommend this mélange. Now for the logistics – If you’re able to swing it, take two cars, leave car1 in St-Sauveur (on your way up), load your gear into car2, head up to Ste-Agathe, leave car2 at trailhead and, once arrived at St-Sauveur, drive back up to Ste-Agathe to retrieve car2. If you are carless, are going solo, or only have one car in your party, then make use of the Petit Train du Nord shuttle service… for real, it exists. And it’s phenomenal (they’ll even move your luggage from Inn to Inn if yer planning a multi-dayer).

Petit Train du Nord

The Good:

  1. You’ll get to enjoy the magic of Le Petit Train du Nord without murdering your calves or lungs. A great intro to this 200km+ glorious bike path!
  2. Even though this begins in Ste-Agathe-Des-Monts (100km+ from Montréal), you can actually do this without a car (train to St-Jérome + shuttle service mentioned above)! 
  3. 100% expandable if you want to do more. You can begin higher up, descend lower down, or do a round-trip.

The Bad:

  1. If you don’t have a car, or better yet, 2 cars, then planning the logistics will need a hot minute or two.
  2. The actual makeup of the bike path changes from gravel to dirt to pave and back and forth throughout. Not a big deal, but heads up.
  3. I think we’re safe as we edge closer out of summer, but the skeeters will get yah if you stop for too long to admire the scenery!

The Useful:

Pro Tip:

  • Might I recommend stopping for a picnic lunch at this exact spot in Ste-Adèle, just after the Parc de la Rivière Doncaster? You’ll be about halfway to the End Point and, just after crossing over the bridge over Rivière du Nord, you can pull off the path, park your bikes, then enjoy this glorious open area that has been cleared amidst the surrounding forest while letting the Rivière du Nord lap away at your hot toes. It’s a glorious little hidden respite. Do yourself the favour and take a little break here.

“Humans are disappearing from the outdoors at a rate that would make them top any conservationist’s list of endangered species”
– Tim Gill | UK-based Childhood Expert

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