Chemin de l’Anse-à-l’Orme in Pierrefonds
Centre d’Interprétation de la Nature du Lac Boivin in Granby
IN: Pierrefonds’ Chemin de l’Anse-à-l’Orme
As far as activity-laden outings go, this one is pretty one-dimensional, but I had to share. I used to bike this corridor often when I was younger, and I was delighted to rediscover it on a recent Sunday afternoon. The Chemin de l’Anse-à-l’Orme is part of the Parc-nature de l’Anse-à-l’Orme which is a 200 hectare waterfront park belonging to the City of Montréal. The waterfront section (which makes up the bulk of this park) is a windsurfer’s paradise and will definitely make an appearance when summer rolls in again next year. So for this issue, I’ll invite you to simply find your way to this isolated “country road” that runs between the neighbourhood of Timberlea, Kirkland and the junction of Senneville & Pierrefonds. I urge you to get there on your bike, or bring your bike, as it will be the best way to experience this amazingly smooth, tranquil and beautiful stretch of road. Each side of the Chemin de l’Anse-à-l’Orme has its own dedicated cycling path (replacing the original patchy gravel) and there are a few spots for you to take a break, mosey into the nearby woods and/or take in the sights & sounds of the wonderful wildlife that the Elm River, and surrounding wetlands, are teeming with. If you start out at the beginning (map linked below) and ride to the end of the Chemin, them loop back again, you’re looking at a leisurely 8km so take your time, enjoy the solitude and revel in being outside.
- Brand new (ish) cycling paths on either side of the road.
- Easy-peasy activity, good for all ages.
- Free. Nothing like getting outside, enjoying nature and surrounding yourself with beauty… for free!
- Getting here with your bike either requires a car, or for you to live close by (unless you are quite courageous and don’t mind biking a hundred KM or so to and fro).
- The weather seems like it will cooperate this weekend (Sunday anyway), but this activity shines when Mother Nature is smiling on us. Otherwise, oof.
- There is constant pressure from money-hungry politicians and developers to destroy this sweet little eco-territory with cookie cutter houses and condos.
- Chemin de l’Anse-à-l’Orme, a good starting (& parking) spot, 514-280-6871.
- Official Website (for the Parc-nature).
- Website of the good folks over at Sauvons l’Anse-à’l’Orme.
- Do yourself a favour and fuel up at Deli La Trattoria before or after your ride. Grab one of their hot sandwiches (they’re all good!) and of course, one of their famous cannolis.
AROUND: Granby’s Centre de l’Interprétation de la Nature du Lac Boivin
This past weekend, I discovered a little gem out in Granby that astonished me, not only for its outdoor beauty, but also for the customer service we received while visiting. The Centre de l’Interprétation de la Nature du Lac Boivin (that’s a mouthful!) is a 1,000+ acre IBA (Important Bird Area), home to over 260 bird species, and comprised of marshes, swamps & forests. Black-capped chickadees, ducks, herons, turtles, deer and many a squirrel & chipmunk will dart in and out of your view, and hands, throughout your sojourn here. The trail system is comprised of very well-made boardwalks that take you into, and on top of, areas you would otherwise not be able to access without a pair of hearty waders. My 5 year old was enthralled with walking along the “longest bridge ever!”. Don’t miss the two 10m towers for great views, don’t be shy to walk the entire trail network (under 10km) and if you’re adventurous, go ahead and join up with one of the two multi-function trails (L’Estriade & La Granbyenne) for an even longer outing. As this past weekend was somewhat messy, weather-wise, we were solo for our entire walk, which was downright glorious. We had a mix of snow & rain throughout but it was nothing a good umbrella couldn’t handle. And finally, the service – all I can say is wow. The staff here is over-the-top nice, helpful and willing to go the extra mile to make your visit one to remember. I don’t think I have ever experienced service this amazing within this type of setting… wow.
- Since the centre is free for kids 5 years old & younger, and adults cost $5, this outing cost me $5. And that, I like!
- The 4 trails they have are a mix of regular, well-maintained, forest trails and boardwalks – all easy, even-level and accessible for just about anyone & everyone.
- There are numerous activities & art exhibits running continuously throughout the year (I urge you to check their website to see what might tickle your fancy).
- If you’re looking for a leg burn, this is not the spot for you.
- Although the Centre d’Accueil is new and flashy, it does not have many options for food (.:. pack a lunch).
- This sounds silly but the gift shop is really quite wonderful… and you may get sucked into spending more than the $5 mentioned above… or maybe this is a Good thing with Christmas quickly approaching!
- Centre de l’Interprétation de la Nature du Lac Boivin, 700 rue Drummond, Granby, 1-450-375-3861.
- Official Website (and direct link to the description & map of the trails).
- This Friday, they are having their annual Halloween Walk which takes place after sundown, is full of mildly spooky Halloween-isms, and is aimed at younger kids (don’t forget your flashlight!
- Bring some bird seed with you – they will literally eat it out of your hands at numerous spots along the trails.
“It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”
– Jimmy Carter | b. 1924 | American President (retired)