Project 365 – Day 132: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

May 11 2012

With the Canadian F1 Grand Prix just 4 weeks away, I decided to head over to Ile Notre-Dame and take a walk around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – the venue for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The race track was opened in 1978 and initially called the Ile Notre-Dame circuit but in 1982, following the death of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, the circuit was renamed in his honor.

Hopefully cars wont be going only 30 in 4 weeks

Hopefully cars wont be going only 30 in 4 weeks

The track is just under 4.4km in length and is only about 5 minutes walk from the Jean Drapeau metro station. In order to give you an idea of where on the track some of my pictures were taken, here is a layout of the circuit I found on the F1-Fansite.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve layout

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve layout Source: www.f1-fansite.com

Coming from the metro station, once over the bridge you enter the circuit near the entry to L’Epingle. So my first image is looking up from the exit straight back towards L’Epingle. I walked the track in the direction the cars race and have tried to keep the images pretty much in the order of the track layout.

Looking towards L'Epingle

Looking towards L’Epingle

Olympic basin behind the Casino straight

Olympic basin behind the Casino straight

Construction of grandstands

Construction of grandstands

The Casino straight

The Casino straight

Probably the most well known part of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit is the Wall of Champions. In 1999, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve all crashed into the wall. To-date 11 World Champions have fallen victim to its lure.

The Wall of Champions

The Wall of Champions

The Wall of Champions

The Wall of Champions

The Wall of Champions

The Wall of Champions

View down the garages of the pit lane

View down the garages of the pit lane

View down the barrier between pit lane and start grid

View down the barrier between pit lane and start grid

Starting Grid

Starting Grid

Control Tower

Control Tower

Looking toward the start grid from the first turn

Looking toward the start grid from the first turn

Wall of exit from the Virage Senna turn

Wall of exit from the Virage Senna turn

Exiting turn 3

Exiting turn 3

Turn 6

Turn 6

I forget which corner this next one was taken, but I liked the lines and colors.

Up close

Up close

Except for race weekends, the circuit is open to the public year round and is a popular with cyclists and inline skaters – unlike most of the public roads in Montreal, the race circuit is devoid of pot holes. Given the nice weather, there were quite a few cyclists out on the track today. And of course you get a great view of Montreal.

Cyclists at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Cyclists at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Cyclists at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Cyclists at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

As well as the odd jogger.

Joggers with view of Montreal skyline

Joggers with view of Montreal skyline

Another big draw to Ile Notre Dame is the Montreal Casino. I didn’t go visit (honestly) but did grab a couple of shots from next to the Wall of Champions.

Montreal Casino

Montreal Casino

Montreal Casino

Montreal Casino

I couldn’t resist experimenting to see how the Casino would work using the floating building technique…I think it has potential and will be revisiting to take some more workable angles.

Floating Montreal Casino

Floating Montreal Casino

A third attraction – for such a small island, there is so much going on – is the beach. Although closed until June 16, I managed to grab a few shots before being asked to leave by a park attendant – something to do with safety, though I had no intention on going swimming ;-) I will visit again when the beach is open for some summer fun shots !

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach

Parc Jean-Drapeau Beach

Before leaving the race circuit, I just wanted to share a couple of pictures of a totem pole that stands next to the Canadian Pavillion (between turns 7 and 8).

Totem pole beside the Canadian Pavillion

Totem pole beside the Canadian Pavillion

Totem pole beside the Canadian Pavillion

Totem pole beside the Canadian Pavillion

You may have heard that the metro system was shut down on Thursday morning rush hour by smoke bombs being detonated in 3 metro stations. This was the first time the entire metro had been disrupted since the Ice Storm in 1998.

Although it’s unclear if a specific group was responsible, pictures of persons wanted in connection have been circulated. In the meantime, it appears the STM (Société de transport de Montréal) Inspectors are doing some extra training in riot control. I spotted this group outside the main entrance of the Jean-Drapeau metro station.

STM Inspectors riot training

STM Inspectors riot training

STM Inspectors riot training

STM Inspectors riot training

One final word on the Canadian Grand Prix. This is the event that, for me anyway, is the first sign of summer festivities in Montreal. The week prior to the Grand Prix ( June 8-10), the city turns F1 crazy. I will be looking to try and capture as much of the fun and festivities as possible in the week long build-up.

Canadian F1 Grand Prix June 8-10

Canadian F1 Grand Prix June 8-10

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

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Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

- Martin

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6 Comments

  1. Mark Mendonck May 12, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    I love it! Just perfect.

  2. marekzyskowski May 12, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Great pics of the circuit.

    • Montreal in Pictures May 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Thanks Marek…Hopefully I will make it to the practice session to get some action pics.

  3. Sunelly_Sims May 12, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Great pictures !!