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.
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.
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.
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.
I forget which corner this next one was taken, but I liked the lines and colors.
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.
As well as the odd jogger.
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.
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.
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 !
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).
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.
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.
To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.