3. Present Situation
3.2 Facilities and Services
The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal provides facilities and services for pleasure boaters and shoreside visitors to the canal.
Access and parking
Visitors reach the site by the municipal boardwalk or Sainte-Anne Street, mainly via the entrance next to the superintendent’s house. Pedestrians can get to the central area between the piers by crossing the canal via the lock gates.
The site, which is administered by Parks Canada, has only limited parking facilities, in the form of a small lot with 5 spots in front of the lock. This situation stems from the fact that the parking lot is located on land that now belongs to the municipality.
All of the buildings on Parks Canada’s property date from the 1960s, when the site’s infrastructures were modernized. The old superintendent’s office and house (a “bun-galow”-style building erected in 1963) were deeded over to the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in 1983. However, the land on which they stand still belongs to Parks Canada and is rented to the city. A workshop for performing maintenance work and housing the hydraulic machinery is situated between the two railroads.
The central part of the site between the two piers includes a lockmaster’s house built in 1965, which now contains public washrooms, the lockmasters’ office and a machinery and storage room. Two control stations are used for operating the lock gates and controlling water levels, while a third is used to measure water levels. A concrete-block storage shed has stood on the site since the 1970s, beneath the CN railroad.12
Navigation corridor facilities and pleasure boat services
Various pieces of equipment are employed to operate the lock and ensure site security. Fixed docks upstream and downstream from the lock are used for mooring boats waiting to pass through the lock and for day- and night-time moorage, while a floating dock to the south, inside the lock, facilitates moorage. In addition, a navigational aid structure is located upstream from the lock, and the lock is equipped with a fixed fire extinguishing system and two portable foam fire extinguishers that must be protected and stored at night.
A public launching ramp is situated next to the upstream entrance to the canal. However, it is not only in poor condition, but has no parking facilities for vehicles with trailers, making it difficult for them to manoeuvre.
The pontoons of the Le Pingouin yacht club, located at the upstream entrance to the first lock, complete the mooring facilities available to pleasure boaters. A fee is charged for using these pontoons.
Activity areas and visitor services
Visitors have access to small picnic and relaxation areas on the central and downstream piers and to the west of the superintendent’s house. Elderly people in wheelchairs often sit in the well-shaded spot next to the lock and Sainte-Anne Street. A paved path, which is an extension of the municipal boardwalk, runs along the canal and the lock; other paths lead to the piers. Visitors also have access to washrooms in the former lockmaster’s house.
Visitors can engage in a number of activities at the site, such as picnicking, relaxing, watching boats or taking walks. They can also fish on the upstream and downstream piers. Interpretation panels used to be found on the site, but had to be removed a few years ago as they were no longer in good condition. Plans have been made to replace them with several attractively designed panels.
The pillars of the two railway bridges are located on Parks Canada property, along with a number of other public utility infrastructures, including two power lines. One of the lines is supported by steel pylons and the other by wooden poles, and they are situated between the viaducts of “Autoroute” 20 and the CN railway.
12These buildings, except for the superintendent’s house, which has been deeded back to the City of Montréal, will soon be eligible for a review by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO).