4. Issues and Strategic Directions
4.2 Strategic Directions
4.2.5 Site visitation and use
Services for pleasure boating
The canal offers pleasure boaters an opportunity for a safe stop, with lock and moorage facilities available to them day and night. Stopovers at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue are related to the availability of activities that are of interest to pleasure boaters. However, day-and night-time boat services are limited to providing dockside mooring and access to washrooms and recreational activities, but do not include related services such as water and electricity and access to showers.
Visitor activities and services
For the most part, the activities on offer on Parks Canada properties are recreational summertime activities. The high level of services offered to clienteles as a whole stems mainly from the fact that the site is located next to downtown Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
Visitors find watching boats go through the locks a highly entertaining activity. Those who do not have their own boat can take a cruise on the neighbouring lakes or the Ottawa River and enjoy going through the locks themselves.
The main market potentials related to pleasure boating are represented by Quebecers, especially those who own boats in the Greater Montréal area; other potential clients include pleasure boaters from other Quebec regions, the United States, particularly New York and New England, and southeastern Ontario.
The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal is a strategic hub that links two major pleasure boating lakes (Lake of Two Mountains and Lake Saint-Louis), Montréal and Kingston, as well as the St. Lawrence waterway, the Ottawa River, the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Great Lakes via the Rideau and Carillon canals.
Highlighting the heritage value of eastern Canada’s historic canal circuit as well as boosting its reputation can potentially attract in equal measure pleasure boaters from Quebec and elsewhere. However, pleasure boaters face various constraints, such as going through the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which are often busy with merchant ships. The reopening of the Lachine Canal to pleasure boating should therefore facilitate travel between the Richelieu and Ottawa river systems. Theme cruises and excursions as well as boat rental constitute other market potentials.
In regard to shoreside visitors, the main sources of market potential are residents of the Greater Montréal area and tourists visiting the region. The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal is readily accessible by road due to its proximity to the main highways. In addition, since it is situated at the western tip of the Island of Montréal, it enjoys the patronage of residents of the regional county municipalities of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Deux-Montagnes/Two Mountains as well as the Châteauguay-Valleyfield region.
Despite the proximity of so many tourists and residents in and around Montréal, reaching this clientele still proves difficult, given the number and variety of attractions in the Greater Montréal area. The tourist circuit linking the West Island’s main attractions could help to bolster the latter’s visibility and appeal among this clientele. Cultural or heritage tourism, based on a sense of discovery, is the way of the future and is likely to draw streams of tourists, foster interest among clienteles, and generate economic benefits.
- Promote the expansion and renewal of clienteles by re-establishing a balance between the recreational and heritage dimensions of the site, maintaining the interest and sense of belonging of the existing clientele, and offering service users a high-quality product, while taking into account the site’s visitor capacity.
- Bolster the role of the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal within the West Island tourist circuit.
- In collaboration with partners, develop new products with a “heritage flavour”, related in particular to the history of the canal and the Ottawa waterway.
- Enhance the role of the lockmasters in terms of welcoming pleasure boaters and informing them about the heritage character of the canal.
- Boost the reputation of the historic canal system of eastern Canada amongst pleasure boaters from Quebec and elsewhere.