2024 – Tour around the island of Montreal


More than 18,000 cyclists will parade through the streets of Montreal on Sunday to mark the 39th anniversary of the Montreal Cycle Festival.t Edition of the traditional Tour de l'île.

The start took place at around 9:30 a.m. on Avenue du Parc, corner of Avenue du Mont-Royal.

As soon as the signal was given, participants of all ages mounted their horses and set off into the deserted streets.

The 50-kilometer-long route passes through Plateau-Mont-Royal, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Outremont, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Westmount, Le Sud-Ouest, Lachine, Verdun and Ville-Married.

At the front of the peloton, Josée Lafrenière and her daughter are waiting for the starting signal. This is by no means the first time the duo has taken part in the major cycling trade fair.

“I've been here for at least 25 years,” she says proudly. What has changed the most in all these years? “There are a lot more people here,” she replies.

She noticed this particularly during the Tour la nuit, which attracted no fewer than 17,000 cyclists this year. “It took us an hour and a half to get going!” exclaims MMe Lafreniere.

Larian Hernandez and Andrea Estacio are also waiting near the starting line with their helmets decorated with artificial flowers.

The two friends are originally from Venezuela and came to Montreal eight years ago. “We didn't ride bikes before we came here,” says M.Me Hernandez.

For her, the event is an opportunity to enjoy the metropolis in complete safety. “It's an opportunity to take possession of the city,” she emphasizes.


Map of the closed roads of the Tour de l'île

“It is important to have an event that is accessible to all ages, but also to all levels,” says Vélo Québec Director General Jean-François Rheault.

This year, participants can choose between four routes of 28 km, 50 km, 68 km and 100 km. There are also a lot of children taking part – around 20% of participants are under 12 years old.

“For some people, it’s their first time driving in the city or their first time driving such a long distance,” says Mr Rheault.


The General Director of Vélo Québec, Jean-François Rheault

Today, the event enjoys a reputation that extends beyond its borders. “I've spoken to people from Rhode Island, Pittsburgh, Boston… It's a unique event in North America,” he says happily.

Julie Ringuette, who is the voice of the cast for the second year in a row, says she took on the role with enthusiasm. “I said: If you call me again next year, I'm going to sulk!” laughs the actress.

She says she liked everything about her first experience. “It's family-friendly, safe. People go out on their balconies, play music, cheer us on. There's so much atmosphere!” she says.


Julie Ringuette, speaker

The message she wants to convey? “I want people to know that it is accessible to all ages,” she replies.

Further back, Paul Deer takes a break in front of another participant's camera. Here his big-wheel bike is an attraction. “The photo is free!” he says.

It is more about the physical activity than about the opportunity to share the history of cycling with the wide audience that comes here every year.

“I walk around and answer questions,” says the man dressed in a historical costume.

He's not the only one who has dressed up for the occasion. Some have even made it a tradition.

Sitting on his mount, Benoit Durant hardly goes unnoticed in his red Santa Claus costume. “Every year I wear a different costume. It puts a smile on people's faces,” he explains.

In everyday life, people travel most of their journeys by bike. Does he feel safe on the streets of Montreal?

“There are definitely more complicated areas. North-South is easy. East-West is more complicated. I think there are still things that need to be improved, but the efforts are there,” he replies.

Despite the obstacles, several main arteries remain open to traffic, such as Sherbrooke Street, the Ville-Marie Tunnel and the area north of Jean-Talon.

The city of Montreal recommends that drivers avoid the Victoria Bridge.