Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Jacques Bizard bridge

Ile Bizard is one of Montreal's little jewels.

It's an island tucked away in Montreal's north-east wedged in between the Island of Montreal to the south, and Ile Jesus (the city of Laval) to the north.  Ile Bizard is home to Montreal's most prestigious and exclusive golf club, the Royal Montreal Golf Club.  I'm the furthest thing from a golfer, so the club gets short shrift here.

All along the shore on Ile Bizard, McMansions have been springing up.  Every time I go for a ride there, a few more McMansions have sprouted.  It's the water views that hold a special attraction for people with serious money.  Doug Adams had views on the importance of boundary conditions (for instance at the water's edge) in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  I'm not sure that the shores of Ile Bizard would have qualified for him, or, for that matter, that living in a McMansion on the shores of Ile Bizard would be the sort of place where you might transcend the human condition.

From the Montreal side you get to Ile Bizard over the Jacques Bizard bridge. From Laval you get there on a wonderful little cable ferry. I've written about the ferry before (click here) and I crossed on the ferry to Laval on the way to Ottawa (click here for that post).

This post is mostly about the bridge and fits as part of the Montreal bridge posts. Click here to go to the bridge posts page.
I wandered down the aptly named rue du Pont on the Montreal side to snap this picture of the bridge.  The bridge is a three-lane bridge and there are overhead traffic lights that determine the direction of the center lane.  In the morning there are two lanes southbound, in the evening, two lanes northbound.  There is nothing else remarkable about the bridge.  It's not particularly long; nor particularly tall; it's not a draw or lift-bridge; it isn't decorated or otherwise arty, and there is no particular magic to its engineering since it's neither cantilevered nor supended.  It's just a serviceable and useful bridge.  Not all bridges are as ambitious as the Golden Gate or the Pont Alexandre III.

If you were in a boat and headed westward up river from Ile Bizard you would enter the Lake of Two Mountains.  Along with Lake St-Louis on the south shore of the West Island, these lakes are Montreal's boaters' paradise.  All along the shore there are yatch clubs and marinas, home to hundreds of pleasure craft.
As a result of the greater concern for environmental issues, the Rivière des prairies is much cleaner than I remember it growing up.
Where the Rivière des prairies skirts the north shore of Ile Bizard the current is very strong.  It's the strong current that makes the passage on the cable ferry remarkably swift.  Just up stream and west of the ferry, the river is navigable  but the navigation channel has rapids that must make the passage fun, but a little choppy.  Unless you have a boat with a very strong motor, you won't make it back up stream.
To wrap up this post on the Jacques Bizard bridge, here is a video taken crossing the bridge back to the Montreal side.  Not very exciting, but it wraps up this post well enough.


Dar said...

David your pictures are beautiful, were you using your camera or iphone? What type of camera are you usung for the video portion of the bridge crossing?

David Masse said...

Dar, I'm glad you like the photos. I used an Olympus SLR for the photos, and my Iphone 4G on a RAM mount for the video. I haven't got a good video solution yet. There is too much vibration and the audio track is just wind noise. I solve the audio issue by editing out the audio track in Imovie on our Mac. To improve the video I think I'd need a proper video camera with a helmet cam attachment of some type. Suggestions are welcome.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.