MONTREAL -- Quebec is pedaling full speed ahead in developing a
Green Route bicycle path. By 2005, the path is expected to cover
more than 2,100 miles throughout the French-Canadian province.
the project will have cost nearly $60 million and will link
Quebec's paths with existing and proposed paths in border provinces
and throughout New England.
Quebec's portion of the trail will wind through 350
municipalities, 50 counties and 15 regions -- home to 4 million
Quebec citizens -- making it one of the longest cycling routes of
its kind in the world, according to organizers.
Started in 1995 by Quebec's government, the Green Route
currently stretches about 1,500 miles in all directions of the
province and features major trails in regions such as the
Laurentians, the Eastern Townships, Monteregie, Bois-Francs and the
Lower St. Lawrence.
Besides showing off the rural roads and villages of Quebec, the
trail also will connect with other Canadian provinces and U.S.
The path currently connects Cabano, Quebec, with Edmundston, New
Brunswick, with plans under way to link Sutton, Quebec, to St.
Albans, Vt., and trails hooking up with bike routes in New
Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Ontario.
Project organizers say New York and Vermont are leading the way
in the effort to link Quebec's trails with established routes south
of the border.
The project is managed by Montreal-based Velo Quebec and
financed by the provincial government of Quebec, various
municipalities, a surcharge assessed on all new adult bicycle sales
in Quebec and voluntary contributions from bicyclists and motorists
through the sale of personalized automobile plates.
The Green Route uses smaller bike paths, recycled railway
corridors, paved shoulders and designated shared roadways to create
a safe and uninterrupted cycling network, according to Velo
To promote its cyclo-tourism efforts, Tourisme Quebec (the
province's tourism-promotion board) recently published a list of
specific trails, along with local contact numbers, in their
respective regions:The Laurentians region has two trails: The Parc Lineaire le
P'tit Train du Nord is an old railroad track that stretches 125
miles from Mont-Laurier to St.-Jerome and features many lakes and
mountains. Contact the Association Touristique des Laurentides at
(450) 436-8532 or (450) 990-5625). La Vagabonde is a well-known
trail that is accessed via a train ride to the Parc d'Oka. Contact
the Bureau d'Information Touristique at (450) 491-4444.The Outaouais region includes the Outaouais' Bicycle Paths,
which run in all directions through Aylmer, Gatineau and Hull,
Quebec, with stops at various museums and the lakes of Gatineau
Park. Contact La Maison du Velo-Hull at (819) 997-4356 or Tourisme
Outaouais at (819) 778-2222.The Monteregie region boasts two routes. One is a 22-mile trail
taking cyclists from the heart of Suroit, Quebec, to St.-Francois
Lake and Coteau-du-Lac. Contact Piste Cyclable Soulange at (450)
763-2398. The Five Tracks as a Trail Network links the paths --
Canal de Chambly, Monteregiades I and II, Estriade and Campagnarde
-- from Chambly to Waterloo for a total of 86 miles and will
eventually link Quebec City and Montreal. Contact ATR de la
Monteregie at (450) 674-5555 or ATR des Cantons-de-l'Est at (800)
355-5755.The Saguenay-Lac-St.-Jean region includes the Veloroute des
Bleuets trail, a 159-mile track that has been under construction
for the past two years -- scheduled for a 1999 completion -- and
showcases the spectacular landscapes and villages surrounding Lake
St.-Jean. Contact Veloroute des Bleuets at (418) 668-4541.The Quebec City area contains La Piste
Jacques-Cartier/Portneauf trail, which follows an old railroad on
its journey from Shannon to Riviere-a-Pierre. Contact La Societe de
la Piste Jacques-Cartier/Portneuf at (418) 337-7525.Canton-de-l'Est is where the Grandes-Fourches trail follows a
33-mile circuit featuring the bridges, lakes and streams of the
Sherbrooke region. Contact the Greater Sherbrooke Tourism and
Convention Bureau at (819) 822-6195 or (800) 561-8331.Bas Saint-Laurent features the 68-mile Petit Temis course,
which runs partly from Quebec City to New Brunswick along lakes and
rivers, including a 25-mile stretch along Lake Temiscoulata.
Contact ATR Bas-St.-Laurent at (418) 867-1272.Bois-Francs has the 43-mile Parc Lineaire des Bois -Francs
trail that winds through fields and forests. Contact Parc Lineaire
des Bois-Francs at (819) 758-6414.
For the Green Route, contact Tourisme Quebec at (514) 873-2015
or (800) 363-7777. Tourisme Quebec maintains a Web site at
www.tourisme.gouv.qc.ca. Velo Quebec maintains a Web site at
www.velo.qc.ca, and can be contacted via e-mail at
[email protected] Velo Quebec also can be reached by calling
(800) 567-8356 or (514) 521-8356.