Tour de l'Île de Montréal

Proud to have sponsored a resolution calling on Tour de l'Île to become charitable

The annual Tour de l'Île de Montréal has been a thorn in my side for decades. I am not a cyclist and I resent the fact that this event paralyzes the city one Sunday each year, as well as eating up the equivalent of $500,000 in Agglomeration funds while not raising a penny for charity.

Activist Murray Levine first connected with me on this issue over 30 years ago and I wrote about it in my newspaper column at the time. 

Organizers from Velo Québec continue to march to the beat of their own drum and with each City of Montreal administration not taking a stand on the issue they face little incentive to change. Now we have a Montreal Mayor in Valerie Plante who cycles to work.

If the Tour would encourage its riders to raise funds for their favorite charity, I might find this inconvenience a bit more bearable. 

With Murray Levine after the vote at City Council.

It was with this in mind that I moved the following resolution at our December 10 Council meeting, which passed with a majority:

WHEREAS the 30,000+ participants of New York’s TD 5 Boro Cycle are invited to raise
funds for charities and this year (and previous ones) raised $1 million;
WHEREAS the participants of multitudes of mass participation running, cycling, triathlon
and other mass participation self propelled athletic events around the world have optional
charitable fundraising components;
WHEREAS the participants of running events alone in the US raise over $1 billion per
year for charities;
WHEREAS the participants of the Marathon de Montreal are INVITED to raise funds and
may still be paying Montreal so that they may stage their event;
WHEREAS charities staging athletic events that raise funds at Parc Jean Drapeau
actually pay for the privilege;
WHEREAS Le Tour de L’Ile de Montreal receives $500,000 in funding and in kind support
from the Agglomeration;
WHEREAS the Tour de L’Ile de Montreal is a major inconvenience to pedestrians and
WHEREAS emergency vehicles are delayed due to the event;
Whereas there is no noticeable increase in tourism due to the event;
WHEREAS Dorval, Kirkland and Hampstead will not consider allowing Le Tour in unless
the participants are invited to raise funds for charities;
WHEREAS Cote St Luc, DDO and Laval have banned the event altogether;
WHEREAS a significant number of the participants come from Laval, the South Shore
etc. whose cities contribute no funds and suffer no inconvenience;
“THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council call upon the Agglomeration not to support
Velo Quebec with funding and free in kind support, until such time as all of the participants of Velo Quebec events on the Island of Montreal, are INVITED by to raise funds for charities via their participation in the events.”



Côte des Neiges-N.D.G. Mayor Responds to Tour de l'Île Concerns


In response to a letter I sent Montreal borough of Côte des Neiges-N.D.G. Mayor Michael Applebaum to consult with neighbouring municipalities concerning the local routes being planned for future  Tour de l'Île events, I have received some encouraging news. Mayor Applebaum called to discuss the matter with me a few days ago. He is a personal fan of the Tour and appreciates the opportunity for 35,000 cyclists to pass through Côte des Neiges, Snowdon and N.D.G. "Many of these people may never have seen our borough before," he stated.

As I noted in my letter, I am not a fan of the Tour. Never have been and never will be. It always seems to fall on a day when I must get somewhere and avoiding one of the Tour routes is impossible. A case in point is this year when a normal 20 minute drive to Westmount turned out to be a one hour obstacle course. I felt like I was in the Amazing Race.

The mayor told me that next year he would be happy to provide municipalities like Côte Saint-Luc with a copy of the West End route as soon as it is approved by his borough. This way we could at least advise our residents well in advance which streets to avoid. I think this would indeed be a positive step forward.

Frustrated over the Tour de l'Île de Montréal


At the most recent meeting of Côte Saint-Luc City Council, on June 8, 2009, I expressed my deep concern over the traffic problems and difficult access out of certain parts of NDG (Notre-Dame-de Grâce) and Snowdon that the Tour de l'Île de Montréal caused this year.

I have personally been inconvenienced by this event for many years. On this particular Sunday, my family and I were on our way to Westmount. What should have taken 20 minutes turned out to be a 60 minute ordeal. Most streets in NDG and Snowdon were blocked. At one point, I turned down a side street from Côte Saint-Luc Road only to find out that other motorists had the same idea. As I looked into the windows of others, I could see the same collective anger and frustration.

While I would personally like to request that the Borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de Grâce no longer permit the Tour de l'Île de Montréal to pass through its territory nor cost the taxpayers anymore money with the heavy police presence, members of Côte Saint-Luc City Council are respectfully requesting that neighbouring communities - Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montreal West, Westmount and Town of Mount Royal – be consulted on the agreed upon West End route. Perhaps something can be arranged that does not inconvenience so many people. While I certainly cannot speak for members of the aforementioned councils, I do know many people residing in these municipalities. Their Sundays each June are disrupted as well.

I recognize the 25 year history of the Tour de l'Île de Montréal and its significant following among cyclists. Nonetheless, perhaps it is time that this event be removed from the streets and be moved to a location such as Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where it will no longer interfere with the majority of us who just want to make our way around the city without being stuck in traffic.

I have sent a letter to Borough Mayor Michael Applebaum and I await his response.