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Public access to waterways: the Grand Splash is back

Grand Splash 2023


Montreal, June 14, 2023 – For a third consecutive year, the Grand Splash will be in full swing at the Old Port of Montreal on Friday, June 30. Organized by the Fondation Rivières, this mobilization aims to demand the creation of a space intended for public swimming. Citizens will launch from Quai Jacques-Cartier as a demonstration.

Huge swimming potential at Quai Jacques-Cartier

In dry weather, the water in the Old Port is of excellent quality: in such a context, it has only experienced one contamination event in the last 10 years (since 2022), according to data from the Réseau de monitoring of aquatic environments (RSMA) of the City of Montreal. After an episode of heavy rain, it would be enough to close access to the swimming area for a period of 24 to 72 hours, as at Verdun beach – the duration of closure varying depending on the extent of the overflow of the water networks. sewer.

Remember that a port bath project at the end of the Quai de l'Horloge was abandoned in the summer of 2020. Installed in the St. Lawrence River, outside the protected zone of the Old Port, this bath project port was exposed to a strong current, unlike the Jacques-Cartier basin.

“We continue to insist on having a swimming area in the Old Port of Montreal. After the Louise basin in Quebec, and soon Paris which wants to open swimming in the Seine within two years, when will Montreal's turn? » asks André Bélanger, general director of Fondation Rivières.

Little public access to water in Montreal

There are only three public access points for free swimming on the territory of Montreal despite its island character: at Verdun beach, at the Cap-Saint-Jacques nature park and at the Bois-de-L nature park. 'Île-Bizard. The City is only planning three projects to open swimming areas in the river: at the future Lachine riverside park, at the Promenade Bellerive park and at the Plage de l'Est (compromised by the potential presence of the copper redhorse, a endangered species).

The Great Splash on several rivers

Several Grand Splash events, mainly in Montérégie, will take place between June 30 and July 8 in order to challenge elected officials and decision-makers about the importance of providing public access to swimming and non-public water activities. motorized (canoe, kayak, paddle board, etc.) on waterways, and to ensure water quality. Two of these events (Chambly and Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel) take place where the Fondation Rivières carried out a water quality monitoring study and noted very good swimming potential in summer and in dry weather.

Chambly (Gervais-Désourdy Nautical Center): July 2 
Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel (Pointe-aux-Pins Park): July 2 
Sainte-Martine (Paul-Léveillé Park): July 8

The events are free and open to all. In the event of rain, which could affect water quality, a Grand Splash could be postponed to a later date.

Drawing tickets will be sold during each event to win a paddle board (SUP). The profits will be distributed equally between the Fondation Rivières and the local non-profit organizing committee. Drawing details and rules.

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Sophie Lachance

Sophie Lachance

Communications and Mobilization Manager
Fondation Rivières
514-272-2666, ext. 307

Photo: Chantal Lévesque and iStock

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