Ronde in Montréal, QC is the second largest theme park in Western Canada.
It grew out of the fairground section of Expo
67, Canada's venture into the World's Fair scene. As such,
this year is the park's fortieth anniversary. What better way to
help celebrate than for me to grace them with my presence?
More: La Ronde
Our day began early with a two hour drive from Ottawa, ON.
The route is relatively straight forward until you arrive in Montréal.
While La Ronde is clearly signposted from the Freeway, the way they
point doesn't bear much relation to the directions on La
Ronde's website. Luckily I'd brought a map so, with a bit of
navigating and a lot of guesswork, we managed to cross over the bridge
onto the island and into the park's CA$15 car park. Paying for
parking...? They must have been talking to Alton Towers ;-)
The City of Montréal sold La Ronde to Six Flags in
2001 but the branding is very low key, with the park preferring to fly
its own flag at the entrance. A subtle "Membre de la
Famille Six Flags" under the logo is about as corporate as they
Entrance to the park is cheap by UK standards at CA$42.16 after
taxes (about £21). That didn't stop the girl at admissions
trying to convince us to buy a season pass ... three times.
"But you can bring six friends for free". That's cool,
but it's a bit expensive for me to get them here in the first place.
In true theme park geek style we went straight to
the back of the park, which turned out to be the location of La
Ronde's newest coaster: Goliath
Goliath's rather uninspiring position over a car
park is more than made up for by the view across the river to
Montréal island (sorry about the quality of this photo - it was taken
through the dirtiest window in the world)
Goliath's lift hill stands at 175ft - easily the
highest coaster at La Ronde
The ride is high and fast, but smooth to the point
of being a little dull
Next up was the traditional ride on the Grande Roue
It gave some good views across the park and helped
us spot our next coaster
is a giant twin tracked wooden coaster
Twin tracked wooden coasters sound a great concept - a twin track
must surely double capacity (or thereabouts). I'm sure it would
if both tracks were being used. Unfortunately only the left hand
track was running while we were at La Ronde, leading to a longer than
normal wait. This wasn't helped by the five minutes between
dispatches of the ~1 minute ride and the kids behind us who didn't
understand the concept of personal space. Let's just say it was
a long hour.
Finally we made it to the station and on to the
It turned out to be worth the wait - plenty of hills
and airtime in the first half, although the second seemed to lack
something. It was as if the train had lost its way and was just
trying to loose some energy before finding the station.
After the mammoth wait for Monstre, we looked for
something with a slightly shorter queue - Autos Tamponneuses turned
out to be one of the most fun rides I've been on - hovercraft dodgems
Everybody knows how much I love afterburners -
Manitou was a disappointment. I'm not sure whether it's a KMG or
somebody else's, but it managed to maintain me at 1G throughout the
Super Manège was a super ride. Sorry.
But it was actually pretty smooth for a Vekoma Corkscrew.
Lunchtime! McDonalds was closest, so Poutine
was out in favour of bog standard cheeseburgers and french fries
(look, I didn't say chips - I'm becoming Canadian!) Anyway,
McDonalds tastes different in North America so it's a cultural
After lunch we went on Spirale, the park's
observation tower which can be seen in photos from Expo 67 (although I
don't believe it was sponsored by Pizza Pizza at the time!)
Mmmmmm ... pizza ...
One essential element of an observation tower is the
ability for the passengers to observe. Spirale has the dirtiest
windows in the world* which didn't really help. This is Paint
Shop Pro's best effort at cleaning up the mess.
Nordique is a standard wild mouse, but is the first Zamperla one
I've ridden. Another 45 minute wait to ride.
Each car is themed as the toboggan of a country
associated with the sport - Canada, USA, Switzerland and Jamaica(!?)
Across to the other side of the park and into the
(less slow moving than for other rides) queue for Vampire.
Unusually for the minimalistic theming present in the park, Vampire's
queue came complete with bubbles falling from the sky. Snow in
Last ride of the day - the slightly weird and very odd smelling indoor Dragon coaster.