Friday, October 5, 2001 6:42 AM
So I convinced my French teacher that for my cultural project this nine weeks that I should do it on La Ronde, the amusement park in Quebec. I've been to their site and to the information on this site, but I was wondering if anyone had any additional information on this site. Remember, while I am an enthusiast, my French teacher is not, so this must have some substance to it besides just reviews of the roller coasters. :)
Friday, October 5, 2001 8:06 AM
La Ronde is a fairly traditional amusement park with little themeing . It has a beautiful setting on an island in the river by Montreal with a fantastic view of the skyline at night. The coasters are not generally as large or feature filled as what we are used to in the US. My general impression was that 20-30% of the people there were primarily English speaking with the balance being French speaking. Fewer souveniers were related to specific rides than you generally find in US parks, pretty much just shirts that say LaRonde. Some of this may be due to lowering stocks prior to the Six Flags conversion. The cost was low, $30 Canadian or roughly $20 US. A bit more smoking than in US parks but not bad. Food was pretty reasonable in price. There was a major transit stop at the entrance. If you would like more specifics just post your questions on this thread.
Friday, October 5, 2001 11:41 AM
It's not run very good at all. There are only 2 ride ops at each coaster, 1 train running, and dispatch times are terrible. Not to forget that a ride op launched the space shot with a guy's harness as far out as it could go...
It still would've been a great place, just run poorly.
Friday, October 5, 2001 12:56 PM
The park is the old amusement park section the 1967 universal exposition held in Montreal. From the Expo, the remaining rides are the Arrow Log Flume ( La Pitoune ), the Arrow Mini Mine Train ( Les Petites Montagnes russes ), the Monorail and that's it.
As for coasters, the park has Boomerang number 3, a standard Vekoma Corkscrew ( with an extra helix over the Arrow model thrown in for fun ), a relocated Intamin Stand-Up, one of the few Arrow Mini Mine train kiddie coaster ( this coaster is unique, because it a terrain and follows the exact layout of the ground! ), the Dragon indoor rollercoaster ( seems like a joint project between Intamin and a german coaster company. ) and Le Monstre ( a double track wooden rollercoaster, by Bill Cobb ).
Also, you should note that the park was ran by the town of Montreal until 2001, when Six Flags bought the park.
Friday, October 5, 2001 5:22 PM
As I understand it, SF has not actually purchased the park. They now have a contract with the city to operate the park on some sort of lease arrangement. This agreement was not signed until this spring and the park was not at all Six Flags branded when I visited in August 2001.
The Boomerang had new (Rebuilt?) trains and unusually has the line located in the middle of the coaster which is nice with the coaster trains zooming all around you while you wait. People in Montreal are not used to the coasters that we have in the US and will wait 40 minutes for a Boomerang that is a walk on in the US. I thought that it seemed a little smoother than the average which might be due to the new trains.
The corkscrew wasn't much. The stand up was the only Intiman that I have ridden that has head banging at all though it wasn't real bad. The kiddie coaster is nicer than most and is the only kiddie that I have seen with ride photos which seemed like a great idea.
Le Monstre is impressive to look at but seemed just a little slow for the best ride. Racing the two sides is deliberately avoided by the operators. This may be because the two tracks are very close. This would tempt people to reach out and touch hands as is the tradition on racer at Kennywood, only this could be injurious since there are also occasional support posts between the closely spaced tracks.
Le Monstre's trains also has the worst lap bar arrangement of any trains that I have ridden. The lap bars for both rows in a car are linked to move together. The result of this is extreme stapling of fat old men like me because the operators have to push all the bars way down to make sure the that skinny 10 year olds in the other seat of the the car don't get ejected.
The space shot has a really neat setting on a platform in a lake / reflecting pool.
One of the city's big summer events is an international fire works festival on the river. The primary viewing areas are stands set up in the park. This isn't just a one night thing. It goes on for several weeks.
The overall finish of the park was less polished than in a typical US park. By this I am refering to details of design not cleanliness which was about average. Surprisingly, there were no hand out maps. You had to go to a map posted on a billboard to find your way around the park.
The general feeling was a bit more European than in US parks. The look of the clothing styles worn by the customers is more European than you would see at a US park or at PCW by Toronto. The rampant line jumping that I have heard of in European parks was fortunately missing
*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 10/5/2001. ***
Friday, October 5, 2001 5:38 PM
One other general note. Montreal is a cold place in winter and can get really miserable. The residents tend to withdraw indoors and into a system of downtown tunnels. In the summer the Montrealers really enjoy the warm weather and are out in large numbers on week nights downtown, in the historic district of Old Montreal, and on the islands in the river including at LaRonde.
Monday, October 8, 2001 12:53 PM
La Ronde is extremely urbanized. That is, the majority of the guests are locals. It was run by the city of Montreal just to break even, if they ever made a profit it was like a bonus. La Ronde is the largest park in Quebec and one of the largest in Canada.