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What is the Olympic Basin?

The Olympic Rowing Basin on Ile Notre-Dame faces downtown Montreal and was originally built for the 1976 Olympic Games. The island where it is located, in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, was specifically built for the 1967 World's Fair. It is now referred to as Parc Jean-Drapeau and is also home to Montreal's Casino, a magnificent municipal beach, and the Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack, home of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

Since its construction, the basin has been the site of numerous international rowing events including the 1976 Olympic Summer Games, and the World Rowing Championships in 1975, 1984 and 1992. It has also been the home of the 28th FISA World Rowing Masters Regatta in 2001, the 2003 Canadian Open Masters Rowing Championships, and the site of the Rowing Canada Cup held annually since 1982.

The Olympic Rowing Basin is 2,180 meters long, 110 meters wide and 2,3 meters deep. It is equipped with an Albano system, which divides the basin into seven equal lanes, each 13.5 meters wide. The basin conforms to FISA standards for starting gate equipment and electronic timing equipment. Athletes are well served by storage areas, a change-room, and shower facilities next to the race course.

By Metro

The Olympic Basin is located approximately 5 kilometers from downtown Montreal and is easily accessible via public transportation by using the Metro. Directions from downtown:

  • get on the Green Line (where the McGill or Place des Arts metro stations are) in the direction of Honore Beaugrand
  • get off at the Berri-UQAM metro station.
  • follow the signs to the Yellow Line (direction Longueuil). If you're catching the first metro in the morning you need to RUN to make this connection.
  • take the Yellow Line one stop to the Jean-Drapeau metro station. For more information on the Jean-Drapeau metro station and the schedule please click here.
  • turn left out of the station and then left again, following the path towards ile Notre-Dame
  • once you have crossed the bridge onto ile Notre-Dame, turn left and follow the road along the river for about 200m
  • turn right into the main parking lot and you'll see the rowing basin and hangers in front of you
  • the McGill Crew boat hanger is #6

By Bike

The Olympic Basin is located approximately 5 kilometers from downtown Montreal and is easily accessible by bike. Please wear a helmet and reflective clothing when riding to practice, and obey all the traffic rules - ride defensively and preferably in a group. Directions from the McGill University main gates:

  • take Sherbrooke Street west to rue de la Montagne
  • take rue de la Montagne all the way down to it's end
  • turn right and cross the bridge over the Lachine Canal
  • loop right to get to the bike path which goes under the bridge and turn right onto the path so that you're following the path eastward along the canal (the canal should be on your left as you're biking now)
  • follow the bike path past the turn-off for the Old Port, ride under the elevated highway away from the canal, past the flour factories, and all the way along-side avenue Pierre-Dupuy
  • this will lead you to a long bridge over the St. Lawrence River (the Concorde Bridge ) - go straight past the first exit point (for ile Sainte-Helene ) and follow the exit onto ile NotreDame
  • once onto ile Notre-Dame, follow the road eastward along the river (with the river now on your left) until you come to the main parking lot and you'll see the rowing basin and hangers in front of you
  • the McGill Crew boat hanger is #6

By Car

When driving from downtown or any major highway, just follow the signs for the Casino de Montreal. When you reach Ile Notre-Dame, follow the signs to the Bassin olympique.

If your questions aren't answered here, send us an email.