I was born in British Columbia, Canada. I learned how to run, eventually trained and ran my first marathon in Victoria, B.C. and (many!) years later, I raced the Tough Mudder in Whistler, B.C. There is no running routes in the world as memory filled or sensory evoking than the muddy trails of my home town. That smell of evergreens and dirt brings me instantly back to so many rainy, cold days bounding along a park trail like a fox.
Elk/Beaver Lake, Victoria, BC, Canada
This 10km (6.1 mile) loop around the popular lakes just North of Victoria are the home of many training runs and races for me. The lake train is shaded and you can find puddles even in the summer, but the loop winds through the public beach areas and past the fishing piers, so it’s not an isolated route. There is only one tiny stretch on the open side near the parking lot for Elk Lake where you will be able to see and hear the highway. This only lasts (depending on how fast you are) for a brief stretch before you back in the woods.
Île Sainte-Hélène is a flat run around the island and can be extended into a great long run. You can take the Metro to the island (Jean-Drapeau station), then run the length of the flat island in the loop and continue back over the bike/pedestrian bridge to Old Town Montreal, or stay on the island for your workout and then take the Metro back. This is a good place to get in long run miles without too much traffic and with the scenery of the St. Lawrence Seaway to keep you company.
Mont Royal Park, designed by, Frederick Law Olmsted, (the same landscape architect who designed Central Park in New York), is the main park and a popular tourist attraction. There are clearly marked paths that ring around the mountain to the summit and it’s a steady climb 6-7kms (3.5-4 miles) to the spectacular lookout that showcases the urban landscape of Montreal. There is a shortcut to the lookout – just watch for large groups of tourist hiking up a set of stairs – that’s the short cut!
Run the Mont Royal Cross
Past the lookout, you can follow the path to the Mont Royal Cross – a steel cross monument standing 31.4 m (103ft) high. After dark, the cross is illuminated and can be seen from most parts of the city that have a view of the park. A note of caution about the short cut paths in the park – these paths wind around and can get confusing. There are maps that show the legitimate paths in the park and it will be easy to discern which paths are planned and which ones are worn in by the many who have created the shortcut. If you get lost trying to leave the park, just keep running down! Eventually you will hit the street and can ask for directions if you pop out somewhere other than where you started. Don’t let this freak you out though – the park is well marked and there are usually lots of people around to ask for directions. This run is a satisfying hill workout.
Please comment with your favourite running routes.
This page, along with running routes for Europe and the United States, update frequently and if you follow me on twitter, @selfierunner, I share my latest routes there. But most importantly, please add your favourites in the comment section so together we can create a list of amazing places to stretch your legs in the Great White North.
Run the world!