Cycloroute de Bellechase
Bellechasse RCM, Quebec
2015 Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award (Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation)
The oldest railway in Bellechasse RCM began operations in 1855. The Grand Trunk line connecting Charny and Saint-Thomas-de-Montmagny was a crucial portion of the transcontinental railway that helped forge the path to Confederation in 1867. Rapid rail expansion at the turn of the century saw tracks laid throughout the region. Following the decline of rail transport in the latter half of the 20th century, the tracks were gradually abandoned. In 2008, eight municipalities located within the Bellechasse RCM signed a 60 year lease with the Government of Quebec in order to transform the former railway tracks into a vast network of trails. The paved pathways of the Cycloroute de Bellechasse cover 74 km of land spanning eight municipalities. In 2013, the Bellechasse RCM partnered with the Historical Society of Bellechasse to commemorate the railway and the significant role it played in shaping the identities of the eight municipalities in the Bellechasse RCM. Today, 35 interpretive panels tell the story of the railway and of the eight municipalities on route. In addition, three signals mark former railway crossings and three shelters inspired by railway architecture were erected along the path between Saint Henri and Armagh, standing as physical reminders of the past.
Owner: MRC de Bellechasse
Heritage Development: Historical Society of Bellechasse