Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve open to cyclists this weekend

The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame has officially reopened to cyclists, pedestrians and skaters.

Racetrack will be open 151 days between April 14 and Nov. 18

Cyclists protested last year against the complete planned closure of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack to cyclists and inline skaters. (Salim Valji/CBC)

The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame has officially reopened to cyclists, pedestrians and skaters.

This year, the racetrack will be open for 151 days, non-consecutive, between April 14 and Nov. 18.

The track is perhaps best-known as the site of the Canadian Grand Prix. But when it's not being used for the F1, it's a popular spot for amateur athletes of all types. 

Due to ongoing construction on neighbouring Île Sainte-Hélène to create a 65,000-seat amphitheatre, events normally held in Parc Jean-Drapeau have been displaced for a second year.

Events such as Osheaga and Île Soniq are being held on Île Notre-Dame instead, meaning the racetrack won't be accessible for a number of weeks during the summer.

A full schedule is posted on the Parc Jean-Drapeau's website.

At Evenko's request, a new 65,000-seat amphitheatre is being built on Parc Jean-Drapeau. (Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau)

Last year — the first year of displacement — the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau initially said that cyclists wouldn't be able to use the racetrack at all from May 8 to Sept. 4 for the same reason.

Geneviève Boyer, head of communications for the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau, told CBC in an email that the group made an effort to add 10 extra days of access during the same period for this year.

"We are basically asking our promoters to find a way to set up and dismantle the infrastructures of the event sites in the most efficient way," she wrote.

"For the Grand Prix du Canada, the promoter began setting up stands last fall, which makes it easier for us to open Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve knowing there is no heavy machinery going around."

Aquatic centre reopens

In 2017, the aquatic complex on Île Sainte-Hélène was also closed for the entire season, a decision that sparked outrage when it was first announced.

This year, the aquatic complex reopens to the public as of May 19.