The cycling tour guides are local youth. This is one of the reasons why the
Port of Montreal supports the project. Also, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
came into being with the expansion of the Port to the east, and its residents
are part of its surrounding community.
vélopousse: a special formula
Pedicabs provide taxi or sightseeing services in many cities around the world. But the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve tourist shuttle has a something extra going for it.
Francine St-Onge, development officer at a community youth employment centre, the Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (CJE HM), had seen pedicabs in other countries. The idea appealed to her. “Our formula is unique to us: it’s firstly a community project,“ she said. The main goal is to create quality jobs for local youth age 20 to 30.
A good cleaning before hitting the road. It has to shine !
“We train them, we pay them well, we look after their health, we provide the equipment and we consult with them regularly. It’s THEIR project,” she said.
The objective, she explained, is to fight the somewhat bruised reputation of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood and share their pride with its residents. Another objective is to increase the flow of customers to local businesses.
During the tour, Vélopousse’s cycling tour guides don’t just reel off the names of statues and monuments; they tell people about the neighbourhood’s strong social development model, about how many self-help organizations there are and the sense of solidarity and pride that emanates from all of them… starting with the cycling tour guides themselves.
Now in its third season, the Vélopousse Maisonneuve project has proved that it has the right stuff and that it’s here to stay. Last year it earned the prix ESTim in the Innovation Category, awarded by Montreal East’s board of trade, the CCEM. Since the start of this year’s operation on June 14, the cycling tour guides have welcomed and carried more than 700 passengers, and the season isn’t over! The pedicabs will stay in service on weekends throughout September, and until October 12. Check the schedule and departure points at www.velopousse.com/en/p/circuitstouristiques
Réjean Charbonneau, chief archivist of the Atelier d'histoire d'Hochelaga-
Maisonneuve, transfers his considerable knowledge to the cycling tour
guides before the start of the season. Learning takes place in the field in
a fun spirit.
Anne St-Pierre and Francine St-Onge played an especially important role in developing, organizing and carrying out the Vélopousse Maisonneuve project. The former is deputy director general of workforce development of the Corporation de développement de l’Est (CDEST) and director of the CJE HM youth employment centre, and the latter is the development officer at CJE HM.
On October 7, 2011, during a presentation of the project to the Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (M – H-M) Borough’s development committee, the comité du Pôle Maisonneuve, the Olympic Park decided to get involved financially and to provide the support of its team to implement Vélopousse Maisonneuve.
Rickshaws in Japan, 19th century.
The two project initiators then convinced several organizations and businesses to get involved to ensure Vélopousse Maisonneuve’s viability: the Caisse populaire Desjardins d’Hochelaga-Maisonneuve; the Port of Montreal, the Borough of Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve; and Space for Life, along with a number of operational partners such as the social and environmental community organization Y’a Quelqu’un l’aut’bord du mur, Promenades Hochelaga-Maisonneuve on two of the district’s main shopping streets, the Atelier d’Histoire d’Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Maisonneuve Market and even businesses such as Poissonnerie Capitaine Crabe seafood market!
Cycle-taxi in Lyon, France.
The Port of Montreal is very pleased to take part in running this great project that fits in so well with its community investment focus; it aims to benefit youth from the Port’s neighbouring community, it recognizes their involvement and it gives them an interesting job. This project has a future and the Port fully intends to be a longstanding enthusiastic partner. (Full list of partners)
From rickshaw to pedicab
With its pedicab project, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is now part of a large community of cities that have adopted this means of locomotion for cultural, tourism or practical purposes.
The rickshaw was first used in Japan more than 150 years ago. Two years after it first appeared, 40,000 rickshaws plied the streets of Tokyo. Its popularity exploded and its use rapidly spread through all the countries in Asia. The first rickshaws were pulled by men. Then the idea of crossing it with a bike produced the trishaw, also known as the pedicab.
A motorized version, the auto-rickshaw, is widely used in cities such as
Today, pedicabs or cycle-taxis are available in many major cities worldwide, such as Paris and New York, for tourism or practical purposes. A motorized version, the auto-rickshaw, is also widely used in cities such as Bangkok, Thailand.