Le TAZ de Montréal

Montreal’s TAZ park

Tuesday 26 May 2009
by Ben Swales
popularity : 1%

JPEG - 27.5 kb One of the founding members of the Tribal Zone (which has been around since 1998, based 50km north of Paris in Nogent-Sur-Oise, and as a part of which the Tribal Zine website was developped in 2005), Julien Letrouit, Pinpin or "El Pinpino" to his friends, now lives in Quebec. He went over a few years ago with his girlfriend for an IT internship and never came back. PNG - 343 kb They both fell in love with the place and its friendly, welcoming inhabitants. They’ve even started a family over there, which has just got a bit bigger with the birth of their daughter Zoé, and we wish them all the best. The only problem for a trials rider in Quebec is the great Canadian winter which makes trials riding impossible for a few months every year. But for trials riders in Montreal this winter break is now a thing of the past. A giant indoor/outdoor complex, decicated to skate, BMX and trials, opened its doors on the 28th of March - the TAZ park! The opening weekend saw a big trials meet, with top Atomz rider Thibaut Veuillet, who was a big part of the project, in attendance. It was basically a mini competition to officially inaugurate the indoor area, followed by a big street ride the next day in Montreal. Trials is really taking off in Montreal! We will tell you all about the inaugural weekend soon and will keep you up to date, via our ’man in the field’, of the evolution of this project and the development of trials in Quebec!

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Pinpin tells us about the birth of the TAZ park, leaving us dreaming of a similar project over here...

The birth of TAZ...

It’s a lovely story, practically a fairy tale. Something incredible is happening in Montreal. For the first time, Canadian trials riders will be able to ride every day of the year. Rain, snow or ice, nothing will stop them! The Taz Mahal has opened its doors and at its heart is a trials rider’s dream - a permanent indoor trials park in what is probably the best skatepark in the country.

A few photos of TAZ so you can get an idea...

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This is such an important event that all the national newspapers are talking about it:

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The new 35,000-square-foot skatepark in St. Michel is heaven on Earth

I should explain how this all came about. Luckily for us, the lanscaper who is in charge of the outdoor area is a skateboarder and... a trials rider! Mathieu Robichaud of Bloom Paysage, who has already worked on some similar big projects (such as the Rimouski skate plaza) has managed to negotiate an outdoor trials area. Here he is in action on the outdoor sections just after the snow had melted, and a map of this outdoor paradise (photos by Exposemag):

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I’ve actually ridden with him a few times and one day a year or so ago he told me that it was him who designed the Taz’s outdoor area. I immediately asked him if trials would have a place and he said "of course, but only outside". By which he meant that the areas around the carpark, skatepark and gardens would be covered with trials obstacles which he would be meticulously putting together himself. That sounded great, but it’s not all! At the end of November 2008, the manager of TAZ invited the Montreal top brass on an official visit. There were a few makeshift ramps set up for the skaters, but the real show was the trials riders. Mathieu, me, a few others and Thibaut. With the use of some plant machinery they had built a realy cool 4m metre high trials area. It was a real hit, the public, who had previously known nothing of trials, were completely enthralled. The TAZ manager decided then that there would also be an indoor trials area and for the first time Montreal’s trials riders would be able to ride all year round! The manager had decided to convert a 20x20m area in the centre of the skatepark into a trials area. There would be three areas, beginner, intermediate and elite. It would be almost entirely modular, with a forklift on hand to move the modules around. With Thibaut in charge, we were full of excitement! Mathieu was given a large budget and carte blanche to do what he wanted and he went to work! With anchorable and weighted wooden modules and giant tree trunks, it’s been professionally designed, built to last and has Thibaut’s blessing! Mathieu has nearly finished work and on wednesday, all being well, I’ll be paying a visit to the nearly finished site to give it a test ride and to suggest any changes that could be made. It will be open at the end of March and the inauguration will see an army of trials riders and a demo by Thibaut.

A video report by news company 24 Heures:

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I’ve tested the sections, it’s wicked! Mathieu has left me in charge as he’s leaving Montreal this year and wanted someone who knew what they were doing to take over.

The completed indoor area...

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A preview of the outdoor area, set to be finished in June and which will be free to use. It’s amazing to be involved in such a cool project!

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A video of Tibo Veuillet filmed after the TAZ inauguration...

Tibo in action on the indoor sections at TAZ...

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