Montreal to open Canada’s tallest observation wheel

Pop Goes The News — Montreal’s Old Port is getting Canada’s tallest ferris wheel, La Grande Roue de Montréal.

The 60-metre observation wheel will join attractions like the Voiles en Voiles pirate ship park, MTL Zipline, SOS Labyrinthe and Cirque du Soleil this summer. It, like the nearby Montreal Science Centre, will operate year-round.

The Old Port also has plans to add an observation tower in 2019.

A website for the La Grande Roue de Montréal was launched in French only but Jimmy Laforge of the Old Port of Montreal said an English version will be available by April 7.

La Grande Roue, designed by Dutch Wheels BV and currently under construction on Île Bonsecours, is being billed as Canada’s tallest observation wheel, behind the 53-metre Niagara SkyWheel in Niagara Falls, Ont.

From the top of La Grande Roue de Montréal, riders will be able to see the 45-metre La Grande Roue at La Ronde, a nearby Six Flags amusement park.

MORE: Check out Old Montreal Guide

A press release for La Grande Roue de Montréal, though, inexplicably claims that it will be the third highest “in the United States and Canada.”

In fact, it will stand in a sixth-place tie with Chicago’s Centennial Wheel behind the High Roller in Las Vegas (168 metres), the Orlando Eye (130 metres), the Texas Star in Dallas (65 metres), and both the Great Smoky Mountain Skywheel in Tennessee and the SkyView in Atlanta (both 61 metres).

In July, the observation wheels in Montreal and Chicago will drop to seventh place in the U.S. and Canada when the 69-metre Steel Pier Wheel opens in Atlantic City — and next year they’ll fall yet another spot when the New York Wheel rises 192 metres on Staten Island to take first place.

Observation wheels are popping up all over the world. Dubai is currently erecting what will be the tallest, the 210-metre Dubai Eye.

La Grande Roue de Montréal will run from 10 am to 11 pm daily with 42 climate-controlled gondolas that accommodate up to eight passengers each.

The 15-minute experience consists of three full revolutions. At full capacity, the wheel can take 18,816 passengers a day.

It is a $25 million investment by a private company under a five-year agreement with the federal government. It is scheduled to be open by June but a source said that is “unlikely.”

Adults will pay $25 to ride La Grande Roue, twice what it costs to go on Niagara’s SkyWheel and about $5 CAD more than a ride on Chicago’s Centennial Wheel.

The High Roller in Vegas ranges from $33 CAD to $47 CAD for adults and a ride on the 135-metre London Eye costs roughly $44 CAD.