Big O Pipe Family Reunion
After nearly a two year wait, the day the Pipe re-opens for skateboarders was finally upon us. When the Montreal Impact soccer team moved to another league, one of the league requirements was a larger stadium. To expand the stadium one of the light poles needed to be moved right where the Pipe was located. Joey Saputo found it within his heart to save the Pipe. He paid for the Pipe to be moved. It didn’t have to be moved far, only 80 feet but, the move would not be cheap. Good thing Joey is a sports lover. The Pipe was slated to re-open in spring 2012 but the construction company working on the expansion of the stadium made a pile of dirt that was too heavy for the underground parking to support. Yes, underneath the Pipe and the Saputo stadium there is an underground parking and some offices. Luckily no one was injured in the collapse. Because of the collapse the structure underneath the Pipe had to be inspected, repaired, and re-inspected. After that we had to wait for the landscaping to be completed. All in all it took basically two years for the Pipe to re-open.
Riley Boland blasts a rooftop boneless out of the frame. Crazy paparazzi of which I am.
The day of the Pipe re-opening (AKA rebirth) finally arrived. Marc called me way to early after a night of drinking with the ACE guys to see if I wanted a ride to the Pipe. I had to decline; more sleep was required. After another 30 minutes of sleep I woke up and got ready to take the metro to Viau for the first time in 2 years. I had gone to the Stadium a couple of times within those two years but I’d always gotten off at PIE-IX to skate the ledges. I thought about taking a photo of myself arriving at Viau but selfies are not my thing. The walk through the cinema parking lot brought back many memories of that walk before and after some great sessions. I thought about the banks outside the Viau metro before the cinema even existed (where Orion did his now famous street plant). Over the years the Olympic grounds have been great to skaters even if we do stupid shit like skate the roof of the Biodome (AKA the Velodrome).
The walk from the metro to the Pipe seemed to take forever but I know it was only a minute or two. There was to much going on in my brain to keep track of time. Once I turned the corner I could see that the landscaping had been completed, picnic tables installed, and a good part of the days set up had already been done. It was 9:30 am and pipe fiends were already there. A couple of guys even thought it was a good idea to sleep there without any tents. Those guys were lucky the night wasn’t cold at all. Some hands were shaken, pounds were given and then I got to helping out Marc set up. If I wasn’t going to help out, I would have stayed in bed another hour at least.
All morning people were walking into the fenced off area that would hold the Big O rebirth. Once the set up was done Marc and I had to go around and get anyone that wanted to skate that one day to sign a waiver. Many skaters were confused by this but after telling them it was free they all signed their lives away. It would be so easy to be the devil and to get someone to give me their soul. Even before the ribbon cutting some sick skating was going down. Before any of the festivities started some key players in saving the Pipe went up on stage and spoke a few words. In the speeches one thing the caught my attention was when the David Heurtel of the Olympic Grounds stated that they welcome the skateboard community onto the Olympic grounds. This is one of the only places in Montreal that is allowing us to skateboarding on their grounds and the grounds contains to many rad spots. Hearing it from the boss was cool.
Henri is the local can pick up guy at the Pipe. It was amazing to she that he’s still well and cleaning up after us. Here Henri is signing a Pipe Fiends book on his photo for Shrewgy from ACE. By the way, three days later Henri was back at the Pipe with his wife celebrating both of their birthdays for which Henri was turning 84. Happy birthday my friend.
Once the speeches were completed, there was the ribbon cutting which was follow by a full blown insane session at the Pipe. There were people from all over Canada (Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and all over Quebec) that had come to skate the Pipe on this day. Early on I took a couple of runs but I wasn’t feeling « it ». I don’t know what it was, lack of sleep, to much drinking, my dislocated shoulder, or maybe to many friends I had not seen to ages but, this was not my day for skating. Everyone else was skating better then I’d ever seen them before.
Instead of skating I spent time making sure people were having fun (giving them the phone number for Depanneur delivery), chatting with people, checking out the skating, watching bands, and all around just having fun. I was very happy to see that Henri, photographed above, was doing well and he had made it to the event. Sorry Henri that you didn’t have many cans to return for two years but now we’re back and there will be many cans to recycle. By the way, he’s not just a can picker upper at the Pipe, he’s a Pipe fiend too. He just celebrated his 84 birthday with his wife at the Pipe. That was another great moment at the Pipe. I don’t know if anyone of the skaters will be able to accomplish the same feat, it’s not looking good for us.
What do you do when Montreal pioneering skater show up to the Pipe? Show them Steve Olson of course and enjoy the conversation and the vibe. On the right is Norman Roy; he’s the guy I’d see at the Pipe when I started going in 1985. Pick up a Pipe Fiends book and see what I’m talking about.
Slated for that days events were many bands and DJs. They all had a different vibe going but still complimented each other. Did I mention that all the days events were free?
The Yardlets getting it started.
Bear Mace got everyone all riled up.
The skating continued until it got dark. Some guys even ventured into the Pipe in the dark to learn a life lesson, don’t mess with the Pipe or it’ll mess you up. Once the concerts were all done Marc and I when around cleaning up the garbage. I was also asked to take down the PA. Yes, speakers are still as heavy as I remember them being. Once everything was cleaned up and packed away it was time for me to head home for some food. You’d think my day was done since I had work in the morning but I went out with the ACE guys for a couple of big 50s. What a great way to end a great day. I hope there is never going to be another Big O re-birth. I just want to skate the Pipe until I can no longer skate. It’s so good to have my local skate spot back!
New blood ripping the Pipe. Nice trick Felix.
Adam Hopkins pounding the lip with this madonna.
Marc, Gymbo, and Alec asking for funds to support the Ville-Maire Roule skatepark project. We are working hard to get a skatepark build in Montreal’s Southwest borough. Thanks for one and all that donated money to our project. Every bit helps.