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 boneless off the roof

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).

Big O Rebirth crowdPeople really did come out to support the Pipe, Saputo, the Olympic Parc, and of course enjoy some sick skating.



Ludwig It's A BoyHey Ludwig (Louis Corbeil), you just re-had another boy,  sweet!



Family Day At The PipeFamily day at the Pipe.  The future of skateboarding is right here.  They just don’t know it yet.



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.

Marc BS ollieSick ass shot of Marc’s backside ollie.  At least my angle was better then Dan’s, haha.



LuxuriousAn old school pimping look to the new Pipe.



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.

hHenri signs Pipe Fiends bookHenri 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.



ACE Back StageBarry Walsh, Joey Tershy, John Cardiel, Ron Chatman, and Matt Rodriguez chilling at the rebirth.



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.

Gab Crail SlideGab de Léry crail slides as Gymbo Jak inspects the marvel that we call the Pipe.



Kevin FS AirKevin Cann with a borderline ditch grabbing frontside air.



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.

Big O SaviorsSome of the integral people in saving the Pipe enjoying this great day (David Heurtel, Richard Legendre Saputo {hidden}, Jeoy Saputo and kids, Ti-Gras, Marc Tison, Barry Walsh, and Big Rich).


New ACE graffiti for the event.

New ACE graffiti for the event.Hot out of the press, ACE Big O Trucks.  Find then and some soft good at your local skateshop across Canada in September.Hot out of the press, ACE Big O Trucks. Find then and some soft good at your local skateshop across Canada in September.

Old School MTL SkatersWhat 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

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!

Felix  FS Smith

New blood ripping the Pipe.  Nice trick Felix.

Adam Madonna

Adam Hopkins pounding the lip with this madonna.

VMR Fundraising

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.