In 2002, Six Flags spent nearly 30 million dollars renovating and rebuilding the infrastructure at La Ronde in Montreal, QC). They had purchased the park in 2001 and the park was in need to a lot of investments to rebuild buildings and facilities that dated back to 1967 in many cases. The park front entrance was still from 1967 and still included the long gone elevated railway track. The park administrative building was insufficient for today’s needs and the park maintenance still used the old railway maintenance yard to do annual maintenance and house ride components. So what Six Flags did is tear down the front entrance and rebuild in a style closer to what you would see in the Old Montreal area. The maintenance yard was torn down and a new Maintenance/Administration building built to the right of the entrance. The yard became the employee and handicapped parking lot and it helped free up a few more spots, which was crucial since the park only has 4000 parking spots and can easily run out of parking spots on busy days.
Ride wise, one of the Monstre train was fully rebuilt and a new upcharge Funtime Spring Shot was installed next to the Orbite Space Shot. The ride that is of interest to us here is le Vampire (The Vampire), a brand new mirrored Batman: The Ride installed on the remaining land of the Aqua Parc. The Aqua Parc was a short lived water park that was open from 1988 to 1992 on a small piece of land behind the Alcan Aquarium from the Expo 1967 era. The water slides were sold to a local facility and all that remained were the two strange white pyramid buildings used as changing facilities and a restaurant.
One of the two Aquaparc building.
Disco Ronde in 2000.
The Disco Ronde was repainted in 2002 to fit with the Vampire behind the ride.
In 1995, the city of Montreal had purchased a used Intamin/Giovanola Stand-Up roller coaster from Sweden and installed it behind the Aquarium. In 1995 as well, the Aquarium received new flooring and a second floor and became the “Megadome Nintendo”, an area where over 80 people at a time could play various Nintendo games. In 1999, a used S&S Space Shot was installed on the lake, but this is a ride we will be detailing in a future article.
The Cobra with the Aquaparc building that was transformed into the Bouchee du Vampire.
From 1995 to 2001, the Cobra was yellow with gray supports. This picture was shot in 2000.
So in 2001, after careful measurements, Six Flags realised that the piece of remaining land on the Aqua Parc was large enough to receive a Batman: The Ride. But, to fit, it would have to be a mirrored model and there was an additional reason: on the mirror, riders would have a spectacular view of the St-Lawrence River as they went up the lift hill and down the first drop. Martin & Vleminckx, world famous ride builders came in and assembled the roller coaster and also rerouted the park Minirail. It would go under the lift hill and Zero G Roll and thus, was saved from being dismantled.
The Minirail track was rerouted to go under the lift hill and Zero G Roll.
The lift hill.
The train going up the lift hill.
In this unique view, you can see how the Minirail go under the ride and the first drop leading to the first Vertical Loop. The ride was placed so that when riders go down the first drop, they have the visuals of falling into the St-Lawrence River.
An overhead view of the first part of the ride and the entrance plaza. The building on the right was used until this year for Go-Karts.
The Zero-G-Roll, which is truly the signature element of the ride.
The train entering the Zero G Roll.
The ride second portion features a cement trench for the exit of the second loop and the exit of the second Flat Spin go through a mist filled trench. Large rocks were laid around the ride supports to avoid having the ride look like a ride just thrown there.
The second Vertical Loop.
A look at the second half.
This intense spiral is right after the second Vertical Loop and can give some sensible riders a tingling sensation in their toes due to the intense forces.
The long turn is used as the transition to slow down the train before it heads into the Flat Spins. The mist lifting out of the ground is from the last trench where misters are installed. It is a fantastic feeling when the train dives through the fog.
The first Flat Spin followed by the overbanked turn.
The deep trench at the end of the second Flat Spin.
A smaller trench was also installed at the beginning of the same Flat Spin.
The final curve that brings the ride to an end.
The ride train and track were painted as Batman: La Fuga, but the engraved Batman logo not present in the seats. Seven car trains are used on this installation, making it the third Batman with a shorter train.
The seats and restraints. The last car missing is due to the Backward train, something we will talk later.
The same wheel cover as Batman: La Fuga is used, but without the Batman logo.
The train in the station from the unload side.
The ride station is the familiar Art-Deco station seen on other Six Flags rides, but unlike Batman: La Fuga and Batman: The Ride at Six Flags New Orleans, a covered brake area and transfer track was still built. The ride does not use the Batman: The Ride name as Six Flags was not sure how the local guests would react to American characters and instead went with an easy name that work both in French and English: Vampire. A Vampire in French or English is the same thing so it was perfect. The Batman: The Ride Warner Bros. influence is still present as after passing the decorate entrance portal, the queue wind through a park before going under the ride. At that point, the ride theming was not installed and two queue areas were built and the second one feature a metal roof in the same Maroon color as the ride supports.
The rose garden in the park section.
You walk under the ride and transition to what would have the been skid row section of Gotham City had Warner Bros installed the ride.
The first waiting section. The small covered room covers vending machines.
The nearly filled second waiting line section, covered this time as it is the one used most often.
A view of the waiting line right after going under the ride. The piping used to make the queue was something used often by Six Flags in 2001 and 2002 around their parks. It was cheap to install and unlike chains, not prone to breaking.
The Art-Deco station with the glass roof.
The ride was designed to be accessible as there was enough space to build a long winding ramp at a shallow angle for the exit. The light fixture on the left is the same used on Batman rides around the chain, so the Batman influence is still present.
A nice view of the elaborate roof of the station.
The entrance portal with the Bat statues and the name.
This year, the park installed this pretty themed sign at the exit. It is quite remarkable and the nearby Vertigo flat ride also received one as well.
One of the weird pyramid building was repurposed as a Chicken counter restaurant called “La Bouchee du Vampire” with restrooms in the back. La Bouchee du Vampire translates to “The Vampire Bite”.
La Bouchee du Vampire. The restaurant is currently not open, but when it opened, the house specialty was chicken tenders. The “Doigts de Vampire” (Vampire fingers) were tenders dipped in hot sauce and was a very popular menu item.
The guest reaction to the ride was incredible, as it was the first B&M roller coaster in Canada and guests immediately recognised the quality of the ride. It truly helped launch La Ronde to new heights and brought record crowds to the park not seen since the Monstre opened in 1985 and 1986. On firework days, the ride would even see 3 to 4 hours waits.
In 2016, La Ronde ran the Vampire Backwards with a six car train.
In 2017, we attended an event hosted by the American Coaster Enthusiasts and were able to visit the maintenance area of the Vampire and was able to take photos of the ride from the brake area.
A close-up of the back two cars on the Vampire. The train was parked on the transfer track.
A look at the brake run tunnel.
From the start of the tunnel looking toward the station.
The start of the brake run.
A very unique look at the curve after the second Vertical Loop.
A look at the last Flat Spin. You can see the trench after the second Vertical Loop under it.
A look at the maintenance area. The long yellow rails on the sides is what the cars secondary wheels roll on in this area. The tires slowly move the train back and forth.
The end of the garage.
The upper portion of the garage.