La Ronde Antique Carousel
La Ronde - Saint Helen’s Island
The carousel was manufactured in Belgium circa 1885. After a period of time in the United States, it was brought to Montreal for Expo 67. According to the records of the National Carousel Association it is the oldest merry-go-round in Canada, and one of the ten oldest in North America.
The La Ronde Carousel is a rare example of the art and science of amusement parks that animated the industrial cities of Europe, the Americas and elsewhere during the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to its presence at Expo 67, it was featured in the credits to the 1970s Radio-Canada television programme Quelle famille!
Part of the city’s collection of public art, the carousel was negligently ceded to the Six Flags company with the transfer of La Ronde in 2001. While the company restored the ride in 2003, since that time it has been dismantled and stored in shipping containers. In addition to fears it could be quickly exported from the country, Héritage Montréal is worried about the conditions in which it is being stored and the potential for damage to its mechanisms and decorations.
In 2001, Héritage Montréal wrote to Mayor Bourque’s Administration about protecting the carousel in the agreement with Six Flags Inc. and to ensure it would remain in Montreal under municipal ownership. Two years later, we contacted the National Carousel Association to help persuade Six Flags to protect this unique heritage. Héritage Montréal is currently working with others to update the 1993 Master plan for St. Helen’s and Notre-Dame Islands park. In that context, it hopes to alert municipal authorities and the Six Flags Company to the importance of bringing La Ronde’s Antique Carousel back to life and one again make it part of Montreal’s public art heritage.
“The oldest merry-go-round in the world. A must for nostalgia of the old world in an amusement park.”
La Ronde - Assessment Comittee of the Bids for Rides
21 October, 1965