With new parkruns springing up in the USA as well as Canada, cross-border parkrunning is an option for those of us who want to try a new course. Tim Gallagher from the USA has made it an annual tradition to visit Bellevue parkrun in Sault Ste Marie, ON.
I am a dedicated parkrunner and a devoted parkrun tourist. I have been to 25 different parkrun locations in six countries, and I can confidently say that Bellevue parkrun in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is one of my all-time favourites. I have parkrun at Bellevue three times so far – and it would have been four if not for an ill-timed bridge closing!
Interestingly I have parkrun at Bellevue on July 6th, July 7th, and July 8th. How is this possible, you ask? The first time was in 2017 at Bellevue’s 5th ever event with my good friend Lynn Boven, ED at Livonia parkrun. The 2nd time was in 2018 with my two daughters, Katie and Sarah.
Then in 2019, I visited Bellevue all by myself – but I did not feel like I was by myself, because even though I can only visit once per year, it felt like it was a homecoming, visiting old friends! In fact it was – I was visiting my friends and Bellevue volunteers Andy Bessell and Chris Bean, who I had never met prior to parkrun, but they made me feel so welcome on my first two visits that I was looking forward to seeing them again.
Bellevue parkrun is easy to find, just about a ten minute drive from the International Bridge. The park itself has lots of interesting features, with playgrounds, a gazebo, a stage, cute bridges over a meandering stream, an island, and nice clean bathrooms.
Then the parkrun course has a little bit of everything too. It has lots of twists and turns but is well marked. It crossing those little bridges and goes out onto the island. There are great views of the park and of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the United States across the river.
There have not been large crowds of parkrunners the times I visited, but more of a hometown feel, where most people know each other. The volunteers are happy to explain the course, tell you what to expect if it is your first time, or even run around with you if you are lucky.
The post-parkrun coffee shop is a nearby Tim Horton’s – very Canadian! The course may change in the winter so be sure to check with the event team in advance for any location changes. As we continue to experience tremendous growth in the number of parkruns in both Canada and the United States we are really spoiled for choice, but be sure not to miss this gem of a parkrun imbued with the spirit of friendship located in a beautiful part of North America.
How did you first hear about parkrun? James and Jodi from Taber, Alberta, share their story about the influential role James’ Dad played in the founding of Trout Pond parkrun. This time last year we would’ve just held our 2nd parkrun, still trying to get used to juggling the scanning, timekeeping, token hand…
Comment avez-vous entendu parler de parkrun? James et Jodi, de Taber, en Alberta, racontent leur histoire au sujet du rôle influent joué par le père de James dans la création du parkrun de Trout Pond. L’année dernière, à ce moment-là, nous aurions organisé notre deuxième parkrun, essayant toujours de nous habituer à jongler avec…