Visit The Great Mount Royal During Stay In Montreal!
If you’re visiting and hanging around for a stay in Montreal, you’ll definitely want to check out the great Mount Royal. Montreal is so bustling with shows, festivals, performances, restaurants, and bars, it can soon leave you needing a breath of fresh air. Fortunately, there’s an oasis of nature right in the heart of the city. What’s more, it offers spectacular views. Montrealers and tourists alike love to spend time relaxing on the “mountain”.
LAKE AND SCULPTURES
The mountain, with its illuminated cross and communications tower, is the iconic symbol of Montreal. The city declared a charter protecting the Parc du Mont-Royal, sometimes spelled Mount Royal Park, in 1874. It was declared a heritage site in 1987. It is a huge park and conservation area, with lots to see and do. Although there are steps, stairs, and steep paths, there are also accessible routes and trails so the park is open to everyone. The trails are well signposted, but it can be fun to just wander about and see where you end up.
To the north of the Chalet are trails through to Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors). The trails pass through the Sculpture Park, where you can wander around the impressive artworks. The sculptures were commissioned in 1964 as part of the first North American International Sculpture Symposium. In the summertime, it is a popular spot for picnics and barbecues. The lake itself is in a scenic natural hollow and is an idyllic place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a small refrigerated ice rink that opens in the winter. The Lake itself is too deep to be safe to skate on any more, although it was a popular skating spot in the past. There is a pavilion at the lake with washrooms and other facilities. A spectacular example of Quebecois architecture, the pavilion’s glass facades mean that even if the weather turn bad, you can still enjoy lovely views of the lake.
THE CHALET AND KONDIARONK BELVEDERE
Most people head to the Mont Royal Chalet and Kondiaronk viewpoint, which overlooks the south side of the city. There are useful facilities at the Chalet – washrooms, cafe, and vending machines. There are also often concerts and special events there. From the viewpoint, you can look out across the Downtown skyscrapers to the river, the south shore, and even see the Monteregian mountains on the horizon. In the wintertime, you can see hikers, skiers, snowshoers, and dog walkers enjoying the snow.
In the summer, there is a public piano, and often people playing or singing in impromptu gatherings. It can get quite busy around the Chalet, as many office workers like to run up the stairs for some fresh air and exercise in their lunch hours. For tourists, it is an essential selfie spot. Don’t be surprised if people ask you to take their picture for them!
CROSS AND COMMUNICATION TOWER
A short walk from the Chalet are the Cross and the communications tower. The history of the cross dates back to 1642, when Paul de Chomedy set up a wooden cross as thanks for his young colony on the St Lawrence River having been saved from flooding. No-one knows what became of the original cross, but in 1874 the Société St-Jean Baptiste decided to commemorate it. After a huge fundraising effort, they built the huge steel cross that still stands today. In 1924 the steel cross was illuminated with lights that could be seen from as far as 80 km away. The original lightbulbs took a lot of work to maintain, with people having to climb up and change the burnt out bulbs by hand. In 1992 and 2009 modern lighting systems were installed and now climbing up the cross is not allowed.
The communications tower, which is the highest point on the mountain, was first built in 1942. Despite being at the highest point, the views to the south from the Kondiaronk viewpoint are better. There are good views out over the east of the city, but there are other good eastern viewpoints on the Eastern escarpement and at the Camillien-Houde viewpoint. Looking east, you can see fantastic views of the Olympic Stadium and the Jacques Cartier bridge.
We hope you enjoy the beauty of Mount Royal during your extended stays in Montreal. It’s always a sight, no matter the season, and you’ll be sure to enjoy the experience!