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Mont-Royal park

Neighbourhood : Downtown
Type : Park or cemetery
Year of construction : 1872
Style :
Best : Yes

The Mont-Royal park is a large park on the mount Royal (it's either a small mountain or a big hill depending on your point of view). The park was designed by Frederic Law Olmsted in 1872, the same man who designed Central Park in New York City. He wanted everyone, from rich to poor, to have direct access to nature because its "energizing" power. There are three summits, the south-east summit where you can find the Camillien-Houde belvedere, the cross, the main chalet and the lookout; the northern summit where the jewish and Mont-Royal protestant cemetery (in the Outremont district and the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery (in the Côte-des-Neiges district) can be found; the third summit is where the St-Joseph oratory and Westmount are located.

There are many summer and winter activities taking place there. In the summer, you can hike (there are a lot of hiking paths around but stick to the well marked paths, there are other small paths made by people wandering around but this damages the forest and you can easily get lost or fall down a small cliff) or montain bike (same comment as for hiking, a lot of mountain bikers make their own paths with also causes damage). In winter, you can skate or slide near the Lac des Castors at the top of the mountain (just north of the lookout) or you can do some cross-country skiing or show-shoeing (there are many well maintained paths). There's also another place where you can slide at the corner of du Parc ave. and Mont-Royal ave.

Mount Royal is also where you will find the best view of eastern and downtown Montreal : the Mont-Royal lookout and its beautiful chalet, if you want a great view of downtown and the south-shore, or the Camillien-Houde belvedere for a view of east Montreal (the Olympic stadium, the Jacques-Cartier bridge, etc). If you ever wanted a city at your feet, here's your chance. You can also see the cross, on the eastern part of the top of Mont-Royal (there's a path leading east from the lookout to the cross or start from the belvedere up the stairs then to your left). The story of the cross is as follows : there was a flood in 1642 that was threatening the settlement of Ville-Marie (Montreal's first name), the leaders then prayed that if the flood receded, they would put up a cross on the Mont-Royal. The flood did recede and they put up the cross in 1643. The present cross is obviously not the same cross but it's a reminder of the original event.

There are many ways you can access the park :

  • by foot : through downtown and the "stairs section" (there are four streets that lead to a dead end - Redpath, du Musée, de la Montagne and Drummond north of Docteur-Penfield - so to reach des Pins ave. you need to climb up the stairs, they also give a good view of downtown). The Redpath stairs are the nicest ones. Then walk up the path that starts near the Drummond stairs (not up Redpath crescent, that's a street) and once you reach the main path, you can either go right to the very long stairs (there's about 200 stairs to climb but it's the quickest way up and you'll be directly near the lookout) or go left, there's a long winding path that goes up, it's the slowest way but easiest on the legs (you'll arrive near the Lac des Castors, to go to the lookout just go to your right).
  • by bus : from the Mont-Royal metro station, just take the 11 bus line west and you'll arrive at the top near the lookout, or take the 80 bus north from the Place-des-Arts metro station to Mont-Royal ave. then transfer to the 11 bus or take the 55 bus north from St-Laurent metro station to Mont-Royal ave. then transfer to the 11 bus.
  • by car : if you are coming from downtown, take du Parc ave. north and just before Mont-Royal ave. turn right then go up to the intersection of Mont-Royal ave., Côte-Ste-Catherine and Camillien Houde road and turn right at the light (unless you are going to the Mont-Royal cemetery, then go up Mont-Royal ave.). You can first stop at the belvedere (there's a great view of Montreal's east section and part of the islands) or park at the top of Mount-Royal (it' not free though) you can then walk to the lookout. There's another way from the west through Remembrance road.

    P.S. People here call it "la montagne" (the mountain) for lack of a better word.

Contact and location
Address : Camillien-Houde way or Remembrance road
Metro station: Mont-Royal then take the 11 bus west
Tel. : (514) 843-8240
Email :
Website : www.lemontroyal.qc.ca
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