Day 53 of a 365-Day Portrait of Canada: Child playing with a stick in the forest in Mount Royal Park, Montreal

Taking a Sunday walk on “The Mountain” is a great way to spend time. We have been taking our dogs on a walk there almost every day, and the paths are always busy with runners and walkers (and skiers too when there is snow). 

The mountain is the site of Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal), which is one of Montreal’s largest greenspaces and it is close to the downtown area. Frederick Law Olmstead designed the park (he also designed Central Park in New York City) to emphasize the mountainous topography. 

Olmsted had planned to place shade trees at the bottom of the carriage path so that it would resemble a valley. As visitors went higher, the vegetation would get more sparse to give the illusion of exaggerated height. City officials wanted a reservoir atop the mountain instead and Olmsted planned a grand promenade around it. However, Montreal suffered a depression in the mid 1870s and many of Olmsted’s plans were abandoned. The carriage way was built, but it was done hastily and without regards to the original plan. None of the vegetation choices were followed and the reservoir was never built.  

The park contains two belvederes (or look-outs). The more prominent one is the Kondiaronk Belvedere, a semicircular plaza with a chalet overlooking downtown Montreal. Built in 1906, it is named for the Huron chief Kondiaronk, who signed a major peace accord with the French regime in 1701. 

Other features of the park are Beaver Lake (a small man-made lake); a short ski slope, cross-country skiing, a sculpture garden, Smith House and an interpretive center.  The park hosts athletic, tourist and cultural activities. (information taken from Wikipedia)



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