Monday, January 3, 2011

Mont Royal in the Winter (an escape from the city all year long)

         Mount Royal (Mont-Royal) is a great place all year long,but in Winter it allowed an escape from the city,where we could go skate or slide on the hill with our sleds or tobogans, and have a Hot Chocolate in the Chalet at Beaver Lake,or trek up to the Lookout Chalet near the Cross.....all fun stuff.A sort of return to nature ,while still in a great city.         here's a few dates & info on the mountain,from the 'friends of the mountain' website:


Milestones in history

Significant events both preceded and followed the creation of Mont Royal Park:
  • 1535: Guided by the native inhabitants of Hochelaga, Jacques Cartier climbs the mountain and names it Mount Royal.
  • 1643: Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, erects a cross on the mountain to give thanks to God for saving the colony from a flood.
  • 1676: The Sulpicians establish a fort for an aboriginal mission at the foot of the mountain.
  • 1763: Ville-Marie officially becomes Montréal, a francization of Monte Reale, or Mount Royal in Italian.
  • 1840-1850: First proposal to create a park on the mountain, made by Sir James Alexander.
  • 1858: Construction of the Smith House, built for Hosea B. Smith, a rich merchant from Boston.
  • 1859-1860: Mr. Lamothe, owner of land in the area of what is now Peel Street, cuts down the trees on his property to sell for firewood. The event hardens positions in favour of a park.
  • 1862: Colonel Stevenson takes a cannon up the mountain and fires off several volleys to prove that the mountain is accessible to those opposed to the creation of a park on Mount Royal.
  • 1863: Colonel Stevenson and his troupe take the cannon up the mountain again, firing it off to remind the public of the pertinence of creating a park on the mountain.
  • 1869: Amendment of the Charter of the City of Montréal to allow for a $350,000 loan to acquire the land necessary for the creation of a park on Mount Royal.
  • 1872: Beginning of expropriations for the park. Sixteen landowners are expropriated. The expropriation and the work cost one million dollars, a colossal amount at the time.
  • 1874: Addition of an article to the Charter of the City of Montréal to ensure the protection of Mount Royal Park. It was the first law voted in Québec to protect a natural site.
  • 1874: Frederick Law Olmsted is hired by the City of Montréal to draft plans for the park.
  • 1876: Mount Royal Park is inaugurated on May 24.
  • 1884: Opening of the Toboggan Club, a wooden structure built on the hill to the east of the future Beaver Lake (now lac aux Castors). The Toboggan Club was demolished in 1925.
  • 1885: Opening of the first funicular to bring visitors to the summit of Mount Royal, above Duluth Street. It remained in operation until 1918.
  • 1906: Construction of a lookout located above the park’s south escarpment, in the shape of a semi-circle, with a stone balustrade and a small tea-room, which was designed by architects Edward and William S. Maxwell, assisted by landscape architect Frederick Todd. The Maxwell tea-room was destroyed in 1934.
  • 1919: The George Étienne Cartier monument, a work by sculptor George Hill and the Maxwell architectural firm, is inaugurated by telegram by King George V from Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
  • 1924: A streetcar line running between Côte-des-Neiges Road and the Smith House is put into operation. It takes Shakespeare Road, today’s chemin Remembrance.
  • 1924: Illumination of the cross on December 24. The cross, standing 31.4 metres high, was erected by the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society after an idea by Sulpician Pierre Dupaigne and the plans of architects Gascon and Parent. The incandescent lights on the cross were replaced in 1992 by a fibre-optics system.
  • 1930: Construction of la Montagne water reservoir (900 m3) on the summit of the park.
  • 1930: A streetcar line running between the Smith House and avenue du Parc is put into operation.
  • 1931: Opening of the central alarm station of the Montréal City Fire Department, near Parc, designed by architect J.E. Blanchard. Today, it is the fire department’s headquarters.
  • 1932: The Chalet, designed by architect Aristide Beaugrand-Champagne, is officially opened.
  • 1934: Opening of the summer theatre, the Mountain Playhouse, at the top of the hill overlooking the future Beaver Lake. The theatre was demolished in 1962.
  • 1938: End of the Beaver Lake landscaping project, an artificial pond designed by landscape architect Frederick Todd.
  • 1942: Construction of the first communications tower at the top of the mountain, for the City of Montréal’s public security purposes.
  • 1952: End of construction work on the CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast antenna structure (61 metres) and the adjacent stone building. It was replaced in 1962 by the current structure (111.9 metres).
  • 1954: Clear cutting of a large area of the mountain, leading to the nick-name “bald mountain.”
  • 1958: Inauguration of Camillien-Houde Drive, which cost approximately $1,300,000 to build, through special legislation adopted in 1952.
  • 1958: Designed by architects Hazen Size and Guy Desbarats, Beaver Lake Pavilion is officially opened.
  • 1960: Extensive reforestation work to counter the effects of erosion caused by intensive cutting (60,000 trees planted).
  • 1960: Tabling of a master plan for Mount Royal Park, signed by New York landscape architects Clarke and Rapuano, to whom we owe the Parc/Pine and Remembrance/Côte-des-Neiges interchanges. Many elements of the plan, such as museums, amphitheatres and extensive recreational facilities, were never built.
  • 1962: Construction of the MUC police station and stables in the park.
  • 1962: Enlargement of Mount Royal Park when the City of Montréal acquired land along Boulevard Mont-Royal.
  • 1963: The Montréal Art Centre finds a home at the Smith House. It would be headquartered there until 1983.
  • 1964: Holding of the international sculpture symposium, the first of its type in North America, organized by the Mount Royal Art Centre.
  • 1975: Saint-Jean-Baptiste celebrations in Mount Royal Park, attended by thousands of people.
  • 1976: Second and final Saint-Jean-Baptiste celebrations in Mount Royal Park. The size of the celebration caused serious damage to the park.
  • 1977: Construction of the City of Montréal’s telecommunication tower, with a technical building beneath it at the top of the mountain. The structure was replaced in 1998 by a sturdier tower (55 metres) which could hold other private telecommunication equipment.
  • 1981: Founding of the Centre de la montagne, a non-profit organization dedicated to interpretation of the natural and historic heritage of Mount Royal and environmental education.
  • 1986: Founding of Les Amis de la montagne by private citizens and organizations such as the Centre de la montagne and Heritage Montréal. Les Amis de la montagne is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of Mount Royal.
  • 1987: The portion of Mount Royal situated in Montréal is declared a heritage site.
  • 1990: First Torchlight Ascent (winter) and first clean-up of Mount Royal (spring) in the park.
  • 1990: Public consultation on a preliminary Plan for the Conservation and Restoration of Mount Royal, carried out by the Bureau de Consultation de Montréal (BCM) for the cities of Montréal, Outremont and Westmount.
  • 1992: Restoration and renovation of the Chalet lookout, according to the plans of landscape architect André Chartrand.
  • 1992: Adoption of the Plan for the Conservation and Restoration of Mount Royal by the municipal council of Montréal.
  • 1992: Restoration and renovation of paths, staircases and walkways in the areas of the Upperfell and the Piedmont and planting of 232,000 bushes et 11,000 trees under the direction of Daniel Chartier, landscape architect and Denis Marcil and Pierre-Émile Rocray, forest engineers. The work continued until 1997.
  • 1993: End of renovation work on the Crags path, following the plans of landscape architect Mario Masson (winner of the Prix Orange from Sauvons Montréal, awarded in 1994, and a regional award of merit in 1995 from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects).
  • 1994: Implementation of a signage system in the park, developed by landscape architects Williams, Asselin and Ackaoui.
  • 1996: Redesign and restoration of the Camillien-Houde Lookout and the adjacent staircase, following the plans of landscape architect Wendy Graham (Prix Orange from Sauvons Montréal and an award for excellence in landscape architecture from the Villes et villages fleuris du Québec competition).
  • 1996: Award for Excellence received by Les Amis de la montagne by Heritage Montréal and the City of Montréal in the scope of Opération Patrimoine populaire de Montréal for ten years of work toward the conservation and enhancement of Mount Royal.
  • 1997: The observatory in front of the chalet is named Belvédère Kondiaronk in honour of the First Nations Chief who played an important role in the Montréal Peace Accord of 1701.
  • 1997: Opening of the pavilion of parc Jeanne-Mance, by architect Paul Melanson and landscape architect Daniel Chartier.
  • 1998: The entire mountain, including the park, is heavily damaged by the ice storm that ravaged southern Québec between January 5 and 9.
  • 1998: Prix Orange Special (Sorbet) awarded by Sauvons Montréal to Les Amis de la montagne, the Centre de la montagne and the Ville de Montréal for their efforts in the park during and after the ice storm.
  • 1999: Re-opening of the Smith House as the park’s reception and information centre: reception of visitors, permanent exhibition, gift shop, documentation centre, activity room and the headquarters of Les Amis de la montagne and the Centre de la montagne. Architects Susan Bronson and Peter Lanken were responsible for the renovations, made possible through a fundraising campaign carried out by Les Amis de la montagne.
  • 2000: A gigantic fireworks display lights the sky over parc du Mont-Royal at the stroke of midnight to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium.
  •     I guess they haven't updated this website as it finishes with te fireworks for the new millenium,.however their website also covers events hapenning there,like teaching kids to cross country ski,etc etc ............HF&RV

                                         Cheers !! Have Fun & Remember Verdun


Les F said...

here are some old photographs from early last century,and some from the 60's etc etc .the Mountain and some photos around Montreal too........ use your 'full screen' if you like ........

Cheers,!! HF&RV

Victor Coveduck said...

Ahhh, what a great park, winter and summer during the 40's, we escaped from the streets and got into exciting skiing from the age of 12 upwards. In the summers, exciting bike rides all over the mountain and down the streets to Verdun. The view from the Chalet steps was spectacular then and probably, still is for many locals and visitors. Nothing like it, here in Florida, but never forgotten. The "Good olde Days!" We didn't have much in those days, but soon found out that "The best things in life are FREE!" (for us kids!) sez Sailin Vic (Victah)

Victor Coveduck said...

Happy New Year to all of you on this site and to all who are resposible for keeping us 'connected!'
Sez Victah.

Les F said...

The Stairs for Victah: here you go Vic, plus I added several Stair shots to the slide show in the presentation above this one. ( the Slide Show one) ....................Cheers !! HF&RV