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15 September 2012 / leggypeggy

Welcome to the real Mont Real

Mount Real in Montreal

Climbing Mount Real—look at all those steps. I wonder if anyone is getting up to anything in all those bushes?

You can’t go to Montreal without climbing Mont Real (Mount Royal)—the place for which the city is named. Of course, at 233 metres (764 feet), it’s a hill not a mountain.

But back in 1535, it must have looked pretty impressive to Jacques Cartier, who ‘discovered’ Canada and who was the first European to climb it.

He was so enchanted by the beauty of the landscape that he named the ‘mountain’ for his patron, King François I, hence the reference to royal (spelt ‘real’ is those days).

Initially the name referred only to the island (yes the core of Montreal is on an island), and then to the greater city from the 18th century.

There is a road to the top, but Poor John and I took the footpath and stairs through Mount Royal Park. It’s an athletic event for some people, and we saw locals having their second and third ‘goes’ jogging up. I’m grateful that I could make it to the top at all.


Bird’s-eye view of Montreal

That said, the trip is worth it for the sensational 180-degree views out over the city. Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York’s Central Park, did the plan for this park. It opened in 1876, but not quite to Olmsted’s plan, mostly because of a recession in Montreal during that decade.

There are a lot of other things to see at the top. Our friend, Brenda, told us the lake probably was being renovated. We suppose she was right, because we never found it. Didn’t find the cross or the time capsule (to be opened in 2142) either.

But along with the crowds of people already there, we strolled around the Kondiaronk plaza (named for a Petun chief whose influence led to a major peace accord between the French, Iroquois and other Indian tribes in 1701). We also popped into the summerhouse or ‘belvedere’. I read that the snack bar in there is closed while they figure out a healthier menu.

I had to laugh about the healthier menu idea. Apparently in the 1950s, the then mayor had some of the lush forest removed—morality cuts—so people couldn’t have sex in the bushes. It’s grown back, but we only saw tourists enjoying the view—and those health nuts jogging up and down the stairs.

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Leave a Comment
  1. jeanleesworld / Apr 19 2016 4:29 am

    This post made me laugh. For all the jokes I’ve heard about sex in the bushes, I never really thought it would actually happen in such a touristy, showy spot. Wonder if they ever worked out that menu… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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