Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Mount Royal

Mount Royal (French: mont Royal) is a mountain on the Island of Montreal, immediately north of downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to which city it gave its name.

Contrary to popular belief, Mount Royal is not an extinct volcano; however, it is the result of magma flows. It is composed of gabbro and is part of the Monteregian mountain chain situated between the Laurentians and the Appalachians.

The mountain consists of three peaks: Montreal, 223 metres; Outremont, 211 metres; and Westmount, 201 metres. At this height, it might be otherwise considered a very tall hill, but it has always been called a mountain.

Mount Royal's eastern slope, with the cross and the monument to Sir George-Étienne Cartier, seen from Park Ave. (av. du Parc)

Table of contents
1 History
2 Mount Royal Park
3 External link


The first European to scale the mountain was Jacques Cartier, guided there in 1535 by the people of the village of Hochelaga. He named it in honour his patron, King François I of France. He wrote in his journal:

Et au parmy d'icelles champaignes, est scituée et assise ladicte ville de Hochelaga, près et joignant une montaigne... Nous nommasmes icelle montaigne le mont Royal.
("And among these fields is situated the said town of Hochelaga, near to and adjoining a mountain... We named this mountain, Mount Royal.")

The name of the city of Montreal derives from mont Réal, an orthographic variant introduced either in French, or by an Italian map maker ("Mount Royal" is monte Reale in Italian). The name had been unofficially applied to the city, formerly Ville-Marie, by the 18th century.

The first cross on the mountain was placed there in 1643 by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of the city, in fulfillment of a vow he made to the Virgin Mary when praying to her to stop a disastrous flood. Today, the mountain is crowned by a 31.4-metre-high illuminated cross, installed in 1924 and converted to fibre-optic light in 1992. (The cross's lights have always been white, but the new system can turn the lights red, blue, or purple, which last is to be used upon the death of the pope.)

Mount Royal Park

The mountain is the site of Mount Royal Park, one of Montreal's largest greenspaces. The park, most of which is wooded, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park, and inaugurated in 1876.

The park contains two belvederes, the most prominent of which is the Kondiaronk Belvedere, a semicircular plaza with a chalet, overlooking downtown Montreal. Other features of the park are Lac aux Castors, a small lake; a short ski slope; a sculpture garden; Maison Smith, an interpretive centre; and a well-known monument to Sir George-Étienne Cartier. The park hosts athletic, tourist, and cultural activities.

The lush forest was badly damaged by the 1998 ice storm, but has since largely recovered. The forest is a green jewel rising above downtown Montreal, and is known for its beautiful autumn foliage.

Outside the park, Mount Royal's slopes also bear such Montreal landmarks as Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and Mount Royal cemeteries; St. Joseph's Oratory, Canada's largest church; McGill University and the University of Montreal; and some well-off residential neighbourhoods such as Upper Westmount and Upper Outremont.

External link

Welcome to Mount Royal

The Town of Mount Royal was a town in Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. It was incorporated into Montreal on January 1, 2002 and is now a borough of that city.

There is also a Mount Royal outside the city of Frisco in Summit County, Colorado, U.S.A.

Mount Royal is also a neighbourhood in Calgary, Alberta, home to Mount Royal College.