Mont Royal and Downtown Montreal

Climbing Mont Royal

The city of Montreal is named for the “mountain” that is right at its center: Mont Royal. I put “mountain” in quotes because Mont Royal, like all “mountains” on the right side of our continent, is what we left-coasters would call a “hill”. But it’s all they’ve got, and they know no better, so we indulge them and call it a mountain.

We had heard that climbing Mont Royal would be a fun thing, so we decided to try it. Roscoe and Joanne decided to come along. We took the subway to the Mont Royal stop and found that it wasn’t really very close to the mountain at all. Hmmm – I should have checked the map. We walked the rest of the way.

Mont Royal turns out to be a huge park, with lots of trees and paths. The paths are wide enough for cars and buses, but we didn’t see any of them. What we did see was lots of people walking and bicycling.

It’s a popular place, and quite beautiful. And they have lots of benches for resting along the way. All the directional signs are in French (no English allowed on signs, by law) so we got to do some guessing as to the right path. But really it wasn’t a problem – you just keep going up until you get to the top.

Near the top it gets pretty steep so they’ve installed a wide wooden staircase for the last stretch. There are a lot of steps, so it attracts athletes who want to get their step workouts in. While we old folks lumbered slowly up, they ran both ways, panting and sweating, and generally having a great time.

We made it to the top with no mishaps and only a little bit of whining, and it was worth the effort. They have a huge¬†chalet up there, with a coffee bar (hooray!) and a large terrace where you can relax and enjoy the fantastic views and listen to people play the piano. Yes, there’s an old upright piano on the terrace, open for anyone to play.

We relaxed for a while, drinking in the views with our coffee. Roscoe consulted a map and found a much more efficient route back to the downtown area. It was all steps – no path, and we got down in about 5 minutes (it seemed).

Roscoe decodes the French signs.

Roscoe, Joanne and Karen hike up the path.

Flowers on the terrace atop Mont Royal

Joanne heads for the stairs to the top.

Walking paths at the top of Mont Royal

The chalet at the top of Mont Royal

Dave heads down the stairs from the top.

(click pictures to make them larger)

Downtown Montreal

Mary Queen of the World cathedral

Salle Bourgie Hall

I call this one “The Tour Guide”.

Relax and meet friends, right on the street!

Nothing (except paint) on ceiling and walls

Real bike lanes, just like in Europe!

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