Every morning while waiting for the train I try to zen-out while remembering just how unbelievably hot last summer was. Indeed, each year I feel as though Montréalers undergo a fantastic process wherein we collectively experience each season to its fullest. Sometimes I wonder how people can complain about the heat here. I try to get up the Mountain as often as possible to enjoy the seasons in their natural state. In the early Spring, the dampness of the wood sends chills down your spine, while the mist and fog typical of that time of the year hovers gently over the forest floor as moonlight and floodlights cast eerie beams through the forest. In the Summer, it provides a cool refuge from the piercing sun. At night walking along the Olmsted Trail in the middle of January, you hear the soft crunch of the snow underfoot while dormant oak and maple branches knock together above, thuds and clunks composing a hollow rhythm. And during an Indian Summer, the explosion of colour and that last blast of heat stimulate the senses, inviting dreamers to imbibe in sweet dreams.
The idea to protect our mountain as a kind of eco-historical time-capsule has allowed generations of Montréalers to experience the local natural environment as it was when Montréal was first settled. The fact that you can walk into Mount-Royal Park and quickly find yourself alone, with nothing to hear but the sound of rustling leaves and chirping birds, bathed in sunlight – it invites you to contemplation. What a gift to give to the residents of the city!
This here is the view of the Eastern-core of the city, taken from the Kondiaronk Belvedere atop Mount-Royal. This spot was so-named to honour the Huron Chief who led 1300 delegates from 39 sovereign nations to Montréal to participate in a massive peace conference. I like how the belvedere is open to all people, all the time, and is without a doubt the most spectacular view of the city and region. From this vantage point all citizens can appreciate the grandeur that springs forth around them. All citizens can stand here and feel triumphant. And thus, the Belvedere is the piece-de-resistance in this ecological time-capsule, as here each citizen can see the landscape Cartier saw back in 1535.
If you approach the Belvedere from the West, that is, if you were coming from Lac-des-Castors, you will see the skyscrapers in the downtown, though they will appear to be much closer than they really are. It’s a bizarre optical illusion. The Mountain offers its citizens many gifts, but must be protected.