advertisement

Montréal is named for this 232m (761-ft.) hill that rises at its heart -- the "Royal Mountain." Walkers, joggers, cyclists, dog owners, and in-line skaters all use this largest of the city's green spaces throughout the year. In summer, Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake) is surrounded by sunbathers and picnickers (no swimming allowed, however). In winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoers follow miles of paths and trails laid out for their use through the park's 200 hectares (494 acres). Ice-skates, skis, poles, and snowshoes can all be rented for adults and children at the Beaver Lake Pavilion, the glass windowed building with a rippled roof. Chalet du Mont-Royal near the crest of the hill is a popular destination, providing a sweeping view of the city from its terrace. A few snack and beverage vending machines are there in case you get hungry or thirsty. Up the hill behind the chalet is the spot where, legend says, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, erected a wooden cross after the colony sidestepped the threat of a flood in 1643. The present incarnation of the steel Croix du Mont-Royal was installed in 1924 and is lit at night. It usually glows white, though it was purple in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.