April 30, 2012 ─ If you’re an art buff, you’ll love the permanent works of public art you can spot on Mount Royal, the backyard of the city centre. Take a leisurely walk from base to top and discover some Montréal history while getting in some cardio.
From the Peel Street entrance, make your way to the highest curb of the meandering “serpentine trail”, where you can see “Give Peace a Chance”, a collaborative work of art created by artist Linda Covit and landscape architect Marie-Claude Séguin. Marking the transition between urban landscape and wooded area, the artwork reproduces the phrase, “Give Peace a Chance” in 40 of the different languages spoken in Montréal. It echoes John Lennon’s song recorded here at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel during the famous 1969 “Bed-In”.
In front of the Smith House near the top, you can admire the artwork from the 1964 International Sculpture Symposium. Eleven artists from nine countries were invited to participate in the event, the first of its kind in North America, and create a monumental work free of technical specifications. The nearly dozen sculptors worked for two months under the open sky during the summer. The result of their communication with nature and with each other is now encapsulated in these giant landscape pieces.
Once at the summit, you’ve arrived at the foot of Montréal’s iconic cross. The one you see was built in 1924 in commemoration of the original, erected in 1643 by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the Governor of the Island, to thank God for sparing Montréal from floods. Designed by Sulpician priest Pierre Dupaigne, the 30-metre tall cross can be seen from a distance of 80 kilometres. It’s illuminated white at night, but should a pope die, the colour changes to purple. If you ever lose your bearings in Montréal, all you have to do is look for the cross from the street to regain your sense of direction.