July 4, 2011 — TheMount Royal is Montréal’s most notable landmark. Inaugurated in 1876, this multi-hectare park is a favourite destination for locals and visitors alike. The park’s design was envisioned by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, the same fellow who also designed New York’s Central Park. Complete with the iconic cross at the summit, the locals call it ‘the mountain,’ but don’t get fooled into believing that Mount Royal is too elevated for you to climb. You can be up and down in an hour if you are an ambitious sightseer.
Access the mountain through various entry points from centre-ville (downtown), and, if you are on a time crunch, there is a set of stairs that goes straight to the top. Should you do have a couple hours, find the main pathway and follow it all the way to the top. And if you enjoy rolling on two wheels, a popular option is to borrow a Bixi bike to peddle the hill, and then to enjoy a leisurely coasting ride back down. Just be sure to ring your bike bell should you see any potential hotties.
Also, don’t forget that camera, because the city’s most popular photo-op is at the Belvédère Kondiaronk, a lookout point at the top of the mount. Here you can grab a coffee from the chalet, or if it’s a warm summer day, an ice cream from the vendors. If the wind is right, you can practice your best Céline Dion pose with your hair tousled and the city’s high-rises framing the shot.
On a Sunday afternoon you’ll want to catch the beat of the city at Tam-tams. This is Montréal’s weekly drumming/circus/dance festival where you’ll find loads of sexy peace-lovin’ granolas from all walks of life: black, white, English, French, young, old, gay, straight (and everyone in between). Make sure you wander around the site to see the various circus performers, drummers, vendors and medieval warriors. It’s a bit of a trip.
When hunger calls, head a few blocks east of the mountain to Santropol Restaurant for delish mile-high sandwiches and a charming terrasse. Or wander to Saint-Laurent Boulevard where you can wrap your lips around Montréal’s famous smoked meat at Schwartz’sdeli.