July 4, 2011 – Named by Jacques Cartier in 1535, with its iconic cross first erected atop by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve in 1643, and then formally designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1800s (who also designed Central Park), Montréal’s beautiful Mount Royal is an urban jewel that is lived and loved by people of all ages, every day of the week.
From base to peak, you and your friends are bound to find other enthusiasts enjoying some fresh air in Montréal’s lush “backyard”. At the foot of the imposing statue of Sir George‑Étienne Cartier on Parc Avenue, every Sunday of the summer, follow your ears to the hypnotic sounds of the drums, otherwise known as the “tam-tams”, and get caught up in the free-spirited afternoon ambiance, brought to you courtesy of the massive cluster of percussionists, dancers and assorted daytime revelers who take over the lower slopes.
To reach the top of Mount Royal, you can walk the winding gravel road fromthe statue or shortcut through the leafy paths where you’ll have a chance to see some of the mountain’s flora and fauna (there are 180 bird species alone). Strollers and joggers generally make up the summertime scenery, while in winter you’ll come across cross-country skiers, snowshoers and skaters, the latter carving icy loops on Beaver Lake in front of the recently-revamped pavilion.
Make sure to check out the panoramic view of the city from the Belvédère Kondiaronk in front of the historic chalet once you reach the summit. This lookout offers an excellent view of downtown Montréal’s skyscrapers, and, on a clear day, of the Monteregian hills at the city’s outskirts. It’s also a great spot for a group photo op. Click away!
After you and the gang get down to the bottom again, you’ll have earned a drink, hot or cold, depending on the season. Hop on the 80 (Avenue du Parc) bus north or walk to Bernard Street where a thirst-quenching break awaits at L’Assommoir. With a beverage menu that includes 250 cocktails, 30 house cooler varieties, much sought after wines and ports, local and imported beers, and fresh fruity drinks, there is no shortage of appropriate food pairings with bite-size offerings of ceviche, tapas, tartares, and other flavourful dishes to share among friends.
For supper, you should all keep heading north to Van Horne Avenue in the beautiful borough of Outremont. Amidst the excellent selection of restaurants, the Van Horne stands out for its market cuisine. With a bright décor and musical atmosphere serving as a perfect backdrop for tasting delectable creations that vary from season to season, this friendly venue is a fitting place for recharging and relaxing after an exhilarating day.