Mount Royal (Mont Royal), a 764-foot (233-meter) “mountain” in the midst of urban Montreal, is much-loved by locals and visitors alike, with Montrealers frequenting the leafy slopes as if the area were their own backyard. Cyclists, joggers, sunbathers, picnickers, and strollers abound in summer, while snowshoers, tobogganers, ice skaters, and cross-country skiers dominate in winter. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted—the creative force behind New York City’s Central Park—the 470-acre (190-hectare) Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal) encompasses forest trails, manmade monuments, and grassy meadows for picnicking. On a clear day, the views from the Mount Royal summit lookout can’t be beaten.
A stop at Mount Royal Park is commonly included on Montreal sightseeing tours and on hop-on hop-off bus tours, but the site can also be explored thoroughly on a midday stroll, picnic lunch, or as part of guided nighttime tours. E-bike (electric bike) and walking tours are popular options no matter the season, and in winter, travelers can traverse the snowy terrain and try ice skating, snowshoeing, or tubing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear sturdy walking shoes, as some of the paths in the park are narrow and uneven.
- Montreal can be extremely cold during winter; a hat, gloves, scarf, winter boots and an appropriate winter coat are a must if you visit during this period.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and make use of the fountains dotted around the park.
How to Get There
Mont Royal is located in the Ville-Marie borough of Montreal. Ride the 80, 435, or 129 bus to the Sir George Etienne Cartier Monument and make the 30-minute uphill walk to the top. To avoid the trek, take the 11 bus from Mont-Royal metro station to Lac aux Castors (Beaver Lake) and walk from there.
When to Get There
Mont Royal is a four-season attraction, providing you are properly prepared; be sure to wrap up warmly during winter. On summer Sundays, the park hosts what are known as Tam Tams, informal festival-like gatherings with a drum circle and dancing. Fall is perhaps the most scenic time to visit, as the park’s maple and oak trees turn lovely shades of red, orange, and gold.
Top Things to See at Mount Royal
Mont Royal has several must-see spots, most notably the 1932 stone Chalet du Mont-Royal and the adjacent Kondiaronk Lookout. Not far from here are the landmark Mount Royal Cross, which is illuminated at night, and Beaver Lake (Lac des Castors), which serves as an ice-skating rink in winter. If you want more information about the park, the mid-19th-century Smith House (Maison Smith) has displays on the park’s habitats and wildlife. The eastern lookout, Observatoire de l’Est, affords another perspective across the city.