Mount Royal, A Territory to Discover

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The Summit of Mount Royal: 233 m above sea level

The summit of Mount Royal is the highest and most well known of the three summits of the mountain. The boroughs of Ville-Marie, Plateau Mont-Royal and Outremont intersect its territory. Mount Royal Park is situated on it and many institutions and residences are located on its eastern and southern flanks.

A communications tower is situated at the top of Mount Royal, but it is encircled by trees and so does not offer any viewpoints. However, just below, at the edge of chemin Olmsted, is a small lookout that provides a magnificent panorama of the three summits of the mountain.

How to get there

From Smith House, take chemin Olmsted toward the Chalet, then follow the path behind the Chalet to take the summit circuit, a very easy 45 minute 2-km hike.

The summit of Mount Royal. Chalet and communication antennas

Photo credit
© Ville de Montréal

Questions :

(1) The summit of Mount Royal is more than 500 metres hight.

Answer False

(2) The white communication's antenna marks the summit of Mount Royal.

Answer True

View on Westmount Summit from Mount-Royal Summit
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne's Collection

View on Outremont Summit
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne's Collection


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One mountain, three summits

What is Mount Royal? How old is it?
How was the landscape that you are looking at today formed?

Over one hundred million years ago, magma penetrated the Earth's crust. Blocked underground, it slowly cooled, turning into a very hard rock called gabbro. Thus, there was no volcanic eruption, nor crater, as was long imagined. The long work of erosion uncovered the rocky core buried underground. Then, the passage of the glaciers shaped Mount Royal and its three summits.

The highest summit, Mount Royal summit, rises two hundred and thirty three metres above sea level. It stands just behind you, there, the one with the white antenna on top.
Right in front of you is the Outremont summit, also called Mount Murray. It is two hundred and eleven metres high.
And there, in the west, completely to your left, you can make out the Westmount hill. This two hundred and one metre-high summit is crowned by Summit Park, a bird and wildflower sanctuary.

Mount Royal's exceptional location beside the St-Lawrence River made it a very popular place.

One of the reasons that First Nations peoples’ came here was to quarry hornfels, a rock they used to make tools. The hornfels found on the mountain was highly valued because of its high quality.

Montréal’s continuous growth prompted religious institutions to search for tranquility far from urban activity.

The large depression at the base of the three summits is occupied by two large cemeteries, Mount Royal Cemetery, in front of you, and Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery to its left.

There are now over one million people interred on Mount Royal, making it one of the largest burial grounds in North America.

Since the nineteenth century, the slopes of Mount Royal have been desirable places to build luxurious residences and institutions, giving it a rich architectural heritage.

In front of you, to the left of Mount Murray, is the emblematic Art Deco tower of the Université de Montréal, designed by the architect Ernest Cormier.

To your left, you can see the massive concrete dome of St. Joseph's Oratory, which rises to two hundred and sixty metres, supplanting Mount Royal as the highest point in the city.

Mount Royal… is also a number of wooded areas.
One hundred and forty hectares of forest in Mount Royal Park, seven hectares of woods surrounding the Oratory, twenty hectares in Summit Park.
Above Université de Montréal, fourteen hectares of vegetation typical of the Monteregians.And the Saint John the Baptist Woods are nine hectares of forest crossed by a path that leads to a majestic viewpoint at the top of Mount Murray.

On a clear day, you may be able to see Oka, to the west, or the Laurentians, on the horizon.

Happy discoveries!