May 2011: Mont Royal Month

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Photos: Tzara Maud



“11,225 people can move mountains. We extend thanks 11,225 times to all our volunteers of the past 20 years!”

“14,369 trees planted over 20 years. Will you be the one to plant the 14, 370th?”

“Give the mountain a gift: fill your garbage bag to its limit. 4,800 garbage bags have been collected over 20 years!”


Close to 600 Montrealers participated in the Corvée du Mont-Royal clean-up on Sunday, May 1st, under the radiant sunshine of a glorious spring day! The clean-up event has now drawn more than 11,800 members of the community to this vast awareness-raising operation and hands-on activity to help conserve the natural environment of Mont-Royal Park, also creating a springtime tradition for Montreal.

Alan DeSousa, vice president of the executive committee of the Ville de Montréal, responsible for sustainable development, the environment and parks, together with Richard Deschamps, vice president of the executive committee of the Ville de Montréal, responsible for major projects, economic development, infrastructure, roads and services to citizens, joined Amélie Picher, Quebec regional director of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Sylvie Guilbault, executive director of Les amis de la montagne, to signal the start of the environmental activities.

Thanks to tremendous community participation, the event boasted record results:






The afternoon was dedicated to activities for the whole family organized to celebrate the renewal of spring and to underline the International Year of Forests. Information stands by a variety of environment groups were present at the Chalet, including Centre environnemental Tournesol, Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, Mycoboutique, Production Agricole Urbaine Soutenable et Écologique, Secrétariat de la Convention sur la diversité biologique, Sentier Urbain and Action-RE-buts. Participants enjoyed a slice of delicious cake decorated along the theme of the International Year of Forests, prepared specially by pastry students of the École Calixa-Lavallée.

Les amis de la montagne distributed indigenous plants to the public, provided free of charge by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune. Les amis also provided a family-friendly rally on the discovery of the mountain’s biodiversity to underline the International Year of Forests.

Finally, the African percussion group Samajam, provided entertainment to visitors at the Chalet.

The Corvée du Mont-Royal was organized by Les amis de la montagne in collaboration with the Ville de Montréal. The clean-up signals the start of “May 2011: Mont Royal Month”, an initiative that provides Montrealers with the opportunity to (re)discover their mountain. Les amis de la montagne thank the Ville de Montréal for its important technical and logistical support in the coordination of activities, as well as the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation as principal partner of the month. The activities are also made possible thanks to the participation of Groupe Yellow Inc., AbitibiBowater, Fontaine Santé, Thés David, STM, Rock Détente, Virgin Radio 96, La Presse, The Gazette and many collaborators and volunteers.


The first mountain clean-up was organized in 1999. Participants had their work cut out for them, because the forest floor had not been cleaned for decades.

Of course, the Ville de Montréal maintenance crews had regularly cleaned the landscaped and grass-covered areas of the park. But many surprises awaited the volunteers in the undergrowth of the forest. They discovered large objects such as tires, household appliances, park benches and street signs. An exhibit of unusual found objects was even displayed at the end of each cleanup!

Over the last decade, the cleanliness of the park has greatly improved to the point where other environmental activities have been added, always with the objective of taking care of the mountain. In the past, wild parsley has been removed, an invasive plant that interferes with the growth of young saplings and wood chips have been spread in areas of the park where the vegetation had been particularly disturbed, in order to restore the damaged soil.

I plant, you plant, we plant
During the 5th mountain clean-up in 1994, participants had their first opportunity to plant trees. Today, tree plantings aim to complete efforts undertaken by the Ville de Montréal to create ecological corridors linking Mont Royal’s various wooded areas.

After the ice storm
In January 1998, a severe ice storm swept through southern Quebec. Mont Royal was seriously affected and at least 80% of its trees were damaged, leaving an enormous quantity of branches on the ground.

With the high volume of visitors to the park in the summer season, the branches had to be picked up to lessen the risk of accidents and forest fires. In the spring of 1998, almost 1000 people rolled up their sleeves to gather the fallen debris during two separate clean-ups, one organized with school groups and the other, with the general public.

Spring-time festivities
A festive spirit has often been associated with collective efforts to help families or communities in need. Recreating this festive spirit of mutual assistance for the Mont Royal clean-up was equally important. And as the event takes place in the spring, it was also completely natural to celebrate the return of milder temperatures on Mont Royal.

To this end, in addition to the volunteer activities of picking up litter and planting trees, other activities for all park visitors have been added to the program of the day: information stands, musicians, buskers, educational and recreational activities.

Saying thank-you to Mont Royal!
The mountain contributes greatly to the quality of life of all Montrealers. Participating in the Mont Royal clean-up is one way to say thank you!

Source: Sur la montagne newsletter/Les amis de la montagne



Note: unless otherwise indicated, activities are presented in French.


On May 11th, as part of the Belles Soirées de l’Université de Montréal, Les amis de la montagne will present a conference on Birds, the wonders of adaptation, followed on May 14th by a guided walk on ornithology in Mont-Royal Park.

On May 12th, Les amis de la montagne will provide a guided walk on Public Art in Mont-Royal Park.

Finally, on May 19th, a conference titled, The McTavish Monument: A funerary site and former reservoir rediscovered, will be presented by an archaeologist and an historian from the Ville de Montréal at the McCord Musuem.


Les amis de la montagne launch the 2nd annual photo contest “La montagne en images” on a new set of themes including trees and the forest, light, works of art and buildings, activities, pastimes and mountain fauna. Please click here for the complete contest rules and registration (in French).

The presentation of the documentary “Visionnaires planétaires” produced by Les Productions du Rapide Blanc and the Office national du film du Canada will be held May 6th as part of the 24 heures du science. This documentary follows a young Quebec activist on his travels in search of visionaries who propose strategies and concrete solutions for the future of our planet. The director of the documentary, Sylvie Van Brabant, will be present to talk with participants.

The exhibit Diary of Discoveries and “Give Peace a Chance” continues to May 10th, a project to present the viewpoints and expressions of young people related to works of art in the city, in particular, the sculpture “Give Peace a Chance” in Mont-Royal Park.


On May 24th, the celebrate the 135th anniversary of Mont-Royal Park, Montrealers are invited to view a series of short documentary films produced by the ONF that were filmed on the mountain in the past, as well as excerpts from Sacrée Montagne, the interactive web documentary produced by the ONF in 2010. Birthday cake will be served on this special anniversary occasion – while quantities last!

Also on May 24th, Les amis de la montagne and the Ville de Montréal will award the 7th Prix du Mont-Royal to an individual, who through their vision and commitment towards the protection and enhancement of the mountain’s historic and natural heritage, are an inspiration to all Montrealers and Quebecers.


On May 9th, the public forum takes to the southern flank of the mountain for a guided walk to reflect upon “Accessibility to Mont Royal: the physical, the immaterial and the ephemeral”.

“Belvédère Éphémère” is a special project that will be presented May 14 and 15 (postponed to May 28 and 29 in case of rain). The project is an artistic, ephemeral intervention that is both playful and festive located on a site that borders an entrance to Mont-Royal Park, and aims to question the accessibility of the southern flank of the mountain. Ten teams of up-and-coming artists and designers will create works of public art directly on-site related to a lookout theme that reinterprets the language commonly associated with urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture.


Eight great mountain institutions have included their activities in the calendar of Mont Royal Month activities for a third consecutive year: Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mont-Royal, Cimetière Mont-Royal, Cavalerie du SPVM, McCord Museum, Redpath Museum, Université de Montréal (Les Belles Soirées) and McGill University.

Keep track of the calendar of May activities on Les amis de la montagne’s Facebook page at or website at

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