The Ice Storm: Mount Royal 15 years after!

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All Quebecers remember it. That ice storm that indelibly marked the history of Quebec. Mount Royal was not spared. During that time we devoted a special newsletter explaining the impact on the mountain’s forest as well as interventions and research undertaken.

Since the ice storm, thanks to generous donors and financial partners as well as thousands of volunteers, Les amis de la montagne have given a helping hand to the forest by replanting more than 17,000 trees and bushes on Mount Royal.

Impact on the forest: the arrival of invasive species…

Our field studies and interventions have revealed that openings in the forest caused by felling trees following the ice storm have fostered the growth of numerous invasive species, especially common buckthorn.

In 2003, Les amis set up a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of cutting buckthorn stems to control this species. In recent years, field activities were carried out in collaboration with the Ville de Montréal in Mont-Royal Park and on property of institutional land owners on the mountain to try to eradicate this invasive species. The work is colossal.

…and new habitats for urban wildlife

The ice storm may also have played a favourable role for several species of birds and mammals that find shelter in the cavities created by broken tree branches. These same branches have also allowed borer insects to multiply providing an abundance of food for woodpeckers that are observed much more frequently in the park since the ice storm.

Sustained stewardship efforts

The ice storm has permitted us to look more closely at the forest dynamics and thus better understand its evolution. However, it remains that the forest of Mount Royal will continually be faced with new disruptions, whether global warming, the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer or damage caused by too much human pressure on the natural environment.

We must remain vigilant and continue actions to maintain the richness of this mature forest in the heart of the city. And one of the ways to help is to participate in the Environmental Stewardship Program of which the next event is Sunday, May 5, 2013 on the occasion of the 22nd Corvée du Mont-Royal!

Text by Sylvie Guilbault and Éric Richard


Winter on the mountain 150 years ago

The historic charm of Maison Smith is the perfect backdrop for visitors of all ages to take a plunge back in time with Les amis de la montagne and relive the wintertime traditions of the 19th Century.

For all the details, please check our Calendar of Events.


Exhibition of historical photographs
Did you know that Mount Royal hosted the first Ski Championship in Canada and the first Ski Club in North America? Come see the exhibition and discover the fascinating history of winter sports on Mount Royal in a series of illustrations and photographs. Free admission, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

© Musée de la civilisation, don de la famille Roger Couillard, photographe Nicola-Frank Vachon - Perspective, 2007-543

Animal tracks in winter
Participate in a discussion with an environmental educator before heading out for an observation walk in Mont-Royal Park. Free admission. Saturday, January 12 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guided snowshoe walks "By the light of the city"
Every Saturday night, from January 5 to March 9. Animation, snowshoeing and hot chocolate on the mountain trails. Departure from Maison Smith at 6:15 p.m. Reservations required at 514 843-8240, ext. 0 ($17)
Les Amis’ 5 à soupe
Before heading out for a hike or just to take a break, the Café des Amis at Maison Smith offers a special snowshoers’ meal-in-a-soup in a warm atmosphere every Saturday, from January 5 to March 9, until 6:30 p.m.


Demonstration of sash weaving

  • Saturday, January 19, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission.
Quebec traditional dance evening - Reserve soon, places are limited!
Come and dance at Maison Smith to the rythms of the traditional group Danse Cadence. The Café des Amis will greet you during the night to have a drink or share a meal.

Demonstration of snowshoe making

Winter tales and the fantastic story of Mont Royal

At Maison Smith, seek inspiration from the traditional storyteller Daniel Boiteau before participating in a creative workshop involving shadow theatre. Free admission.

Sliding, skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
Find all the equipment needed at Les amis de la montagne’s rental counter in the Lac aux Castors pavilion. Opening hours and fees.

Download the Trail map of Ville de Montreal ((Cross-country ski trails 22 km / Snowshoe marked trail 3 km / Walk trail - Chemin Olmsted 8,3 km)

To find out about conditions related to outdoor activities, please call us at 514 843-8240, ext. 0 or phone the Ville de Montréal at 514 280-8989, ext. 3

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