Welcome to Les amis' newsletter - April 2012
2012-04-05

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Photo: Samuel Montigné

Enjoy a breath of fresh air on the mountain this long Easter weekend - picnic, relax, play - and don't forget to stop by Maison Smith to see the new permanent exhibition!


NEWS


“MAY 2012: MONT ROYAL MONTH”


ACTIVITIES


TAKE ACTION


NEWS

THE CLIFTON PROJECT 10 YEARS LATER AND THE ECOLOGICAL CONNECTIVITY OF MONT ROYAL


Thanks to a partnership with the City of Westmount and the EJLB Foundation towards the end of 2001 and early 2002, Les amis de la montagne made a significant gesture in expanding Mont Royal’s green space. The organization acquired the Clifton Apartments in order to have it demolished, an abandoned and dilapidated building located on Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges facing the Chemin Remembrance interchange. The site was renaturalized by the City of Westmount and zoned as park space to prevent any future construction on the site.

 

While the Clifton project of 2001 may have largely been symbolic, this intervention gave way to wide-ranging environmental stewardship programs with the goal of maintaining Mont Royal’s biodiversity and forest health.

Many studies of the mountain’s ecological environment conducted since the governmental decree in 2005 have contributed to a greater understanding of the physical “connectivity” of one natural space to another, which has influenced the way we now manage the mountain’s natural environment. Together with the cities of Montréal and Westmount, as well as with scientists, schools and the general public, Les amis de la montagne lead a variety of activities such as planting indigenous species, cutting alien invasive species, and providing education and awareness-raising programs, all in support of the conservation and improvement of the mountain’s biodiversity.

Members of the Table de concertation du Mont-Royal, which gathers representatives from government, the municipalities, institutions and associations related to the mountain, are likewise called upon to respond to the management challenges regarding the preservation of Mont Royal’s ecological heritage. The great institutional properties on the mountain are closely “connected” to the green space of Mont-Royal Park and play an essential role in the management, planning and development of the territory.

 

Photos: Andrew Dobrowolskyj

But over and above its environmental value, Mont Royal also has an inestimable cultural, social and economic value. As the geographic heart of the metropolitan region, Mont Royal is historically the first of the Monteregians, to which Montreal, the Montérégie and the Montérégiennes owe their name.

As part of the recent consultations on the Plan d’aménagement et de développement de Montréal (PMAD), Les amis de la montagne asked, among other items, that the plan favour the creation of a network of parks of regional interest, integrated into a coherent whole of protected spaces. The organization also asked that the plan promote the creation of greenbelts and “blue belts” that might connect the territorial attributes of the greater metropolitan region to include natural and human landscapes, and built heritage.

Fortunately, the Quebec government officially adopted the PMAD on March 12th last and investments have been earmarked in the 2012-2013 budget for the creation of greenbelts around the province’s major cities. Good news that reinforces the ecological connectivity of our urban landscape.


BEAVER LAKE WILL BE RESTORED

The project to restore Beaver Lake and its surrounding area has come closer to reality with the Ville de Montreal’s launch of the call for tender process on March 21st last.

Photo: Samuel Montigné

In July 2011, the city announced its intention to restore the lake’s rustic character while improving the quality of the water. The work will include the reconstruction of the surrounding stone wall and the waterfall, the improvement of water circulation and the elimination of undesirable plants. The reconfiguration of the pathway around the lake and other pathways in the vicinity is included in the project, together with the addition of new park furniture and ambient lighting.

The work will be conducted in two phases beginning in June 2012 with the lake first, followed in April 2013 with the pathways and surrounding area. Pedal boat rentals this summer will therefore be on hold for the duration of the project. But we’ll be back in the summer of 2013 with some new surprises!

The Beaver Lake restoration is the last in a series of projects undertaken in this sector of Mont-Royal Park. The renovation of the Beaver Lake pavilion and construction of the artificial skating rink was realized in 2005-2006 thanks to a $2 million donation to Les amis de la montagne from Power Corporation of Canada, which inspired the restoration of the “La Salamandre” children’s playground in 2008-2009.


THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON URBAN AGRICULTURE IS ANNOUNCED

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) announced the consultation process that will examine the state of urban agriculture in Montreal. An exhibition on urban agriculture will be held on May 12, followed by a conference on May 17, together with consultations in different parts of the city from June 11-14. The deadline to receive position papers is June 14 and presentations will begin on June 18.

This consultation is the first to be held as a result of citizen initiative as provided for in the Charte Montréalaise des Droits et Responsabilités. More than 29,000 signatures were collected on a petition asking the city to hold a consultation on the state of urban agriculture in Montreal.

Click here for details on the website of the OCPM.



“MAY 2012: MONT ROYAL MONTH”

Mont Royal Month is a month of activities dedicated to the discovery and conservation of the natural environment and the exploration of the many facets of the mountain. An original idea of Les amis de la montagne, activities are organized in partnership with the Ville de Montréal and are made possible thanks to the generosity of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, as well as other partners and collaborators.

May 2012 will be dedicated in part, to the theme of cohabitation between humans and fauna in an urban environment.  



IS COHABITATION WITH WILDLIFE IN THE CITY POSSIBLE?

There has been much discussion over the importance of conserving Montreal’s biodiversity and recently, measures were announced in favour of maintaining a greenbelt and greater connectivity between natural spaces, such as Mont Royal.

But are we prepared to coexist in harmony with this biodiversity?

Urban development over the last several decades has led to the disappearance of numerous habitats and animal species. However, some animal species have managed to take advantage of the shelter and the food sources the city provides. The population explosion of certain species in certain areas of the city has created tension between the fauna and citizens. Some species damage buildings and landscapes, while others are the sources of dangerous diseases for humans. Conversely, food provided to animals by citizens is not always the healthiest choice and vehicular traffic is responsible for the death of many animals.

Finally, certain species proliferate at the expense of other, less opportunistic species, creating an imbalance in the entire ecosystem that affects biodiversity on a medium term basis.

To live harmoniously with fauna in an urban setting, we humans must adopt better practices regarding the management of possible food sources (such as trash bins, etc.) and change our own behaviour.

Watch for the complete calendar of “May 2012: Mont Royal Month” activities to learn more about the cohabitation challenges of humans and animals in an urban environment.


THE CORVÉE CLEAN-UP, CONFERENCES AND GUIDED WALKS: THE MONTH-LONG CALENDAR OF EVENTS OFFERS A VAST SELECTION OF CONSERVATION AND DISCOVERY ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES

The month of May is almost here! The complete calendar of “May 2012: Mont Royal Month” events will soon be unveiled, offering all members of the community another occasion to celebrate the beauty and natural riches of the mountain.

 

Photos: Tzara Maud

Like every year, the Corvée du Mont-Royal clean-up will kick-off the conservation activities on the first Sunday of the month, May 6, rain or shine! For the 21st edition of this springtime tradition, we invite our fellow citizens to help remove litter from the forest floor and to plant indigenous trees. In the afternoon, animation for the general public will feature the cohabitation challenges of humans and animals in an urban environment, one of the main themes of May 2012.
For nature lovers, the arrival of nesting and migrating birds will be the key feature of a variety of activities. Closer to the ground, you can literally get your hands dirty by participating in the Environmental Stewardship Program, beginning on the day of the Corvée clean-up, while also developing your conservation know-how.

Put aside some time in May to participate in Mont Royal Month activities! Full information will soon be posted on Les amis’ Facebook fanpage, so stay connected!



ACTIVITIES

SUMMER DAY CAMP IN MONT-ROYAL PARK: SPACES ARE FILLING QUICKLY!


Les amis de la montagne, in collaboration with the Ville de Montréal, are thrilled that their 2012 summer day camp on Mont Royal will be offered to children from 6-8 years-old, with a brand new program offered to children 9-11 years-old.

This summer, a variety of amusing themes will be offered at the same cost per week as last year’s camp: $165 with the Accès Montréal card and $190 without the card. For children 6-8 years, “Il était une fois le mont Royal” and “Les Konétouts” will alternate from June 25 to August 17, and for children 9-11 years, “Le défi du mont Royal” and “L’Odyssée de la montagne” will alternate from July 9 to August 3.

To register your child, visit the “Outdoor activities” section of Les amis’ website. Hurry, places are limited and certain weeks are filling up quickly!


WHAT’S NEW AT THE MAISON SMITH NATURE BOUTIQUE AND CAFÉ DES AMIS

Les amis de la montagne’s nature-boutique recently underwent a springtime makeover, making room for a variety of new features in this bustling hub of Maison Smith! We provide many products and services to enrich and facilitate your visit on the mountain.

Photo: Samuel Montigné

A brand-new reception counter with new presentation cases display a fine selection of goods for all tastes: photography books, guidebooks and others, original jewelry, t-shirts and seasonal clothing, and stuffed toys, games and books for Mont Royal’s mini-adventurers!

This spring, the Café des Amis will welcome you once again on the refurbished terrace, outfitted with new furnishings. Relax under the shade of the 50-something year-old Maple tree for your next snack or midday meal: sandwiches and salads, hot and cold beverages, beer and wine, as well as a selection of sweet treats, and new this summer, soft ice cream.

Revenues from Les amis de la montagne’s services are reinvested in the activities offered in the park and promote the appreciation and conservation of the site.



TAKE ACTION

THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR …

“That’s what FRIENDS are for … Les amis de la montagne contribute to making Mont Royal accessible and to improving services in the park.”


Next month, we’ll be launching our new annual fundraising campaign. This year-end is coming to a close! If you haven’t made your donation yet, please consider doing so now. We thank all our donors for their support throughout the year.

2012 will mark our 26th year and we are proud of our many accomplishments. Your support is at the heart of our pride. Please be generous once again and encourage your friends, colleagues and family to join you in making a gift today.
 

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