Welcome to Les amis' newsletter - January 2011

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The team at Les amis de la montagne wishes you a New Year of health and happiness, with many outings and discoveries to be enjoyed with family and friends on Mount Royal throughout 2011!

Photo: Samuel Montigné

The United Nations has proclaimed 2011 the International Year of Forests in order to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

Since 1998, Les amis de la montagne have been committed to a series of environmental activities and educational programs to raise awareness about the importance of Mount Royal’s natural environment. We will pursue these activities again with great enthusiasm this year and count upon your continued commitment in joining us in carrying out our successful conservation programs.

Again, we wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to meeting you along the paths and trails of Mount Royal’s forests.







Take up the challenge of the 14th Tuques Bleues Celebration and Snowshoe Event on February 17

Photo : Tzara Maud

The 14th edition of the Tuques Bleues Celebration and Snowshoe Event is rapidly approaching! Under the honorary co-chairmanship of Cyril Bendahan, Vice President, Group Benefits, Quebec Region, Manulife Financial and Michel Leblanc, President and CEO, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, hundreds of participants will gather on Thursday, February 17th, to ascend Mount Royal in snowshoes in support of Les amis de la montagne’s signature fundraising event.

Read more ...


The MUHC properties on the mountain make headlines

On December 17, 2010, The Gazette published an article titled, “Heirs want say on Royal Vic site” that describes the efforts made by one of the descendants of the founders of the Royal Victoria Hospital to prevent the sale of the property located on the southern flank of Mount Royal to private developers.

In reaction to this article, Les amis de la montagne and Héritage Montréal sent a letter on December 24th, 2010, to The Gazette that was published on January 6th, 2011, stating that the Royal Victoria Hospital is more than a simple property, but a collection of heritage elements that provides access to the mountain and that should continue to serve the public interest in its reuse strategy.

Read the full story by clicking here.



Get ready to participate in the 2nd edition of Les amis de la montagne’s photo contest, "La montagne en images"

Photo: Karine Gagné

During your outings on Mount Royal this winter, don’t forget to bring your camera! Capture the beauty of the mountain’s natural environment and the activities practiced on its snow-covered peaks and trails this season. Hold on to your favourite snapshots in order to submit them to us this spring, as part of the official launch of the 2nd annual photo contest during Mount Royal Month in May, 2011.

A variety of prizes will be offered once again and the best photos will be available for viewing on Les amis’ website. Several photographs depicting the mountain’s heritage assets might also be selected to be published in Les amis’ annual activity report. Click here to see the 2010 edition. Moreover, the contest-winning photographs will be exposed at Smith House in the fall of 2011.

Click here to see the slideshow of winning photographs from the first annual “La montagne en images” photo contest.



Attention families: get moving on the mountain this winter!

Photo: Jean-Michel Villanove

You don’t have to travel far from the city this winter to practice your favourite outdoor activities. Mount Royal offers the perfect natural setting in the heart of Montreal!

Join Les amis de la montagne for a dynamic and fun family outing that combines a guided walk on snowshoes through the mountain forest, followed by inner-tubing.

This new family package is being offered every Saturday afternoon until March 5, 2011, and daily during Spring Break, from February 28 to March 5, 2011. Departure is from Smith House at 1:30 p.m. and the activity is for children 8 years and older.

To reserve your outing or for more details, click here.

For a more Zen-like family outing, join a member of Les amis’ conservation patrol for a guided walk of our bird-feeders to discover the mountain’s winter bird species. This activity is being offered every Saturday until March 12, 2011, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. No reservations are required. Simply arrive at Smith House no later than 1 p.m.

On your own or with a group, enjoy the pleasures of winter on Mount Royal

Photo: Samuel Montigné

The guided snowshoe walk, By the light of the city, will  be held every Saturday evening until March 12, 2011, at a cost of $15 per person (12 years and over) including snowshoes, animation and hot chocolate. And for an original outing with your sweetheart, participate in our Valentine’s special on Saturday, February 12, 2011, at a cost of $22 per person, including snowshoes, animation, mulled wine and chocolate. Departure from Smith House at 6 p.m. Reservations required: 514 843-8240, ext. 0.



Mount Royal: a winter sports haven from the very start!

Historic post card from Les amis de la montagne's collection

Even though new arrivals to the country had the rigours of winter to contend with, historians report that as early as 1669, colonists took up skating in Ville-Marie. They also adopted certain customs and practices of the native populations, such as the native attire.

In fact, these early Europeans began wearing “bonnets” to protect their head from the cold. The inhabitants of the colony were eventually attributed the nickname “blue bonnets” since the majority seemed to wear toques of this colour.

Among the customs borrowed from the native populations, the colonists began to practice tobogganing, lacrosse and snowshoeing, the latter of which became a favourite winter pastime on Mount Royal.

By the mid-19th Century, the mountain had already become a major tourist attraction where Montrealers escaped the ills of a rapidly developing city to practice their favourite sports. In 1840, a group of men created a snowshoe club. In reference to their “blue bonnets”, they quickly became known as the “Tuques Bleues” by the French-speaking population. Other clubs would be created and snowshoe competitions began to be organized.

The Tuques Bleues and other sporting clubs joined to found the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in 1881 with the mission to promote a variety of activities such as lacrosse, cycling, snowshoeing, hockey and fencing, to name just several. In 1893, the Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley de Preston, offered a trophy to the team that won the hockey championships. The MAAA was the first club to win the Stanley Cup!

Today, as in the past, Montrealers regard Mount Royal as their favourite destination for recreation or relaxation, in every season.

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