Welcome to Les amis' newsletter - July 2009

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Les amis’ monthly public forum is taking a summer holiday break, but will return on Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Watch your August newsletter for the invitation.

Residential project on the former site of the Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary
Close to 60 presentations were made during the public hearings this spring on the project proposed for the former site of the Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary. According to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), the commissioners’ report should be made public in early August, in the midst of the summer vacation season.
You may visit the OCPM’s website to consult the position papers and presentations or click here to review press clippings on the subject.
Les amis de la montagne consider the project presented by Development CATO Inc. unacceptable because it does not respect this exceptional site, an integral part of the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District. The project does not respect the historic, landscape and social values, or the interests of the community, at the level both expected and acceptable for this site.
This residential development project, the first project put forward since the adoption of the Mount Royal Protection and Enhancement Plan by the executive committee of the city of Montreal on April 29, 2009, will serve as the reference point and set the precedent for all future development projects within the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District.
To attain a level of acceptability, the project needs to be reviewed in depth along three criteria:
  1. A limit to development within the existing built footprint of the site;
  2. Re-use of the main building only;
  3. Complete protection of green spaces on the site.
This site is of too great importance for the mountain and for future projects to not undergo a rigorous planning process in line with the governmental decree and the Mount Royal Protection and Enhancement Plan.
Spotlight on Smith House: Continuité salutes the 150th anniversary of this historic domain
To mark the 150th anniversary of Smith House last year, the magazine Continuité dedicated its “favourites” section to “La maison du mont Royal” in its summer 2009 edition.
In an article written by Dinu Bumbaru, policy director of Héritage Montréal and Sylvie Guilbault, executive director of Les amis de la montagne, the authors recount how the numerous vocations of Smith House have reflected the era of its occupants through time, as well as the evolution of Mount Royal Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Continuité, a publication associated with the Conseil des monuments et sites du Québec, is the only French-language magazine devoted to heritage. You may purchase a copy of the summer edition of the magazine at the Smith House nature-boutique.
TD Green Sunday: 800 trees are planted on Mount Royal
Photo: Karine Gagné
For a fourth consecutive year, nearly 300 TD Bank Financial Group employees and their families reunited on Mount Royal on June 7th to join Les amis de la montagne in planting 800 trees and shrubs and to cut down alien invasive species. These activities were conducted in support of an initiative to protect and enhance Mount Royal’s biodiversity.
Les amis de la montagne extends its thanks to the TD Bank Financial Group and the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation whose participation has allowed the planting of more than 2,200 trees and shrubs in Mount Royal Park since 2006.
Les amis de la montagne participate in the publication of Montreal’s Geotourism MapGuide
Les amis de la montagne were proud to participate in the launch of the Montreal Geotourism MapGuide at Montreal City Hall on June 15th last. This map was produced by the National Geographic Society in collaboration with numerous groups and associations, as well as with the participation of Montrealers.
The first urban Geotourism MapGuide in the world, the publication covers the island of Montreal and showcases over 100 natural, cultural and historic attractions, including, of course, Mount Royal. The concept of geotourism promotes the geographic character of a destination, including its environment, culture, aesthetic appeal, heritage and the well-being of its inhabitants.
Published in French and in English at an initial print run of 130,000, the print version of the Geotourism MapGuide is available at Smith House. An electronic version is also available.
The mountain beltway: construction begins on two sections
The Ville de Montréal announced the start of construction on two sections of the new Mount Royal beltway beginning June 22nd last, the latest step in the creation of a path measuring more than 10 km on the western and northern flanks of Mount Royal, resulting in a circular pedestrian and bicycle route around the mountain.
This beltway will extend the Olmsted Road experience, located in Mount Royal Park. Once completed, the beltway will connect the main summit in Mount Royal Park to the Outremont summit, joining the Olmsted Road along Avenue du Parc.
For information regarding the construction project, citizens may call the city’s “Info-Travaux” hotline at 514 872-3777 or visit the city’s website.
The aquatic plant life of Beaver Lake
Those who frequent the Beaver Lake sector of Mount Royal Park will have noticed the proliferation of aquatic plants in this artificial lake that develop with remarkable speed. Not only do these aquatic plants threaten the beauty of the area’s landscape, but they also disturb the functioning of the pedal boats, a choice family activity in this sector of the park.
Unfortunately, these alien species are difficult to control. The Eurasian Watermilfoil (L. Myriophyllum spicatum) is a submersed plant that takes root in aquatic plant beds and grows towards the surface where it branches out in abundance to form a thick carpet. The Common Reed (L. Phragmites australis) is a plant with thick underground stems that contain buds and roots. The elimination of either species is an enormous challenge and a variety of methods (chemical, mechanical, physical and biological) have been tested elsewhere to eliminate these plants, but with mitigated success. Once an alien species is establisted in an area, like the Eurasian Watermilfoil, its eradication where it takes root is next to impossible.
In collaboration with the Ville de Montréal, Les amis de la montagne are looking for a solution to remove this plant proliferation from the lake for at least the summer season when growth is at its peak.
Les amis de la montagne participate in a project to support Mount Royal’s biodiversity for a 2nd year
For a second consecutive year, Les amis de la montagne are collaborating on a project to restore and develop our urban biodiversity on Mount Royal.
This project targets the protection, conservation and enhancement of the mountain’s natural environment, as part of the “Valorisation Jeunesse – Place à la relève” program, which was put in place to help visible minority youth whose academic performance makes them candidates to enter the work force.
Launch of the project to support Mount Royal's biodiversity in the presence of Helen Fotopulos, member of the Executive Committee of the Ville de Montréal, responsible for Mount Royal Park, nature parks, nature museums and the status of women, and Anne-Marie Prud'homme, of the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l'environnement (far right, under the black umbrella). 
In total, 10 young people accompanied by a biologist team-leader will carry out a number of tasks on the properties of St-Joseph’s Oratory, the Université de Montréal and Collège Brébeuf. The Ile-de-la-Visitation and Bois-de-Liesse nature parks are other sites also involved in this program.
The project operations, made possible by financial contributions from the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement, the Valorisation Jeunesse program (by agreement between the Ville de Montréal, the Ministère des Affaires municipals, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire and the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles du Québec), the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, Emploi d’été Canada and the C-Vert program of the Stephen R. Bronfman Foundation, will be overseen by Les amis de la montagne. The Société de verdissement du Montréal métropolitain (Soverdi) will provide the plants.
Summer activities of the conservation patrol
The activities of the Mount Royal Conservation Patrol begin again this summer. Ground patrols will be conducted over the entire territory of Mount Royal Park and a series of awareness-raising campaigns on specific challenges will be held through August 22.
The patrollers are mandated to raise awareness of and distribute information to citizens and visitors to Mount Royal Park relative to existing municipal by-laws. In the context of prevention, the patrollers will stroll along the mountain's trails in order to sensitize visitors to the impact on the surroundings of a number of activities such as feeding wild animals, walking your dog without a leash, walking or cycling off-trail and exceeding the speed limit on your bicycle along Olmsted Road.
Also, the patrollers will oversee the environmental stewardship program this summer, a program that involves the community in indigenous tree-planting activities and the cutting of alien invasive species on the mountain.
September 26: Mount Royal plays host to the "Festival de la marche"
The Fédération québécoise de la marche, Les amis de la montagne and five walking clubs from Montreal are joining forces to organize the 12th edition of the Festival de la marche to be held on September 26, 2009, on Mount Royal.
Photo: Andrew Dobrowolsky
Open to walkers and hikers of all levels, this edition will provide participants with the opportunity to discover the many attractions and lesser-known treasures of Mount Royal Park and its environs and to explore the many trails specially designed for this occasion, all through the practice of a healthy and stimulating activity in good company.
At least 1,000 walkers from all corners of Quebec are expected to participate.
For more information or to register, visit the festival website.
Discover Mount Royal by guided podcast
With a multimedia player in hand, explore the summit loop in Mount Royal Park while listening to and watching a series of short vignettes that help you better appreciate the site. Download the podcasts for free at lemontroyal.qc.ca or rent a multimedia player at Smith House during opening hours. Rental: $5 (photo ID required). Approximate length of the tour: 90 minutes but adaptable to your own pace.
Enjoy summertime on the mountain
Walking through the forest. Observing the flora and the fauna. Taking a nap under the shade of a tree. Mount Royal offers all of these activities and more – at no charge and in the heart of the city, a location waiting to be discovered again and again.
The mountain boasts a rich and diversified historic and natural heritage. Its famous park is an oasis of green space and tranquility, while the many institutions located on its flanks possess an abundance of heritage treasures more fascinating than the next.
We invite you to visit our welcome service at Smith House for information on the many activities and services available on Mount Royal this summer.
Consider making a monthly contribution to Les amis de la montagne
Monthly giving is one of the most manageable and effective ways you can support efforts to protect Mount Royal. Your pre-authorized gift is automatically debited from your Visa or MasterCard credit card each month. It's convenient for you and provides Les amis with a steady, reliable source of funding. You may change or cancel your pledge at any time and an income tax receipt for the total of your contribution will be mailed to you at the end of the calendar year. For more information, contact Anna Coscia at 514 843-8240 ext. 239.

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