Welcome to Les amis' newsletter - June 2009
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INVITATION TO THE PUBLIC FORUM
- Wednesday, June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at Smith House
- No more compromises: the campaign to stop the residential project on the former philosophy seminary site continues
- 18th Corvée mountain clean-up: Once again, Montrealers show their attachment to the mountain
- Prix du Mont-Royal awards ceremony: Recipient, Peter Jacobs, with honourable mention to François Odermatt
- Inauguration of the children’s playground, “The Salamander”, for the young and young-at-heart!
- Spring edition of the Three Summits Guided Walking Tour
- Fresh air and dining al fresco – summer’s almost here!
- Make your annual campaign donation to Les amis
INVITATION TO THE PUBLIC FORUM
Your Mount Royal Park
Mount Royal Park is the gem of the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The park is the location of choice for millions of visitors each year. In order to make these visits to the mountain as enriching an experience as possible, the Ville de Montréal has undertaken the restoration of the park’s infrastructures.
The June forum will be the last before the summer hiatus. We welcome Wendy Graham, landscape architect with the Ville de Montréal, who works to improve the quality of the park. Join us to discuss your concerns about the park and means to improve this important site. Topics will include the park’s restoration program, enhancement projects, park signage and the availability of park furnishings.
- Smith House, 1260 Remembrance Road in Mount Royal Park
- 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
No more compromises: the campaign to stop the residential project on the former philosophy seminary site continues
Les amis de la montagne were first to present their position paper at the hearings of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) on the project proposed for the former site of the Sulpicians’ philosophy seminary on May 27 last.
Les amis recently launched a petition addressed to the Minister of Culture and the Mayor of Montreal asking them to reject the project and to stop the consultation process to ensure that the project receives a rigourous evaluation before any decisions are taken on the future of the site.
The proposal to construct residences on this exceptional site coincides with one of the mountain’s most important steps towards achieving true protection in recent history. Never have elected officials at both municipal and provincial levels debated, discussed or confirmed their intentions to protect the mountain to this current extent.
The project for the site of the former philosophy seminary is the first of importance to be presented under the regulations of both the historic and natural district decree and the city’s recently adopted master protection plan. The process, the analysis and the final result of this project will in essence become the test case, or the reference for all subsequent projects on the mountain.
With the stipulations of the decree and the protection plan, we fail to understand the justifications that qualify this project as “receivable” given that the project will include 325 residential units, 17 new buildings and 671 parking spaces on an exceptional historic site that is characterized by the predominance of a main building in the centre of a garden landscape.
The project is not acceptable to Les amis for the following reasons:
- The project does not respect the decree creating the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District in all aspects related to the protection of institutional and historic properties on the mountain, a site that, according to the decree, “deserves protection because it is a unique non-renewable resource and constitutes a site of symbolic significance for Québec";
- The project violates the city’s urban plan and the amendment to the plan, the only regulatory documents that outline the criteria for guiding development on the mountain’s great institutions, which comprise 80% of the properties on Mount Royal;
- The project goes against the spirit and the intentions of the Mount Royal Protection and Enhancement Plan, which clearly expresses the notion of the mountain’s capacity to receive new construction;
- The project has received unfavourable or extremely critical assessments by heritage and urban planning experts hired by the Ville de Montréal to provide counsel to elected officials. These assessments serve also as reference documents available to citizens during the consultation process. These advisory bodies were unanimous in their position about the project’s density, each asking the developer to modify the project.
18th Corvée mountain clean-up, May 10
Photos: © Les amis de la montagne / A. Dobrowolskyj
Under grey skies, more than 300 Montrealers showed their attachment to the mountain by participating in the 18th edition of the Corvée du Mont-Royal clean-up on May 10, giving Mother Nature a hand on Mother’s Day.
Since 1990, this annual springtime tradition has allowed the participation of close to 11,000 individuals to make a concrete gesture for their mountain, including the collection of close to 5,000 bags of garbage and the planting of more than 5,000 trees.
For this 18th edition of the clean-up, more than 60 bags of trash were collected from only 40% of the park’s territory, with the discovery of an increased number of illegal campsites, a problem on the rise. In total, six makeshift campsites were taken down, including mattresses, sleeping bags and camp fires.
About one third of the participants planted 500 indigenous trees and shrubs in two areas around Beaver Lake, including the Hemlock, Sugar Maple, Shadblow Serviceberry and Cranberry-Tree.
Two teams of volunteers evaluated previous tree plantings and two teams cut down some common buckthorn, an exotic invasive species on the mountain.
The Corvée du Mont-Royal is the flagship event of “May 2009: Mount Royal Month”, which is the original idea of Les amis de la montagne, realized jointly with the Ville de Montréal, thanks to the generosity of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. May 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.
Prix du Mont-Royal awards ceremony, 2009 edition
The Prix du Mont-Royal awards ceremony was held in the newly inaugurated children’s playground in Mount Royal Park on May 25.
Helen Fotopulos, member of the Executive Committee of the Ville de Montréal, responsible for Mount Royal, nature parks and great parks, nature museums and the status of women and Peter A. Howlett, C.M., President of Les amis de la montagne, together with Éric Morisset, Managing Director and Group Head, Quebec Investment Banking for TD Securities, awarded the 2009 Prix du Mont-Royal to Peter Jacobs, professor in the School of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Urban Planning at the Université de Montréal, and an honourable mention to François Odermatt, art collector and Montreal philanthropist.
The Prix du Mont-Royal was initiated by Les amis de la montagne in 2005. The Prix is awarded in collaboration with the Ville de Montréal, participants for a 5th consecutive year, and through the generosity of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation as principal partners. The Prix du Mont-Royal is awarded to an individual, who through their commitment towards the conservation of our collective historic and natural heritage and their vision, are a source of inspiration to us all.
L to R: Helen Fotopulos, Peter A. Howlett, C.M., Peter Jacobs, Sylvie Guilbault, Éric Morisset, Wendy Graham
L to R: Helen Fotopulos, François Odermatt (with his son), Peter A. Howlett, C.M., Éric Morisset
Photos: © Les amis de la montagne / Martin Roy
Peter Jacobs, committed to the conservation and enhancement of the mountain
Professor in the School of Landscape Architecture in the Faculty of Urban Planning at the Université de Montréal, as well as an emeritus speaker and recipient of numerous awards in landscape architecture, Peter Jacobs has worked many years for the protection and enhancement of our mountain. Together with Oswald Foisy, he wrote a book titled, “Les quatre saisons du mont Royal”, published in 2000 by Meridian Press. He integrates the findings of his studies into the educational content of his university courses on landscapes using Mount Royal as his canvas, and in so doing, contributes to forming the next generation of professionals sensitive to Mount Royal’s historic and natural heritage.
François Odermatt, collector and contributor to the beauty of Mount Royal
Dedicated to the democratization of art, François Odermatt has made a number of donations of works of art to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. He receives the honourable mention to underline his generosity in establishing the exhibit of sculptures by Ju Ming in the vicinity of Beaver Lake on the mountain, an exhibit also made possible thanks to the generosity of Power Corporation of Canada. Inaugurated in the fall of 2006, the exhibit has been prolonged to October 2009.
Inauguration of the children’s playground, “The Salamander”, for the young and young-at-heart! Another successful project towards the restoration and enhancement of the Beaver Lake sector
First inaugurated in the 1960s, the children’s playground in Mount Royal Park has undergone a complete makeover that is sure to please the entire family. Built in the shape of a salamander, a small, protected amphibian that can be found in the park, the new playground features a variety of installations to play on. The addition of picnic tables in the area and new park furnishings (benches, tables, drinking fountains, etc.), are designed to make the park experience more enjoyable for families. New trees and shrubs have also been planted in the area in keeping with the landscapes of the park, the ecosystem and Mount Royal. The playground concept was the design of the Groupe Cardinal Hardy and the work was undertaken by Ventech.
The Groupe Cardinal Hardy also designed a new pathway that winds through the playground celebrating children’s rights. Unique in North America, this pathway is the result of an initiative of the Société pour un monde digne des enfants whose activities help finance projects in support of the protection of children. The pathway combines a walk with games and information, in order to help visitors, both young and not-so-young, to understand the rights of children.
Text adapted from a press release issued by the Ville de Montréal on May 25, 2009.
Les amis de la montagne wishes to congratulate the Ville de Montréal and its partners for the success of this enhancement project.
Three Summits Guided Walking Tour
Les amis de la montagne’s guided walking tours have always been popular with citizens and visitors curious to learn more about the historic and natural heritage of Mount Royal and to discover, in the company of our expert educators, its many hidden treasures. One of the most popular and longest-running tours returns this spring. The Three Summits Guided Walking Tour promises the discovery of the entire mountain through its numerous points of view. This walk is also an excellent occasion to enjoy the spring flowers!
- Sunday, June 7
- 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (about 12 km)
- Departure from the G.-E. Cartier Monument, corner Avenue du Parc and Rue Rachel
- Reservations required: 514 843-8240, ext. 0
- Price: 13 years and over, $15; ages 6 to 12, $10
Fresh air and dining al fresco – summer’s almost here!
Photo: © Les amis de la montagne / S. Montigné
The summer season is almost upon us! Fresh air aficionados will soon be able to take a tour of Beaver Lake by pedal boat – an activity that is sure to work up an appetite! And to tame those hunger pangs, why not visit us at Café Smith? Take in the café’s warmth and country-like charm on the outdoor terrace, while enjoying a variety of wholesome offerings: sandwiches, warm platters, hot and cold beverages, wine, St-Ambroise beer and an assortment of sweets!
Schedule: Pedal boat rental at Beaver Lake
- Weekends of June 6–7 and 13–14, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
- June 20–August 23: weekdays, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; weekends, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Weekends of August 29–30 and September 5–6–7, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Cost: $8/30 minutes—maximum two adults per craft
$2 for a third person (child under 12 years of age)
A deposit of $5 is required
Last rental: 30 minutes before closing
Schedule: Café Smith restaurant and terrace
- From May 2 to June 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
- From June 20 to September 7, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
- From September 8 to November 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Les amis’ annual campaign: concrete actions for the preservation of our heritage
Les amis de la montagne depends upon generous donations from individuals, foundations and corporations for the majority of its financing. Every dollar counts and allows us to:
- Rally the community on the mountain’s protection challenges;
- Influence public policy in favour of the mountain’s conservation;
- Establish innovative school partnerships providing hands-on nature experiences for thousands of children;
- Create unique tools to discover the mountain’s heritage, such as the new interactive map available on the web; and
- Deliver environmental education programs, welcome and information services, outdoor rental equipment and dining services to hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park annually.