Heritage refers to any natural or cultural, tangible or intangible object or whole that a community recognizes for its historical value and seeks to protect, preserve, appropriate, enhance and transmit to future generations. This definition, especially if you are familiar with Mount Royal, gives you a clue as to why the mountain has been designated a heritage site.
The Mountain’s Rich and Diversified HeritageAs a highly visual landmark in the St. Lawrence Valley, Mount Royal is an iconic site of great symbolic value whose history is closely linked to that of the city of Montréal and the province of Quebec. Its designation as a Historic and Natural District, thanks to a decree adopted by the Quebec government in 2005, confirms without a shadow of a doubt the importance of its heritage value.
The historic and natural designation given to Mount Royal is a first in Quebec. It represents a desire to ensure the protection of the many monuments and historical sites located in this unique territory and the aesthetic, legendary and picturesque interest of its natural harmony.
As stated in this decree, Mount Royal:
- Is one of Quebec’s major visual landmarks and iconic sites.
- Represents, in a historical context, a territory that allows contact with natural environment featuring various plant and animal species while providing areas conducive to leisure and relaxation.
- Includes, within its territory, Mount Royal Park, one of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s major achievements.
- Has an archaeological value as a habitat and burial site for indigenous and European-Quebecois populations.
- Includes religious sites and institutions such as cemeteries that illustrate a chapter in Quebec history.
- Features historical sites and monuments of national heritage significance.
- Features a large concentration of education and health-related buildings and large institutional properties of historical interest through their use and architecture.
- Is closely linked to the history of the City of Montréal and the province of Quebec.
Supporting the Landscape’s SustainabilityThis unique dual status reveals the growing importance of considering the landscape in urban planning.
The qualities and landscaping attributes of Mount Royal are based on a complex balance between its natural (plant and mineral) and cultural (built or landscaped) components, its various sites (points of view and perspectives) and scales of perception (city, surrounding neighborhoods, mountain sections), as well as daily or seasonal changes as described in the Mount Royal Protection and Enhancement Plan. Mount Royal’s landscape heritage must be preserved, given that landscapes are a non-renewable resource.
The territory was declared Mount Royal Heritage Site in 2012 when the Cultural Heritage Act was passed by the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications. Consequently, a conservation plan will highlight the characteristics of Mount Royal to be preserved and establish guidelines for the preservation and improvement of the mountain.
For More Information
References on Mount Royal HeritageAtlas du paysage du Mont Royal, Caractérisation du paysage à l’échelle de la montagne, City of Montréal, Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications, 2012.
Évolution historique des paysages du mont Royal : étude complémentaire, Nicole Valois, 2006.
Étude sur l’évolution historique des paysages du mont Royal. Rapport d’étape : Documentation et définition du cadre théorique, Nicole Valois, 2006.
Le site officiel du Mont-Royal, City of Montréal, Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications
Mount Royal in the Works of Frederick Law Olmsted, Dr. Charles E. Beveridge, Hélène Thibodeau (transl.), City of Montréal, Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications and the Status of Women
Statements on the Heritage Value of Various Sites on Mount Royal (French only)Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal
Royal Victoria Hospital
Smith House, Mount Royal Park
Mount Royal Chalet and Kondiaronk lookout, Mount Royal Park