Montréal had become an important industrial and commercial town with wealthy families, working-class neighbourhoods and a commercial port. In the midst of all this, the mountain. Always majestic, but already fragile. Many felt that the mountain should be preserved and offered to Montrealers as a place of nature, beauty and well-being in the form of a great park. In 1859, positions in favour of the creation of a park on Mount Royal became crystal-clear when a land owner cut down the trees on his vast Peel Street lot next to the mountain to sell as firewood. A decision fully supported by the community was then made: there would be a park on the mountain.
As of 1872, the City of Montréal undertook the necessary land purchases for the future park. In 1874, renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was commissioned to design the new park. On May 24, 1876, the official inauguration of Mount Royal Park drew a large crowd. Despite the lack of landscaping and notable departure from Olmsted’s initial design, one thing was clear—the park was set to become a very popular site.
Mount Royal in Montreal
The park contains two belvederes, the more prominent of which is the Kondiaronk Belvedere, a semicircular plaza with a Mount Royal Chalet overlooking Downtown Montreal. Built in 1906, it is named for the Petun chief Kondiaronk, whose influence led to the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701.