Montreal is known for “The Mountain,” as the Quebecois call it, but more famous as Mount Royal. This hill that divides the city into two is a popular place for strolls. Many (short) hiking trails are offered, but it’s mainly Mount Royal Park in Montreal that adds to the site’s beauty!
Over the years in Montreal, I’ve had the chance to witness the seasons passing by. Personally, Mount Royal lookout is my favorite spot, where you have the most beautiful view of Montreal. Let me tell you about its changes through the seasons…
Mount Royal Lookout Over Time
Mount Royal rises to an altitude of 233 meters. It’s not very high, indeed, and yet, you can see this hill from far on the horizon. Why? Because a law prohibits the construction of buildings over 200 meters in height.
Mount Royal has become the symbol of Montreal. In terms of size, Mount Royal covers nearly 200 hectares.
Mount Royal Park in Spring
In spring, you can feel that the plants need to breathe. Mount Royal looks somewhat sad; flowers start to bloom, and trees regain their leaves, but it hasn’t yet fully recovered from the long winter it just went through.
The temperatures are milder. However, the landscape isn’t at its greenest yet. This is not the time I would recommend for visiting Mount Royal Park for the first time; you might be disappointed and get a bad first impression.
Exploring the Mountain in the Middle of Summer
Finally, some greenery! The trees are lush, hiding part of the horizon, but we appreciate this change of scenery. Summers can be hot in Montreal, and the hottest days can reach 40 degrees. In such cases, people rush to the water fountains and seek the shade of the trees.
This is the Montreal we love: everything looks better when the sun is out, and Mount Royal makes the city even more beautiful. This is definitely the moment I would recommend to a first-time visitor.
Quick story: Mount Royal was designed by the same architect who designed Central Park in New York, a certain Frederick Law Olmsted. One of the paths leading to Mont Royal Belvedere was even named after him.
Mont Royal Belvedere and the Colors of Autumn
Autumn is probably the most beautiful season in Quebec. Its beautiful colors, from golden to bright red, give a melancholic aspect to the city. Mount Royal Park in Montreal in autumn is something special! The days start to cool down, and you almost appreciate getting your scarves out.
If you like autumn, don’t forget to check out my article on fall foliage in Quebec.
When Mount Royal Adorns Its White Coat
In winter, it’s as if you discover a new place. Everyone is bundled up in their coats, seeking the warmth of the chalet. Mount Royal Belvedere Kondiaronk (its complete name) is covered with a thick layer of snow, and despite the blue sky, the atmosphere is quite chilly! If you love winter, you’ll adore exploring Mount Royal in white.
How to Access Mount Royal Park in Montreal?
Access to Mount Royal Park, especially to the belvedere, is possible on foot, by walking up Peel Street and taking the (long) stairs leading to the belvedere, or from any corner of the park.
You can also take the bus (Line 11 starts from the Plateau, a neighborhood of the city). It will drop you off a ten-minute walk from the belvedere. This option is nice because it takes you directly into Mont Royal Park. Montreal will then seem very green (if you go in the summer).
If you have a vehicle, you can also park nearby; large parking lots are available. Finally, biking is also an option, but beware, it’s uphill!
What to Do on Mount Royal?
There are plenty of things to see and do on Mount Royal! Here are the highlights:
Camilien Houde Lookout
If you don’t like the view from the Kondiarionk lookout, know that there are other viewpoints in Montreal. Camilien Houde Belvedere offers a view of the eastern part of the city, including the Olympic Park, for example. If you don’t like to walk, it’s the ideal spot because it’s entirely accessible by car and even offers on-site parking.
Alternatively, you can head a bit further to Beaver Lake. There are plenty of green spaces around the lake, which is particularly pleasant in the summer.
In winter, the slopes are turned into a snow tubing track, a trendy activity in Quebec! And since you’re probably wondering: no, there are no beavers. However, you might come across one or two raccoons.
Mount Royal Cross
If you continue your walk, you might also come across Mont Royal Cross. This cross was installed on Mount Royal in 1924. It’s visible from all of Montreal, especially at night when it’s illuminated. It’s said to be visible for several tens of kilometers on clear days! Otherwise, a hiking path can take you to its base.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory
All the way to the west of Mount Royal is Saint Joseph’s Oratory, an imposing basilica that attracts millions of visitors each year. It’s particularly famous because its dome is the second largest in the world, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
What Is the Best Season to Visit Mount Royal Lookout?
Personally, I admit that I don’t often go to stroll in Mount Royal Park simply because I have other parks closer to me.
I don’t know if there is a better time to visit Mount Royal. I love the excitement of the first outings at the end of winter, but even more when the flowers start to bloom!
Otherwise, the mountain under the snow remains quite magical!