Montreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec, and the second largest in Canada (after Toronto), was originally called Ville-Marie, which means “City of Mary” in French. It is the second largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. In fact, French is the city’s official language and the road signs in the city are all in French.
Our first stop of the Montreal city tour was to Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the largest church in Canada. It is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on Westmount Summit. In 2004, the Oratory was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on its 100th anniversary.
Do you see the long flight of steps to go up to the church? Apparently it is made of wood!
Our next stop was to Mount Royal Park – one of Montreal’s largest green spaces, where we took a short walk up the hill with 3 peaks at slightly above 200m elevation above mean sea level. The local tour guide kept reassuring us that it would be a short and easy walk and she was right. 😛 It was a nice breezy stroll with bird’s eye view of the city at the end of the walk.
Montreal city does not have many high-rise buildings so even though the highest elevation point in the city is Mount Royal, which is only 233m (764 ft) at its highest, one still can have a clear bird’s eye view of the city. Even the tallest building, 1000 de La Gauchetière, is only 205m (673 ft) tall at 51 storeys. This is because the municipal regulations forbid any building from exceeding the height of Mount Royal. However, Singapore’s highest peak is only 164m at Bukit Timah Hill, so Mount Royal still wins haha.
Chalet du Mont Royal was inaugurated in 1932 and located near the summit of Mount Royal. The walls of its spacious interior are decorated with pictures tracing the history of Montreal, many of which were painted by famous artists. Clear views of the downtown could be seen here too.
Before we left the park, I also managed to take a shot of the Maison Smith – the entry point to Mount Royal Park. The building is very beautiful and it is an education, exchange and cooperation centre devoted to the conservation of the Mount Royal’s environment.
I shall continue the Montreal city tour in the next post… ^^