Montréal is named for this 232m (761-ft.) hill that rises at its heart -- the "Royal Mountain." Walkers, joggers, cyclists, dog owners, and skaters all use this largest of the city's green spaces throughout the year. In summer, Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake) is surrounded by sunbathers and picnickers (no swimming allowed, however). In winter, cross-country skiers follow miles of paths and snowshoers tramp along trails laid out for their use. The large, refurbished Chalet du Mont-Royal near the crest of the hill is a popular destination, providing a sweeping view of the city from its terrace and an opportunity for a snack. Up the hill behind the chalet is the spot where, tradition says, Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve (1612?76) erected a wooden cross after the colony survived a flood threat in 1643. The present incarnation of the steel Croix du Mont-Royal was installed in 1924 and is lit at night. It usually glows white, although it was lit red in the 1980s during a march against AIDS and purple in 2005 to announce the death of Pope John Paul II.
- © Frommer's 2013