Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mont Royal's Olmstead Road - Montreal's quiet country road

One of the best escapes into nature in the city is to take a walk or bike ride up Mont Royal along the quiet, wooded, gently uphill Olmstead Road.

The designer of Mont Royal Park, Frederick Law Olmstead, understood the value of introducing nature into the lives of city dwellers, this was his key innovation as a landscape architect. He wasn't a man of the European formal garden school, that was an elitist concept, he wanted parks to provide a link to the fields and forests of the countryside.

Olmstead road starts at the giant statue on Parc avenue (axis rue Rachel) and gently climbs for the the next several kilometres, first through forest, then into sunshine at Beaver lake (lac aux Castors), then it goes past Maison Smith, past street access, and to the summit loop (turn left at the fork). Once at the top, you will descend to the Chalet Mont Royal and the excellent and amazing, downtown-from-above lookout.

When descending on the return journey, please remember to keep your speed under control, you don't want to frighten the walkers and other users of this road. The speed limit is 20 km/h. If you seek speed, take the street down via Camilien Houde.

When you are on this road the city truly disappears, you are in nature, and you can almost forget you are in the heart of our city, just remember that you are on the spiritual heart of our city: beautiful Mont Royal.


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