Smack-dab in the middle of the island of Montreal is a 233 meter (764 feet) hill named Mont Royal. The city itself actually takes its name from the landmark – it was spelled Mont Réal in Middle French. In 1876, after citizens had been outraged by large-scale tree cutting on its slopes, Parc du Mont-Royal was officially opened to the public. Interestingly, the park was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same man who designed New York City’s Central Park (though not all of his initial plans were carried out thanks to The Panic of 1873, a recession in the United States and Europe that was called “The Great Depression” until the 1930s).
Today, the heavily forested park is home to Beaver Lake, a sculpture garden, a tubing slope, stunning fall foliage, a mass gathering of drummers on Sundays known as the Tam-Tams, and an LED cross that overlooks the city. The most famous elements of the park, however, are two scenic overlooks. One of these looks northwest over the city, with Olympic Stadium prominently displayed, and is apparently a popular meeting point for young couples. The other, Kondiaronk Belvedere, a semicircular structure built in 1906 which overlooks downtown, is perhaps even more dramatic and is popular with visitors and locals alike year-round.