Sunday was our day to visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and park day. After spending a few hours at the museum we walked up through the McGill area, grabbed some lunch, and headed to the Parc du Mont-Royal. We knew that the park is basically a mountain, and so with the promise of a scenic overlook, we started up. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and since I make it a point to visit any Olmstead-designed park I happen upon (besides Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, I've also been to the Biltmore Estate grounds in Asheville, NC and Cherokee Park in Louisville, KY), I certainly couldn't pass one up now. Little did I realize just how steep the ascent was going to be. I've hiked up mountains before, but never one that began in a residential neighborhood. We knew that if we followed the Rue Peel towards the park that we'd run into the enterance that we could take to the top, passing many of McGill's buildings along the way.
Let's just say that McGill students get a ton of exercise. The road was remarkably steep; we watched as a bicyclist bravely attempted to cycle up, only to give up and walk as we neared the park. Once we got into the park, there were a ton of people enjoying the beautiful weather, many of who were heading towards the same Chalet lookout that we were going for, so we followed right along. As you can see from the photo above, the view from the top was definitely worth it, but you had to climb over 300 steps to reach it. Of course, there were many people at the lookout who had driven up, but I think that we enjoyed the view even more becuase it came with a sense of accomplishment. My legs hurt for three days afterwards.
After the park we decided to head to the Ile Ste-Helene to enjoy the Parc Jean-Drapeau and see the Biosphere, which was the building of the United States pavilion for the 1967 World Exhibition, and which now houses the Environment Canada museum. We had thought about visiting the museum, but seeing the Biosphere itself was enough for us, and we really just wanted to be outside to enjoy the nice day. So we did a little cheer for Buckminster Fuller and this lovely geodesic-inspired architecture, and spent the rest of the afternoon in the park.