Do you consider yourself an expert on Montreal? If you do, then you know why there is a cross on Mount Royal (le croix Mont-Royal). For those who don’t know, here are some fun facts about Montreal.
The French who first came to Montreal (then Ville-Marie) were quite religious so it makes sense that they’d erect a cross on Mount Royal, but that’s not why this Montreal landmark sits on top of our beloved mountain.
So, Why the Mount Royal Cross?
The new colony was being threatened by a flood in 1642, putting all the people in jeopardy.
Montreal’s founder, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve didn’t know what to do. In desperation, so he begged the Virgin Mary to spare the settlement, vowing to erect a cross on Mount Royal’s peak if his prayers were answered.
They were! Ville-Marie was spared and so, he fulfilled his promise by erecting the wooden cross on January 6, 1643, on the Feast of the Epiphany.
It was replaced by the one we see today in 1924, installed by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The cross on the mountain is made of steel, weighing 26 tons and standing 31.4 metres tall. After its last renovation, is now shines bright at night, lit up by 240 light bulbs originally.
Today, and since 1992, the cross is lit with a high-tech fibre-optics lighting system requiring just 30 bulbs.
Now the cross can be seen from 80 km away!