Many a Montreal family has virtually the same photo as this one – the same grouping (parents and child(ren), posing at the Lookout located at Mount Royal’s Chalet.
Such an outing was special in many ways. Our family had only one day a week when we could be all together, since my mom and dad worked in their store the rest of the time. So it was relatively rare that we went anywhere exciting – I mean, besides frequent visits to my grandparents – which was nice, but I’m not sure they count as “exciting.” :-).
I think our favourite day trips were Belmont Park, which I’ve written about here, and the Chalet on Mount Royal.
During my childhood in the ’40s and ’50s, the Chalet with its well-photographed lookout was popular mostly because of its spectacular panoramic view of Montreal. Mount Royal is the ‘mountain’ in the middle of our city, although at 233 m (764 ft.) elevation, it barely qualifies. It could be thought of as a large hill, I suppose.
At the foot of Mount Royal – whose surrounding parkland was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted; he also designed New York’s Central Park – we’d admire Beaver Lake and feed the ducks. We often had a picnic nearby, and then hiked up to the summit where the Chalet had a snack bar featuring delectable ice cream cones… and, especially for little kids, restrooms!
Perhaps most important, the Chalet featured the Lookout – a large cliff-side patio with that fabulous view. The Rosenburg family was just one of thousands to be photographed for posterity at this still-beautiful spot in our fair city, Montreal.