M992.22.2 | Plan of Mount Royal Park, Montreal, QC

 
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Plan of Mount Royal Park, Montreal, QC
About 1880, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
38 x 61 cm
Purchase from Hardwood Heritage
M992.22.2
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

This plan of Mount Royal Park, attributed to Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), was completed in 1877, one year after the inauguration of the park . Olmsted had been commissioned to design the landscape of Mount Royal Park. This renowned American landscape architect had already created, among other works, New York's Central Park . In Canada he had a marked influence on the design of several large urban parks .

Human needs and the often-polluted urban environment were major concerns for Olmsted , who believed parks of that type were extremely beneficial to the health of city-dwellers, as they could go there to breath some clean air .

On Mount Royal, Olmsted wanted to highlight the differences in natural features between each area of the mountain . While preserving the site's natural look, he managed to disguise its imperfections . Moreover, inspired by British ideas on park landscaping, he used wide lawns, gentle slopes and clusters of trees, bushes and flowers .

  • What

    In 1872, as the landscaping project was starting, 16 properties located around the site were expropriated . The plan shows some properties that could not be expropriated, such as those of David Ross McCord, John Molson and Hugh Allan .

  • Where

    On the mountain, the network of paths as designed by Olmsted afforded a variety of city views.

  • When

    Mount Royal Park was the first in Quebec to be protected by law, as in 1874 a provision to that effect was added to Montreal's municipal charter.

  • Who

    When city commissioners called on Olmsted, he had already designed nine major urban parks in the U.S., including the one in New York.