M992.22.2 | Plan of Mount Royal Park, Montreal, QC
Plan of Mount Royal Park, Montreal, QC
About 1880, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
38 x 61 cm
Purchase from Hardwood Heritage
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Print (10661)
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 .
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 .
On the mountain, the network of paths as designed by Olmsted afforded a variety of city views.
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.
When city commissioners called on Olmsted, he had already designed nine major urban parks in the U.S., including the one in New York.