I started this timeline in 2013 when I realized I’d been seeing repeated waves of stories on protecting Mount Royal that seemed to be going nowhere. I added some updates in 2016, and here’s the cumulative timeline, which I will add to as I see relevant items. With thanks to regular reader SMD, who provided a couple of the later links.
February 2003: Quebec gives special status to Mount Royal and surrounding areas.
June 2003: Notre-Dame-des-Neiges’ plan to build a large mausoleum is contested.
December 2003: Marianopolis prepares to move. People are concerned about plans for the school’s old site.
December 2004: Another major mausoleum project is floated by NDN.
February 2005: McGill is given an OK to construct two new buildings on the mountain. No public consultation has taken place.
March 2005: Mount Royal is classed as a heritage site by Quebec, which supposedly will give it “the last word” on the massive mausoleum projects. As you’ll see, the last word was “D’accord!”
May 2005: Les Amis de la montagne express dissatisfaction about the Montreal General’s plan to construct a new building on Cedar. This building plan later becomes a very hot potato. January 2013 retrospective on this story of a dodgy deal gone wrong. [This last link has gone dead, which is too bad.]
August 2005: Giant mausoleum gets go-ahead.
October 2005: Alouettes fans begin to agitate to enlarge Molson Stadium. (Now I wonder who these “fans” were and what was in it for them.)
January 2008: The city comes up with a new plan for the protection of Mount Royal.
April 2008: Blogger Neath comments on one of the public hearings mandated by this protection plan. Also in April, the Montreal General is making more moves towards construction on Cedar.
August 2008: Public consultation has found that the vast majority of Montrealers want Mount Royal preserved as a public benefice. La Presse finds that Notre-Dame-des-Neiges has a dump on the hill behind the UdeM.
October 2008: Montreal General gets permission to do its expansion. The Journal de Montréal goes to the Institut économique de Montréal asking for a list of things to perk the city up, and one of their ideas is to turn Mount Royal over to private hands. (Others include medical tourism, reserving more university spots for high-paying foreigners, and the abolition of rent controls and subsidized housing.)
November 2008: The Sulpicians sell the old Marianopolis site. Despite statements that they want the site to keep an educational purpose, it’s clear this is never going to happen. Also this month, more on the new bike and pedestrian path promised to make the mountain more accessible, and the announcement of an annex to Mount Royal park, 22 hectares of the third summit land that has been used as a dump.
March 2009: Another theme comes in, the fate of 1420 Mont-Royal, the Jésus-Marie convent in Outremont, bought then flipped by the UdeM with a sale to Construction Frank Catania for condo conversion. Coalitions of nearby residents and of professors from the university make attempts to block the sale and conversion, holding that the building should be preserved for educational purposes and that the extra traffic brought by a big condo conversion would be unwelcome.
April 2009: The plan for the protection of Mount Royal is adopted by city council.
September 2009: height limits on buildings (PDF) to preserve the view.
October 2009: people gather on Mount Royal in a peaceful demonstration to show how much they love it.
December 2009: work begins on enlarging Molson Stadium.
May 2010: the initial project for the Marianopolis site is scaled back to a transformation of the existing buildings rather than construction of new ones. Also this month, Remembrance Road is altered and a new piece of art is installed near the Peel Street entrance to the park.
June 2010: Enlarged Molson Stadium opens. Alouettes play first game in the enlarged facility in July.
October 2010: Vélo-Québec objects to part of the bike path over the mountain and asks for it to be removed, saying it’s badly conceived and unsafe.
November 2010: the city announces it would spruce up the lookout in spring 2011.
January 2011: A condo developer plans to demolish what’s left of the Redpath mansion and construct a building that would defy the city’s guidelines for sightlines on Mount Royal. The Museum of Fine Arts has just made plans for a nice view from their church conversion pavilion, and it’s angry that this is about to be blocked.
February 2011: The developers of the Redpath site are not given their zoning exception and the project is stymied.
June 2011: Public consultations on the Montreal General’s construction plans. There are objections.
July 2011: A delay is announced in the start of work for the new 22-hectare third-summit park.
November 2011: The Quebec culture ministry gives the 1420 Mont-Royal condo conversion the nod.
February 2012: The public consultation office asks for finer-grained regulations governing building heights, so’s not to obscure the view of the mountain.
March 2012: major repairs on Beaver Lake are announced to start in June with the first phase of work on the lake basin to wrap up in February 2013. A second phase is also expected.
July 2012: The Montreal General gives up its enlargement plans on Cedar Avenue.
November 2012: Mount Royal gets its own official section on the city website.
December 2012: UdeM cancels the sale of 1420 Mont-Royal to Catania because of the Faubourg Contrecœur scandal and other objections to the deal.
February 2013: announcement that work on the third summit park would begin this June.
July 2015: Luc Ferrandez states that he’d like to see a coherent vision for Mount Royal.
September 2015: After eight years of legal wrangling, the MUHC loses 27 million on 1750 Cedar avenue debacle and returns it to its condo promoter owner. Vincent Chiara says he will build the residential tower he planned all along.
January 2016: After 12 years of legal wrangling, UdeM sells the former convent at 1420 Mount-Royal for an unspecified loss to a second condo builder, Olivier Leclerc, after backing away from the first promoter, Paolo Catania, once his name started coming up a lot at the Charbonneau commission.
May 2016: The developer of the condo project on the old Marianopolis site sues the Sulpicians after he’s forced to scale the project down because the city bowed to public pressure against large developments on the mountainside. (The court case had started six years earlier, see article. In May, Linda Gyulai wrote that the lawyers were making their final arguments. I never saw, and can’t find, any article about the eventual ruling in the case.)
October 2016: Quebec heritage ministry calls public consultations on preserving the site.
April 2017: Les Amis de la montagne begin looking for support to get UNESCO World Heritage status for Mount Royal.