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Walking

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Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno
330, rang des 25 E.
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec J3V 4P6
1-800-665-6527
www.sepaq.com/pq/msb/

There is so much to explore in my city of Montréal but I also love trips outside the island to discover the rest of the province. A friend had been harping about hiking at one of the mountains outside of the city forever so we finally planned a day to visit the national park at Mont-Saint-Bruno (the trails and not the ski hill), which is so close to Montréal and makes a fun day time excursion.

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The different trails were marked by signs with various route distances

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The George-Étienne Cartier Monument at the base of Mont-Royal

I love the mountain. Mont-Royal (Mount Royal) is located just north of downtown Montréal and the park is very much visited by both locals and tourists. In the warmer months, you will find cyclists, runners, and walkers climbing the trails while the Tam Tams drum and dance at the George-Étienne Cartier Monument, and a medieval battle takes hold further up in the forest. Others play frisbee, hackey sack, picnic, or just rest in the grassy hills, or take in the view of the city from the Observatory near the top of the mountain. A large crucifix illuminates at the top and faces the east side of the city, and two large cemeteries — the larger and Catholic Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, and the traditionally Protestant and English Cimetière Mont-Royal — encompass the west side of the mountain.

Montréal is a cold city, so we don’t have too many months available for seasonal activities which means that city dwellers learn to embrace the cold. Hence, even in the winter, the mountain is accessible with fresh snow fall immediately plowed and packed to the ground so that cold weather runners and cross-country skiers can whiz up the paths. I also sometimes see snow-shoers as well, though there are fewer tourists who are willing to bear the biting Montréal cold. The Montréal Police also patrol the mountain, riding on horses through the trails, so the sight of road apples is common in the park.

The temperature has been dropping in the city, so if you want to catch the Tam Tams and the Medieval Battle, or take a walk through the park is warmer weather, don’t wait too long to visit the mountain. Find out more information about Mont-Royal on their website: www.lemontroyal.qc.ca.

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Parks in Montréal are very well used

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Medieval sword-fight battle every Sunday at the mountain

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During my stay in Toronto I discovered the trails along the Humber River in the Old Mill area in west Toronto. There are two trails, one that is pedestrian only, and the other that is for both pedestrian and mixed used (including bicycles). Toronto was green for most of the time I was visiting so I did not encounter any snow or slippery routes. I did, however, encounter many types of birds including chickadees, red cardinals, and some very small birds that I could not identify.

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The area is heavily forested but with several park benches and picnic tables scattered along the greenery. There were many runners, walkers, and bikers along the trails, with some coming from the neighbouring affluent neighbourhood and others who parked their cars in the nearby lots to walk their dogs. For more information on the trails around the Humber River and Old Mill, and other walking trails, visit the Discovery Walks section of the City of Toronto website.

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