Group wants Montreal’s Mount Royal considered for UNESCO heritage designation

Group seeks UNESCO honour for Mount Royal

MONTREAL — A non-profit working to protect Montreal’s Mount Royal is making a push to have the famed mountain park considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But first, the three-headed mountain located in the heart of Montreal island needs to be added to the federal government’s list of potential sites from which the world body can choose.

“Preliminary studies by experts in world heritage have advised the City of Montreal that there were some exceptional characteristics to Mount Royal,” Helene Panaioti, spokeswoman for the non-profit, said Thursday.

Les amis de la montagne (friends of the mountain) said it’s hoping to collect up to 30,000 signatures by the end of April to help bolster its case to the federal government, which is looking to update a list of potential Canadian world heritage sites.

The government’s list hasn’t been updated since 2004.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna called for suggestions to be submitted between August 2016 and January 2017.

A committee will unveil a new list later this year.

Being on the country’s list of potential sites is a requirement before receiving the UNESCO distinction.

Les amis made an application and it’s hoping thousands of signatures will convince Ottawa to choose Mount Royal.

Of the 11 sites the government submitted to the UN in 2004, five were granted the world heritage status.

Sites chosen by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture include places of cultural or natural significance that members of the global community have committed to preserve for future generations, sometimes through financial assistance or expert advice.

Mount Royal holds a symbolic place among many communities including First Nations and has resisted development despite the constant pressures of a growing city.

“It’s incredibly rich in biodiversity and natural landscapes and cultural heritage and all of this is what would contribute to its interest as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Panaioti said.

Dinu Bumbaru, policy director at Heritage Montreal, said from a world heritage perspective, the mountain represents the evolution of urban society.

“It’s an ensemble — it’s not just one site where you can say it’s only natural or only historic or only architectural — it’s all of this,” Bumbaru said.

He added the mountain is home to two cemeteries that are national historic sites, Saint Joseph’s Oratory, as well as the campuses of McGill University and Universite de Montreal.

“Together, they form quite a concentration of property that defines a landscape that is iconic, not just for Montreal, but for pretty much the history of the country,” Bumbaru said.

Canada has 18 UNESCO heritage sites, including two in Quebec: Quebec City’s Vieux-Quebec and the Miguasha national park in Gaspe.

On the web: www.montroyalUNESCO.ca

 

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read