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Mount Royal Cross

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Croix du mont Royal
File:Montreal - QC - Gipfelkreuz Mont Real.jpg
Daytime image

45°30′32″N 73°35′16″W / 45.50889°N 73.58778°W / 45.50889; -73.58778Coordinates: 45°30′32″N 73°35′16″W / 45.50889°N 73.58778°W / 45.50889; -73.58778{{#coordinates:45|30|32|N|73|35|16|W|region:CA-QC_type:landmark_source:kolossus-dewiki |primary |name=

Location Mount Royal
Material iron
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Beginning date May 16, 1924
Completion date Mid-September 1924

The Mount Royal Cross is a monument on top of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It stands at the northeastern peak of the mountain and overlooks the eastern part of the island.


Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the city's founder, erected the first cross on Mount Royal in 1643, thereby fulfilling his vow to the Virgin Mary in his prayers to end a disastrous flood.

An illuminated cross was installed in 1924 by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and was given to the city in 1929. Even though the city assumed responsibility for maintenance and operation of the cross since then, no documentation supporting the transaction existed prior to June 2004 when the Montreal City Council approved cessation of the monument.

The current cross stands 31.4 m (103 ft) tall. It was converted to fibre-optic light in 1992, allowing the cross to be lit in red, blue or purple. Work began on the cross on May 16, 1924, and although it had been completed by mid-September, the cross was illuminated for the first time on Christmas Eve. The electricity provided to light the cross was provided free of charge by Montreal Heat, Power, and Light.

In 2008-9, the cross was taken down while it was renovated and while its lighting system was converted to polychromatic LEDs. The city also took advantage of this to perform additional work to improve access to the site and install new park furniture. The renovations' total cost was $2 million and the bill was footed by the City and by the Ministère de la culture, des communications et de la condition féminine.[1]

The cross is made of steel and consists of 1,830 pieces joined by 6,000 rivets weighing 26 tons. It is 31.4 metres tall and its arms span 11 metres and it stands 252 metres above the St. Lawrence River. Following the latest renovation, it is lit by 158 18-LED bulbs.[1]

The cross is usually lit in white and the new LED system allows it to be any colour, including the purple traditionally used between the death and election of a new Pope.[2] The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal is the body responsible of informing the city of the death of the Pope.[3] Before the installation of the fibre-optic lighting, the purple illumination was accomplished by changing all the light bulbs. It is now controlled by computer. On various occasions, the cross has been turned red for AIDS awareness and blue for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI presented a bit of a dilemma for how the cross would be lit; it was later announced that the cross would be lit in white during the interregnum preceding the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013.[4]

On March 28, 2009, it was turned off for an hour to mark Earth Hour.[5]

Time capsule

Next to the cross, a plaque marks the emplacement of a time capsule buried in 1992, during Montreal's 350th birthday celebration. It contains messages and drawings from 12,000 children, depicting their visions for the city in the year 2142, when it is scheduled to be opened.[6]