The city of Montreal is pushing to make a huge swath of Mount Royal declared a UNESCO heritage site.
It would include all of Mount Royal park, parts of McGill University and the University of Montreal campuses and the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery.
That’s between 600 and 650 hectares of land, roughly three times the size of the park alone.
Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal is spearheading the application.
He thinks the park is a unique site to add to the list.
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“We don’t want to compete with the Taj Mahal,” he said.
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“Most of the people in the world now live in metropolitan areas so where is the heritage of that? The mountain is one of the most iconic things we can share.”
Last August, the federal environment minister put out a call for nominations for possible heritage sites across the country.
But having an area declared a Heritage Site is no easy process.
The application must be endorsed by both the provincial and federal governments.
Even if status is awarded, it doesn’t mean the site is legally protected by the United Nations.
Bumbaru says it’s more about civic pride.
“The feeling at Heritage Montreal is this is worth it,” he said.
“We don’t want the protection of Montreal to just be a local discussion. It gives us inspiration.”
Montrealers Global News spoke to at the Chalet Mont Royal lookout say they like the proposal.
“For me this is the most important part of the city,” said jogger Sarah Issa. “I don’t know if I would live here if not for this.”
“When you reach the park it just changes, the area changes,” said Attila Szelma who had run to the park from Saint-Henri. “It’s like you’re not in the city.”
The federal government’s application deadline closes Friday.