Beau­ti­ful Cities

Canada's History - - CONTENTS 20 - By Paul Wein­berg

The squalor of nine­teen­th­cen­tury cities prompted plan­ners to come up with a novel so­lu­tion: green space.

On Novem­ber 10, 1862, Ma­jor Alexan­der Steven­son, a Mon­treal city coun­cil­lor and part-time mili­tia com­man­der, re­cruited the Mon­treal Field Bat­tery to help him drag ar­tillery guns up the snow-laden slopes of Mount Royal. Af­ter a dif­fi­cult climb, they reached the sum­mit, where they fired off about a hun­dred rounds — and alarmed city dwellers be­low. “The gen­eral opinion in the city was that the Fe­ni­ans had made a lodge­ment on the moun­tain,” re­lates an 1898 his­tory of the field bat­tery.

Steven­son was not try­ing to start a war. Rather, he was tak­ing the oc­ca­sion to call for Mount Royal — then a densely forested pres­ence in the coun­try­side held by pri­vate landown­ers — to be made into a pub­lic park. He re­peated

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