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