The cross atop Mount Royal is the iconic monument of Montreal.

First erected by Chomedey de Maisonneuve in 1643, it has been revised extensively over the centuries, with its current look coming in 1924 when the Societe Saint-Jean Baptiste erected the steel structure.

Its most recent update came in 2009, when the cross was taken down and given LED lighting.

Standing 31.4 m high on the northeastern peak of the mountain, the imposing but airy tower is off-limits to the public, but not for CTV Montreal.

Climbing up is a challenge, since wind whips through the tower and shakes the entire ladder.

But the view from the top is spectacular.

"We never are able to feel the mountain as a whole, we see bits and bites, but here we get a feel for the whole thing in the middle of the city. It's really great," said Daniel Chartier, a landscape architect for the city.

When the SSJB built the cross the plan was that anyone would be able to climb up to see the view for themselves, but they did not raise enough money to create a viewpoint.

Other than maintenance workers, the only climbers are uninvited, but definitely not unobserved.

The cross is festooned with cameras and motion sensors that alert police the moment someone begins the ascent.


If there is any off-limits place you'd like to see, just send us an email at

We'll be back with another series in 2013.