Escarpment Path: Vestiges recall Mount Royal’s funicular era


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, visitors to Mount Royal Park could zip up the mountain on a funicular, an incline railway that started at ground level near Duluth St.

The McCord Museum tells us the steam-driven funicular cost five cents for adults and three cents for children. It was inaugurated in 1985 and shut down in 1918.

You can see still vestiges of the railway in the forest just off the Escarpment Path.

If you’re coming from the Peel stairs side, they’re just after the second lookout, on the slope’s “upside.”

Jean-Michel Villanove of Les amis de la montagne tells me the remnants are the foundations of a lookout for funicular riders.

Here are some shots I took in 2018:

Here’s what the funicular looked like back in the day:

Mount Royal funicular railway, about 1900.

Bird’s-eye-view of Montreal from Inclined Railway Mont Royal, circa 1908

Undated postcard shows the funicular’s lookout.

Undated city of Montreal photo shows the funicular running over Olmsted Rd.

Mount Royal funicular season pass, 1915.

Mount Royal funicular postcard, 1909

Mount Royal funicular postcard, circa 1910

Undated map shows the location of the funicular, also known as the Mountain Elevator.

In this 1925 photo, you can still see the path the funicular used to take.

Read up on the funicular at Spacing Montreal, the McCord Museum site and in a post from La Société d’histoire et de généalogie du Plateau Mont-Royal.

  • November 20, 2022