Visiting Le Haut-Richelieu / Upper Richelieu, Quebec: The Looming Presence of Mont Saint-Grégoire, at 251 Metres
Optical and historical perspectives
East of Montreal, Le Haut-Richelieu / Upper Richelieu is a Municipalité régionale de comté / Regional County Municipality, within Montérégie.
A significant portion of the Montérégie region is dominated by the looming presence of the 251 metre hill known as Mont Saint-Grégoire.
Named for Gregory-the-Great, the Hill is one of a series of hill which gives the Montérégie region its name (1). Substantially tree-covered, it offers wide-ranging views from its summit (see above).
Interestingly, prominent Loyalist Sir John Johnson (2), formerly of New York in pre-Revolutionary days, obtained ownership of the Mont Saint-Grégoire area and the Hill for a while was thus known as Mont Johnson / Mount Johnson. In his honour, Sir John Johnson House, at Williamstown, Ontario, was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1961. (Doubtless some local Francophone people, many of whom descent from French settlers who arrived in the 17th century, would claim that the Hill's current, and longstanding, naming for Gregory the Great, reflects a more deep-seated historical perspective.)
The Hill was formerly known for its quarries.
At the foot of Mont Saint-Grégoire is a small municipality of the same name, known for its maple syrup production and orchards; the Eglise Saint-Grégoire-Le-Grand is a striking Neoclassical structure with a prominent spire and pediment.
February 10, 2020
(1) The other hills comprising the Monteregian range are Mont-Royal, Mont Saint-Bruno, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Mont Rougemont, Mont Yamaska, Mont Shefford, Mont Brome; and Mont Mégantic is also often included.
(2) The legality of his title was at times in some doubt.
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
Also worth seeing
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (distance: 8.2 kilometres) has a skyline dominated by the spire of the Cathedral of Saint-Jean-l'Evangéliste; the city was formerly an important military centre.
The Co-Cathedral at Longueuil (distance: 42.7 kilometres), which incorporates Gothic and Byzantine features, has a spire which attains a height of 81 metres; it dates from 1884.
The architectural and cultural attractions of Montreal (distance: 48.1 kilometres) are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), dating from 1847, which was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829; many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah' there. Fine views from Mount Royal (Mont Royal) may be obtained at St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph) and the Belvedere (Belvédère). The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, used for the 1976 Olympics, has the the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal; distance from Mont-Saint-Grégoire: 60.2 kilometres) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. A number of car rental companies offer service at Montreal-Trudeau airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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