Taming the Jungle in the City: Uprooting Trees, Bushes, and Disorder from Mount Royal Park.
De la fin des annees 1940 au debut des annees 1960, l'obsession de Montreal pour le comportement moral a conduit a plusieurs schemas de renovation urbaine. Cet article porte sur le pare du Mont-Royal, son environnement et, a terme, sa construction en tant qu'espace heterosexuel. Cet article porte sur la decision du gouvernement municipal de Montreal, sous lapression du service de police, de " nettoyer " une section du pare du Mont-Royal surnommee la "Jungle ". Cette zone du pare etait consideree comme un lieu de rassemblementpour lespersonnages dit "immoraux". Les journaux les caracterisaient comme ivrognes, criminels, maniaques sexuels, pervers et, surtout, homosexuels. Pour debarrasser le pare du Mont-Royal de sa Jungle et de ceux qui s'en sont approprie, la ville a elabore un plan radical qui visait a simplifier le travail du service de police : le defrichement ecologique de la jungle. Le defrichement de la Jungle, un processus connu sous le nom des " coupes de la moralite", a eu un effet d'eroder les caracteristiques environnementales et ecologiques du viont Royal, avec la repercussion inunediate de transformer le pare en "mont Chauve". La mobilisation acteurs civiques tels que le Montreal Parks and Playgrounds Association ainsi que des fonctionnaires au service des pares a permis l'elaboration d'une strategie de restauration l'ecologique du pare.
"Chesterley was a fool who wen' alone for a walk on the mountain. Someone attacked 'im--."
--The Body on Mount Royal (1)
In the roman noir The Body on Mount Royal (1953) David Montrose depicts a covert underworld rife with gambling, murders, and hardboiled characters. Montrose's novel captures the public perception in 1950s Montreal that Mount Royal Park was a perilous space. As the main character of the novel states, "I'll take you anywhere. I'll tell you anything you want to know. And I'll give you one piece of advice. Don't walk alone on Mount Royal at night." (2) In another passage, the fictitious chief of the Montreal police states, "This is the first murder to be committed this year in Mount Royal Park, the scene of brutal killings on many past occasions." As in this article's epigraph, he denounces foolhardy nocturnal wanderings in the park. In the book, Montreal's nightlife is dominated by an underworld and shady characters whose tentacles extended beyond nightclubs and clandestine gambling houses and into public space. Mount Royal Park in the 1950s was, indeed, permeable to these illicit nocturnal activities. This was most true of the area widely referred to as the "Jungle," located near the corner of Mont-Royal Boulevard and Park Avenue, a site propitious to crime.
This article examines the responses developed by Montreal's municipal government as it dealt with public immorality in one of its most valued public spaces, Mount Royal Park. During the immediate postwar period Montreal's clerical-nationalist circles engaged in a fierce struggle against the perceived degeneration of public morality. (3) The city first managed the crisis by focusing on areas viewed as morally depraved, beginning with the closure of the red light district in 1944. (4) Its closure did not signify a return to a laissez-faire attitude, however. Rather, social anxiety concerning behaviours leading to immorality, crime, venereal diseases, and prostitution, especially among Montreal youth, peaked. In 1949-50 the ex-assistant director of the Montreal Police Service, Pacifique "Pax" Plante, explained through a controversial series of publications in Le Devoir how municipal authorities-political and police alike-fostered and protected vices such as gambling and prostitution. (5) Plante's revelations stirred controversy, and Montreal's population became acutely sensitive to the subject of vice. According to cultural historian Will Straw, the sensational tone and the tantalizing character of the places-illegal drinking holes or gambling houses-Pax Plant wrote about enhanced his reputation as an adventurous urbanite. (6) Indignant, some citizens gathered to demand a judicial enquiry into the situation of public morality in Montreal. As historian Mathieu Lapointe argues, this obsession concerned public morality primarily, which culminated with the Caron inquiry 1950-4. (7) Viewed from another angle, postwar social conditions combined to protect youths from harm and sexual and moral degradation, as sociologist Mary Louise Adams argues in The Trouble with Normal. (8) Through social anxiety surrounding sexual activities and the corruptibility of youth, it became obvious to Montreal's authorities that better surveillance of the city's public space was needed.
In '"Holy Retreat' or 'Practical Breathing Spot'?" Robert McDonald chronicles how Vancouver's Stanley Park, once inaugurated, was horticulturally neglected for two decades. Contentious debates around accessibility, recreational space, development, and preservation ensued, with various groups claiming stewardship of the park. (9) Similarly, and as an emblem of Romantic Victorian design, Frederick Law Olmsted's Mount Royal Park was only infrequently manicured by park authorities from its creation in 1876 through to the postwar period. Over decades of inaction a so-called Jungle of trees and undergrowth bloomed along its northeastern flank. By exploring the intersection of morality, sexuality, city politics, and the midsummer environment of urban parks-where greenery and warm temperatures allow for a multiplicity of activities-we come to understand how political decisions and spatial planning converged in Mount Royal Park during the 1950s. Quite simply, the city's moralist agenda dovetailed with control of the environment in urban public space.
This article will demonstrate how postwar notions of morality led Montreal authorities to reconceive Mount Royal Park's landscape, ultimately leading to its redesign, a process known as the Morality Cuts. The disorder of this public space varied in scope and intensity according to the source; at times newspapers described the Jungle as infested with drunkards, criminals, or a seemingly interchangeable collection of sex maniacs, perverts, and homosexuals. They participated in a wide range of transgressive behaviours: they consumed alcohol, engaged playfully in sexual encounters, and-as Montrose notes-occasionally assaulted passersby. The chaotic character of the site fascinated the printed press, who characterized the Jungle as a theatre of fear in numerous sensational articles. Therefore, this article transcends the literature on mid-twentieth-century Montreal moral anxiety to focus on space-specifically, how moral regulation affected Mount Royal Park's environment. It sheds light on the intersections of morality discourses, municipal governance, and environmental management in a densely used public space.
After the brutal murder of a young child and a high-profile court case involving a youthful Jean Drapeau-who would be elected mayor of Montreal in 1954-a hegemonic campaign from the police department and elitist editorials in anglophone newspapers called for the immediate elimination of the Jungle. This generated attention at city council and forced them to allocate a great deal of money to combat the perceived immorality in the park. This new project of rule in Mount Royal led to new dynamics between park wanderers and Jungle occupants, thereby othering those in the Jungle. For park wanderers and authorities, the park's safety could be achieved through improved surveillance; for some, this meant physical surveillance and increased presence of police officers; for others, it meant the redesign of the Jungle area, which would concentrate on increased artificial lighting and new environmental attributes-essentially clearing the forest. These contested ideologies were articulated publicly in newspapers by editors, city councillors, civic groups like the Montreal Parks and Playgrounds Association, architects, and civil servants, who each, in their own way, articulated a vision for Mount Royal Park's future. All agreed that action should be taken in the Jungle, not as a scheme to reform malignant characters, but rather as a step to protect children who played in the nearby playground in Fletcher's Field. Most frightening of all for parents was the thought that their children could and would venture into the Jungle unbeknownst to them. Eventually city council formulated a plan that increased surveillance by clearing the Jungle of its underbrush, diseased trees, and bushes. This plan, however, caused great ecological degradation, to the extent that the Mountain earned the nickname of Mount Baldy, or Mont Chauve.
Morality in Montreal Parks
[Le mont-Royal] offre des pistes d'equitation pour les cavaliers et amazones, des allees ombreuses pour les petltes gens en piquenique, la musique, les soirs de gala, le silence, le repos et la verdure pour tous. Il est /'effort de justice de la ville. Il est son effort de poesie. Il est sa belle illusion. II est peut-etre sa conscience intime. La-haut, les bras illumines de sa croix dessinent le geste de la duree et de la comprehension. (10)
Gabrielle Roy, 1941
Faced with a deepening public crisis over the morality of its youth in the 1940s, Canadian police forces invented new technologies of surveillance and discipline, and in turn reshaped their role in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. (11) The creation of the Juvenile Prevention Bureau in 1947 signalled the arrival of new bureaucratic measures of surveillance, leading to the centralization of processing minors and police records on "bad" youth. (12) Greater police enforcement enabled nocturnal surveillance and established a comprehensive sexual geography of the city. According to Straw, for the newly formed Comite de moralite publique, the extension of entertainment and human sexual activities late into the night resulted in deliberate infractions of urban law and propriety by identifiable transgressors. (13) Indeed, obsessed with night-time sociability in a city widely viewed as open and corrupt, the Comite de moralite publique's reports described suspicious forms of sexual interaction transpiring on the streets outside bars or upon their premises. (14) An essential part of the moralist agenda was preventive action and educational reform. Particularly, for parents, teachers, and citizens was the city's blooming postwar youth. (15) In short, to ensure morally pure youth, reformers focused their efforts on spaces that naturally attracted them-parks.
In 1945 Rosaire Morin, president of the conservative group Jeunes Laurentiens, requested that authorities equip city parks with increased surveillance, better lighting, and imposition of fines for persons arrested on charges of immoral acts and for frequenting these spaces after 11 o'clock at night. (16) Another civic group, the Comite diocesain d'action catholique, wrote to the president of the city's executive committee, J.-O. Asselin, demanding that the municipal government fulfill its modernization program by improving lighting in streets and parks of the city. According to these groups, immorality in city parks was a problem solvable through a three-step modernization program that included eradication of mischievous youths, increased policing, and artificial lighting. They demonstrated that Mount Royal Park was not immune to modernization schemes. Mount Royal Park was beginning to display similar characteristics to Montreal's slum: a public space that menaced public health, moral order, and the common good; a disordered space that represented an obstacle to the municipal authority's modernist plans. Like the slum, (17) Mount Royal Park would need to undergo transformation and regeneration.
As Lapointe argues, the authorities' preoccupation with parks was motivated partially by greater licentiousness during the 1940s and furthered by public outcry surrounding the grisly rape and murder of nine-year-old John Benson in Mount Royal Park on 24 February 1945. Benson's friends, who had planned to go skiing with him on the Mountain, discovered his body slashed and his head buried in the snow. Le Devoir highlighted the fact that the Police Department had never seen Montreal citizens this preoccupied by a criminal case. A youthful Jean Drapeau represented the defendant, Roland Charles Chasse. (18) Chasse was eventually convicted of the murder and hanged on 15 February 1946. (19) After the trial, an allegedly scandalized Jean Drapeau vowed to purge the city of vices and immorality. The violence of this tragedy propelled urban and park safety to the forefront of the public morality discourse.
As Magda Fahrni highlights in Household Politics, the postwar reconstruction of Montreal was marked by a transitory period where the household politics of men, women, and children demanded a place for family matters in the "public sphere." (20)
It is no surprise that policing city parks did indeed become a growing concern for authorities. An article published during the summer of 1946 argued that the lack of law enforcement and supervision in Mount Royal Park caused serious problems: "As result of this neglect, undesirable characters are again in evidence. A number of cases of young children being accosted have recently been reported. One would have imagined that the child murder which so shocked local parents a year and a half ago would have resulted in increased supervision of the entire Mountain Park. Will it take a repetition of that crime to bring the police back to the most heavily patronized section of the park, where they were formerly so much in evidence?" (21)
The article also specified the geographical location of the problems. It was not the entire mountain, but rather a specific section of it that caused concerns: "You may roam Fletcher's Field and the wooded slopes above for hours without sighting a protective uniform." Reporters and authorities focused their attention on Fletcher's Field and the eastern flank of the Mountain-the area referred to as the Jungle (figure 1). The Jungle is more than half a mile long, about 400 yards wide, and shaped like a horseshoe curving around the east slope of the Mountain from what is now Jeanne-Mance Park to Mount Royal cemetery. Police found that most offences occurred in the lower Jungle section, the section closest to Park Avenue and Mount Royal Boulevard, where the landscape included slopes and dense bushland on either side of the mountain tramline. In this sense it was a frontier; it divided urban civilization from untamed nature, security and insecurity, accessibility and inaccessibility. The construction of a tramline in 1928 helped to delineate the Jungle's territory; the tracks facilitated a route where people could walk and eventually dip into the unbridled jungle along its southwestern border.
The very existence of the Jungle contravened the original design and intentions of Mount Royal Park's landscape. Indeed, it is important to note the Victorian vision of Olmsted, who did not see the park as a natural space, but rather as a product in constant need of attention. (22) Partially responsible for the declining state of the park was the fact that up until 1953 the Public Works Department governed Montreal's Parks and Playgrounds. For several external reasons-such as declining municipal revenues, budget cuts, and crime-during the postwar period, parks and recreation faced expenditure cuts, which resulted in the decline of park maintenance and proper stewardship of public landscapes. This was especially true for Mount Royal Park, whose space was increasingly mismanaged and deteriorating. Therefore the park's problems reflected a double reality that oscillated between a need to modernize the city and moralize its populace. Therefore the Jungle was of particular interest due to the development of heavily wooded spaces that became the site of transgressive acts. We could also ask why the Jungle took shape in the part of the park closer to poorer francophone neighbourhoods, completely opposite Mount Royal Park's western flank, located in and around the elite anglophone Golden Square Mile and Westmount neighbourhoods. Perhaps it was because the eastern flank of the Mountain was the closest to the city's nightlife strip, Saint Laurent Boulevard, and was easily accessible from Mount Royal Avenue, Des Pins Avenue, or Park Avenue. Regardless, as we will see below, anglophone newspapers led the charge against the Jungle's status quo.
The "Undesirables" in the Jungle and Park Management
As the result of its geographic isolation, ecological conditions, and architectural design, the Jungle attracted a nocturnal community engaged in clandestine and transgressive behaviours. It was a space peripheral to the urban landscape where any individual could walk up and blend into the environment, become anonymous, and engage in perceived immoral activities. (23) Indeed, in a period of Cold War hostility toward homosexuality, men seeking men "under the mantle of darkness" became the chief suspects in the Jungle. According to Maurice Leznoff's 1954 sociological study of homosexuality in Montreal, the first of its kind in Canada, homosexuals converged on the Jungle as a response to a hostile society. (24) Leznoff's research brought unwanted attention to the community, which in turn increased police presence in the Jungle. Unable to repel media attention, Leznoff and his Jungle "informants" parted ways, thereby prematurely concluding his study. (25)
Though homosexuals were in many ways scapegoats for problems that occurred in parks-their behaviours were often mislabelled as "offensive" or "immoral"-serious criminal activity also gained attention. The perpetrators became entangled in the authorities' struggles to control streetscapes and parks for the safety of Montrealers. In a 1947 article Le Devoir stated that many municipal councillors complained that Montreal's parks had too few police officers surveying:
Un incident recent a montre jusqu'a quel point la surveillance laisse a desirer sur le mont Royal. Un etudiant de l'Universite McGill y est mort, frappe d'une balle, et son cadavre n'a ete decouvert que deux jours apres son deces. Interroge sur le sujet, le directeur des pares et terrains de jeux de la ville, M. Delphis Demers, a declare que l'on manque de surveillance "dans tous les pares ... Les dangers de la rue sont deja assez nombreux, sans que nos enfants soient exposes a des accidents dans les pares de la ville >>. (26)
Articles such as the one above remind us of parks' perceived importance to the well-being of children and the fact that the Mountain was a prospective space of surveillance for the police. The aforementioned characteristics that brought homosexuals into the park also attracted alcoholics, petty criminals, pedophiles, and murderers. The city's major newspapers capitalized on sensational articles and gradually constructed Mount Royal Park as an unsafe space, filled with social outcasts. Though the Jungle had loomed large historically within Montreal's homosexual community, it was in the specific context of 1950s morality campaigns that their presence in this space became a palpable issue for authorities.
Wishing to deter "undesirables" from Mount Royal Park, the director of the police department, Fernand Dufresne, renewed instructions to his officers to police Montreal's public parks, particularly at night. By establishing a presence in this space-often dressed as civilians-officers could counter loitering in parks. (27) As a newspaper article argued, the presence of police officers in parks at night was favourable to citizens, especially for children, and secured their "inalienable right of protection." (28) Park surveillance had not been a list-topping priority for the police previously, but given the historical context-the morality crusade and new interest in the safety of children-resources were increased.
Journalists sensationalized the fact that many of the park's nocturnal patrons were, according to the authors, sexual perverts, alcoholics, homosexuals, or thugs. Yet greater attention was given to the "problem of homosexuals frequenting Mount Royal Park," which formed part of the city's 1954 crime budget. (29) Albert Langlois, the director of the police service, rewarded people who helped the police department catch "dangerous criminals" through a system of honorary police membership. By inciting citizens to partake in vigilantism and capture criminals, the city was not only fabricating a proactive policing stance, but more importantly, elaborating a greater distinction between the Same and the unfamiliar Other. (30) Regardless, these preliminary tactics did not satisfy individuals who devotedly sought a safer, cleaner, and more tranquil park.
On 5 August the Montreal Herald ran an article entitled "Mount Royal Jungle 'Must Go,'" stating that better lighting, more police surveillance, and total elimination of the Jungle would make it safer for children and women to enjoy Mount Royal Park. Though Mount Royal Park had historically been known as a place of relaxation and recreation, recent crimes had led councillors to believe that the number of constables in the park was insufficient and police surveillance inadequate. (31) According to one councillor, "If the city isn't ready just now to cut down the bushes, then the area known as the jungle might be closed to children till that is done. As it is at present, it is more of a danger than a scenic attraction." (32)
The sentiment that dangerous criminals were omnipresent in Montreal reached an apex when six-year-old Raymond Trudeau went missing in July 1954. Days later his dismembered body was found stuffed in boxes near a garbage pile in the Old Port. (33) The crime, described as "le plus odieux et le plus revoltant commis a Montreal depuis de nombreuses annees," (34) generated a wave of support for police action from citizens, civic groups, and municipal authorities alike, who sought protective action in public spaces. (35) The following week the Montreal Gazette reported that the Montreal Trades and Labor Council (TLC) had also appealed to Montreal municipal authorities to liberate the city of "sex maniacs, vagabonds and drunkards roaming the streets, lanes and public parks." The 40,000-member body declared "all queer characters, whether they be drunkards or vagabonds, should be put away in appropriate institutions where they will not be a constant threat to children and others." (36)
The murder of Trudeau radically changed the public perception of any streets, lanes, and public parks that might harbour "sex maniacs, vagabonds and drunkards." (37) Clearly the Jungle was one of these spaces. Although the Jungle had historically been viewed as a space best avoided, crowded with "undesirable" characters, it had now transformed into a vile and threatening space. This sensationalized perception of Mount Royal Park persisted well into the 1960s as depicted in The Favourite Game, Leonard Cohen's autobiographical novel: "Nobody comes into a park for mean purposes except perhaps a sex maniac and who is to say that he isn't thinking of eternal roses as he unzips before the skipping-rope Beatrice?" (38) Shortly thereafter, the novel's main character encounters a war veteran in Mount Royal Park, a man whom the reader is invited to judge as a rampant pedophile: "A stout man of thirty in an Air Force uniform stood above him. He had been the centre of attention in the park a few days before. Several nurses complained that he had been too enthusiastic in the fondling of their male children. A policeman had escorted him to the street and invited him to move along." (39)
Following the molestation of a six-year-old girl in the Jungle, the Montreal Herald decided to investigate the Jungle. Robert Walker, a journalist for the newspaper, entered the Jungle in August 1954 to "learn the facts about the Jungle": "What goes on up there and who are the men who hide there?" he asked. "To try to answer these questions, I spent two nights as a jungle bum, drifting from spilled-beer dives on St. Lawrence blvd. to the east slope of the mountain.... I talked to tramps, prostitutes and perverts. When I'd finished my two nights as a derelict, I talked to police.... And it is, believe me, a jungle." (40) Walker's first article entitled "Denizens of Mountain 'Jungle' Lurk in Wait for Tots at Play," opened with the following sentence: "The police patrol it in pairs or in threes because it's a viper's nest of uncounted perverts and near-insane alcoholics.... Yet children play nearby." (41) The investigative piece sensationalized the issue at hand by depicting the behaviour of individuals in the Jungle as not only immoral, but as the essence of the city's impurities. Walker, like Cohen, played on the fact that children frequented spaces adjacent to it: "Children playing on the grass bordering Park ave. in the last of the sunlight are watched from less than 100 yards away by maniacs.... Occasionally a child wanders too close to the maw of the jungle." (42) This article indeed focused on the fact that the Jungle was a space that was favourable to immoral behaviour by highlighting the undergrowth, seclusion, and darkness of it--the space as a frontier through characteristics of ecological wilderness, otherness, and darkness. The Jungle was also, by virtue of these attributes, a hard section to police. Accordingly, Walker ended the article by mentioning that on the night he had spent in the Jungle a body had been found, suspended from a tree.
The second article, sporting an equally sensational title--"Dregs of Humanity Foregather In Sinister Mountain Woodland," focused less on the geography and the physical condition of the Jungle, and more on the behaviours and characters encountered within it. Here, Walker stated that he "saw gross indecency ... saw stunned drunkenness. The men who hide in the matted undergrowth of the mountain's east slope are perverts, homosexuals or alcoholics. Some of them are ordinary derelicts. Many of them are dangerous.... On the mountain I saw mostly trees and a view of Montreal at night but some of what I saw was indescribably disgusting." (43) Walker also disclosed that he witnessed scenes that were too graphic for the printed press. (44)
Finally, in a self-congratulatory manner, the Montreal Herald published another article a week later, which highlighted the praise they had received for their investigative work. William Bowie, executive director of the Montreal Parks and Playgrounds Association (MPPA), endorsed the articles and stated, "Something definitely should be done about the foul situation." (45) The executive secretary of the City Improvement League also endorsed the articles and stated that the Jungle "is a nasty thing to tolerate in this city of ours [but police] should cope with the problem, not civic groups." Indeed, such reforms would come straight from the executive council; more precisely, Councillors Emile Pigeon, Paul Bertram, and Armand Brisebois, who argued that the park could no longer be "left undeveloped as a pleasantly-wooded mountain hide-away"-such hideouts were, according to them, "very inviting for perverts." (46)
These articles also demonstrate that a proactive stance was the preferred position of anglophone newspapers and pressure groups, while francophone activism was almost non-existent. Indeed, by shedding light on these events, anglophone newspapers were essentially pressuring (largely francophone) city councillors to act upon this space. Though city council was receptive to the fact that something had to be done about the Jungle, they did not push for an outright and quick solution. Indeed, francophone and anglophone newspapers unwaveringly reported on the crimes committed in the Jungle, and similarly depicted the culprits as perverts, homosexuals, or alcoholics-depending on the story. The way these stories were presented, however, widely differed according to the source. While anglophone newspaper articles dramatized and sensationalized the issue with front-page headlines, francophone sources such as La Presse and Le Devoir preferred international or provincial news and buried Jungle-related stories deep in the day's print.
Whether journalists like Walker reported the truth or embellished details is of little importance; their arguments crystallized the image of the Jungle as a meeting place for the city's undesirable characters. Not only were these characters seen as engaging in outrageous activities, but moreover, they defiled the "romantic" nature and Victorian culture of Mount Royal Park. Together, journalists enabled the Jungle's transformation into a theatre of fear whose actors were sex maniacs, perverts, drunkards, and above all homosexuals. Indeed, the press argued that homosexuals were the most problematic and undesirable individuals in Mount Royal Park. Playing on the image of the mentally deranged queer, the press forged the redevelopment and cleaning of Mount Royal into a problem of public safety. Articles like "L"epuration' du Mont-Royal se continue" in Le Devoir, which reported that several men had been apprehended for participating in acts of indecency, argued that purging "immoral" men from Mount Royal would purify the environment. (47) The Jungle was their gathering place, and the authorities' crusade against them necessitated reinforcement: "L'administration municipal, de concert avec le service de la police, prend toutes les mesures possibles en vue de faire la chasse au groupe d'homosexuels qui ont pris l'habitude de se donner rendez-vous, dans la partie du pare de la montagne.... Presentement, (8) policiers y sont de faction et on etudie l'opportunite d'accroTre [sic] l'equipe." (48)
Before transforming Mount Royal Park, Montreal's police service came up with different tactics and strategies to preserve the moral and social order; among them was the use of agent provocateurs to ensnare homosexuals. (49) These tactics created relative uneasiness, since many observers viewed informal police tactics as a form of participating in vice and criminality, bringing officers into dangerous proximity with the sexual and moral deviance they were supposed to prevent. Though similar tactics were used elsewhere, in cities like New York, London, and Toronto, (50) what differentiated Montreal from other cities was its ecological and environmental approach to the problem, which stemmed from their morality crusade, beginning in the postwar period and extending into the 1950s. If this crusade began with local ambitions to dismantle gambling establishments, brothels, or corruption in municipal administration-culminating with the Caron Inquiry (1954), federal events such as postwar reconstruction schemes, the McRuer Commission (1954), or Cold War security measures influenced and shaped Montreal's unique position as a North American urban metropolis in search of a modern moral identity. (51)
Envisioning a Different Park
When the Montreal Herald asked what steps councillors would suggest to halt the drift of homosexuals to the Jungle, most supported the argument that by transforming the tramline into an auto roadway, where automobiles and buses of the Montreal Transportation Corporation could circulate, the park would be made much more attractive and its full development would then be worthwhile. Initially it was thought that by transforming the tramline into a useable bus line, a new, more desirable type of patron would frequent the Jungle-thereby driving out undesirable and immoral behaviours. One of the most insightful segments was an interview conducted with City Councillor Bertrand who declared, "The Mountain is hardly used at all now by our people. If we want to keep it as a major park, it must be improved.... I believe the mountain playground is not fully used now because there are no roads to let people get to the top." (52) This statement speaks of a specific crowd of Others on the Mountain segregated from what the councillor refers to as our people. The road was the initial solution offered to morality problems in the park. The call for "improvements" made by Councillor Bertrand can therefore be seen as a double process-a removal of the Other, through a clearance of the Jungle, simultaneous with a plan to give access to "our people" through the construction of a roadway.
Indeed, the chief concern in uprooting immoral behaviour was the fact that this section of Mount Royal Park remained an undeveloped frontier. In articulating these concerns the directors of both the police department and parks department, Alfred Langlois and Claude Robillard respectively, believed that the Jungle's clearance and "development" would effectively modernize the park: "Municipal officials agreed too that clearing of bushes away from the lower slopes of Mount Royal along Park ave. many years ago only sent degenerates, perverts and alcoholics higher up the mountain to wooded areas which still remain today." (53) The Montreal Herald the urged citizens to mobilize in favour of better lighting, a curfew, and closer police patrolling the Jungle to capture city council's attention. Nevertheless, it appeared that the newspapers had already attracted the authorities' attention, for next day city councillors requested a redesign of the Jungle.
Late during the evening on Thursday, 26 August 1954, the executive committee considered a motion from Councillor JeanPaul Gregoire, and seconded by Councillor Pigeon, concerning the clearing of the eastern slope of the Mountain (the Jungle):
WHEREAS the Mountain is the scene for certain immoral acts;
WHEREAS, in spite of supervision by the Montreal Police, this state of affairs is becoming worse and such offenses are becoming daily more numerous;
WHEREAS appearances in Municipal Court for such offenses are constantly increasing as was recently pointed out by Chief Judge Roland Paquette;
WHEREAS it would be desirable to take the necessary steps to end this condition which has become a social problem;
WHEREAS it is advisable to assist the Police Department in making its work easier;
WHEREAS the work of the Police would be facilitated if the eastern flank of the mountain were cleared and lighted;
That the Executive Committee by requested to consider the advisability of clearing the east slope of the Mountain and of providing that this locality, frequented by persons committing such offenses, be better lighted in order to diminish the incidence of these occurrences. (54)
This motion was prepared following a police report recommending better lighting on Mont-Royal and the removal of dense undergrowth. (55) Councillor Gregoire stated, "II est desirable de prendre les mesures necessaires pour faire cesser cet etat de choses qui devient un probleme social." (56) At the root of this social problem, he argued, was this public space, which had become a "rendezvous for abnormal people." (57)
A few days after the resolution, the press continued to report the problems persisting in the Jungle. The Montreal Herald reported that following a police raid in the area, the number of persons apprehended and charged for gross indecency now approached 500 for the summer of 1954 alone. (58) This article reiterated the landscaping issues of the Jungle-the low-lying brush and darkness of the nocturnal woods, but also advocated for a new motor road to follow the tramline's grade up and around the Mountain. This latest statement emphatically confirmed the determination to modernize Mount Royal Park's facilities, an answer to postwar progressive needs as well as greater police enforcement of the area. In the end, council voted in favour of the motions of 26 August, not so much out of a modernist need, but rather to guarantee the safety of families using Mount Royal Park. (59)
That summer, the Public Works Department of Montreal hired New York landscape architects Gilmore Clarke and Michael Rapuano to "develop" Mount Royal Park. (60) Their firm was awarded $240,000 to draw up plans within a year, with an estimated budget of $6,000,000 for "the rehabilitation of the existing facilities and otherwise to develop and improve the area known as Mount Royal Park." (61) Working closely with the director of public works and the director of the parks department, they formulated a master plan for the park. However, the future of the park was at a crossroads. Could the park retain its Romantic Victorian appeal? Did the modernization of the park and its facilities foreshadow a new architect for Mount Royal Park altogether? Or rather, could these two seemingly irreconcilable visions be incorporated into a single design? And would such schemes truly repel certain individuals from the park? Such questions have long animated debates among a wide array of civic actors including planners, city executives, architects, engineers, and civic leaders. As Michele Dagenais argues, from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth, Montreal's parks could not be disentangled from their urban setting as they reproduced cultural standards or infrastructures of British or American influence. (62) Similarly, Clarke and Rapuano had to carefully balance and connect the two visions in their final plans, especially as interest groups from both sides mounted pressure.
Responding to Montreal's North American setting and offering a dash of American influence, Clarke and Rapuano's vision accorded greater value to the modernization of Mount Royal Park than to conserving its Victorian appeal. Officially, their Programme for the Development of Mount Royal Park divided the new landscape design into two distinct measures; restoration of the ecological environment and the development of park facilities and equipment. (63) However, as the MPPA prepared to meet the new mayor, Jean Drapeau, they noted that the plan presented a coarse modernist view that went against the park's vocation as a "refuge of quiet beauty contrasting with the noise and tension of the city below." (64) The program's slated development of the area for a motor road, sports facilities, concert hall, or museum contravened the scenic and tranquil essence of Olmstead's design. As the MPPA suggested, the hiring of Clarke and Rapuano signified an ill-considered philosophy that sought to overdevelop the park: "In July 1954, the publication of the instructions given to Messrs. Clark [sic] and Rapuano, the New York landscape consultants, marked the inception of a new policy based on a radically different concept, though this may not have been clearly recognized at the time. Certainly, the consequences of the change were not foreseen.... We welcome the program of tree-planting and of landscape development, but believe that these programs, together with other work in the park, should be brought under a system of design control," (65)
Nevertheless, the MPPA's comment reveals that they did not wholly reject plans for Mount Royal. Indeed, the Jungle aside, the ecology of Mount Royal Park had been progressively deteriorating. As sources reveal, little attention was given to the park's ecological well-being in the 1940s and 1950s. As Jean-Joseph Dumont, superintendent of the Montreal Parks Department's Forestry Division, stated in 1956, sections of Mount Royal Park had degraded with such rapidity that, according to him, within a decade the park would become unserviceable to Montreal's culture. (66) His statement in fact conveyed Mount Royal Park's role as a tool of cultural betterment for Montreal's citizens, and the fact that this "cultural" institution had suffered from the municipal government's poor planning. Dumont envisioned Mount Royal Park as a naturally densely wooded forest. When the clearance of the Jungle became a prominent issue, park advocates demanded that authorities include a restorative strategy for Mount Royal Park's whole ecology, a plan that partnered well with the proposed development of the Jungle. This way the authorities would respond to two perceived needs in Mount Royal Park: clearance of the Jungle and cutting down dead or dying trees (figure 4), while preserving a clear Romantic aesthetic landscape.
Taming the Jungle and the Mountain 1955-1958
The re-landscaping of Mount Royal Park occurred incrementally as the administration unloaded funds for the project. This meant that physical work in the park increased according to a fluctuating budget-the more laborious work was held off, while small-scaled work was addressed immediately. To encourage development the Montreal Herald stated, "Public opinion will force the new city administration to provide ample funds in the 1955-56 budget to eliminate the Jungle' on Mount Royal." (67) According to the newspaper, though city council had urged that bulldozers be sent into the park to clear out the underbrush in autumn 1954, city council asked councillors to wait until the receipt of further park layout plans from Clarke and Rapuano before demanding an all-out campaign against the Jungle, whose clean-up was estimated to cost up to $100,000. (68) Although the Montreal Herald called upon citizens to "force" the Drapeau administration to undertake the cuts, the lack of response by actors such as the Montreal Parks and Playgrounds Association revealed their ambivalence about initiating developments within the park.
In the summer of 1955 electric lights were added on the Mountain; this was the first act that noticeably altered the original design of the park. Though lights were foreign to the original conception of certain parts of the park, it was "for the sake of safety and convenience, [that] some touches of civilization have been added." (69) Street lamps were added along roads, paths, and stairways to increase artificial lighting and enhance the feeling of security. It was thought that they would be useful, not only for nightly security, but also to enhance the charm of the Mountain: "Subdued lighting would detract little from its unspoiled charm, but would be of real benefit. For the visitor overtaken by darkness ... its expanse is magnified." (70) This movement from darkness to light represented a "symbolic movement from disorder, depravity, and dangerous privacy to order, morality, and the purity of full publicity." (71) The taming of the Jungle had begun.
In 1957 the city's restoration strategy for the Jungle and Mount Royal Park as a whole was finalized, after the city accepted and made Clarke and Rapuano's overarching master plan official. (72) Indeed, rather than simply transform the Jungle, the authorities opted to redevelop the increasingly dilapidated Mountain. Hence in October 1957 employees from the forestry division began to cut and clear; they predicted that the Jungle would disappear within two years; "Des arbres malades y sont abattus. Les epaisses broussailles sont eliminees. Et l'on procede a des travaux de nivellement [sic] sur le terrain rocheux. D'autre part, dans d'autres secteurs, 500 arbres seront plantes cet automne." (73) Most of the trees cut down were birches, but workers also targeted ill elms, maples, and ashes, which would all be replaced by more "vigorous" species. (74) At first these included resinous and evergreen plants and trees, whose attributes were more favourable to the Mountain's soil and weather conditions. Superintendent Jean-Joseph Dumont stated that with the clearing of the Jungle, it was as if he had been given a vast expanse of new parkland and his division's duties had to be extremely meticulous: "We are saving the healthy, stately trees and giving them room to breathe by cutting down the diseased, damaged, and deformed ones." (75) The Mountain was effectively transformed into a "cast laboratory for the trimming course." (76) Thirty men, including fifteen students of the forestry division's tree-trimming course, carried out the work. They cut down trees, including over 400 types of plants that had rotted or been choked out, and continued their work well into the winter of 1957-8. Within a few months Montreal's Jungle had disappeared (figure 5).
The strategy as a whole, which had involved cutting down some 3000 dead, sick, or troublesome trees, had a pernicious effect on the whole mountain, leading to the erosion of the park's land. "We are losing trees by the hundreds," confessed Robillard in the fall of 1957, "and this in turn causes erosion of the land and additional expenses." (77) Indeed, in areas where the vegetation was compact, the authorities decided that it was better to cut down a birch if its space would mean that an oak could breathe and survive. Lacking vegetation, most importantly trees and undergrowth, erosion worsened the condition of the Mountain, creating a vicious cycle of soil erosion and windthrow-less vegetation meant more soil erosion and therefore weaker plants (figure 6). The systematic elimination of the underbrush accentuated these issues and effectively fashioned Mount Royal Park's "bald" image. As one opinion piece pointed out in 1959, "Moussorgski n'aurait jamais imagine que sa musique prendrait une telle actualite a des milliers de milles de l'Oural!" (78) According to the author, Night on Bald Mountain by Russian composer Modest Moussorgsky reflected the ecological and metaphysical state of Mount Royal Park at that time. The unintended result revealed the intricate relationship between modernist ideals and the natural environment; "the administrators' forest" increasingly made the park an artificial construction and demonstrated the irony of human intervention in the park. (79)
By removing the wild and overgrown ecological elements from this space, the authorities believed that they achieved their goal to expel transgressive individuals from Mount Royal Park. The senior prosecutor of Montreal, Jacques Fournier, best articulated this sentiment, though for him, the issue had always been homosexuals:
We have the privilege to have a mountain right in the middle of the city, but it is too convenient, and the homosexuals were going there, and for a number of years some of them were arrested, but great work has been done to get rid of them at that place so that in 1954, we will say, the police took action to get rid of them on the mountain. Now where are they? They are not on the mountain. The mountain is a solitude, and during the summer those people were there. (80)
As the Jungle was cleared, the city could state that their moralist agenda, especially morality in public spaces, had literally reached its summit, effectively demonstrating the limitlessness of morality-going "above and beyond" any height of the city, surpassing the natural environment. (81) For the parks department, their intervention was not a redesign as such, but rather the development of a forgotten area of the park. They gave new life to Olmsted's design of nature and repositioned it as a place of "solitude," tranquillity.
The designer of Mount Royal Park's Beaver Lake Pavilion, Hazen Sise, declared that the moralist agenda of the authorities had overpowered the park's Romantic design. Sise lamented the "sadly ragged appearance" of Beaver Lake Pavilion, observing that Mount Royal Park had its share of behavioural problems, but "it does not seem to affect the design of forest parks in other lands. Are we less law-abiding? Do the fires of youth burn more strongly in Montreal? It may be so, but I doubt it." (82) Jean-Joseph Dumont expressed similar concerns when he asked, "Est-ce une fagon de combattre le mal que de couper ras de terre des jeunes arbres ... dont la seule faute etait d'avoir pousse dru dans une terre riche et feconde? Les arbustes, les arbrisseaux, les jeunes arbres ont disparu du Mont-Royal ... et le vice, a-t-il aussi ete emporte par les flots du St-Laurent? J'en doute I!" (83) The development of the Mountain can be viewed as an attempt by the authorities to control nature and the Mountain park, proving their dominion over the environment. The authorities had reshaped the landscape of Montreal's most predominant topographical feature, consequently reproducing Mount Royal Park's historical role as a landmark reflective of power relations. (84)
Ecological Degradation and Regeneration
In light of the changes occurring on the Mountain, the Montreal Citizens' Committee (MCC) circulated a letter among groups who they believed had the best interests in the park. Their letter, a call to arms for architects and planners alike, surveyed the past failures of the authorities and called for the park to be given an "identity," which they hoped would secure its future from encroachment and development. (85) The ecological degradation was also reported in the Montreal Gazette: "Instead of the stately mellowness of an old area, long cared for and valued, too many parts of the mountain are coming to have the bleakness of the frontier." (86)
However, Mount Royal's ecology was suffering not only from past human-induced damages, but also from tenacious and unwanted natural forces. According to Superintendent Dumont, Mount Royal Park's trees were being ruined by "the superabundance of squirrels," an issue that could be curtailed by "trapping many annually to ship them to northern forests." (87) Mice were also an issue, since they chewed bark and ate seeds, and insects ruined the park's ecological diversity; nevertheless, Dumont offered no solutions and simply stated that these were problems that required much attention. These issues reiterated the fact that though landscape designs should "appear" natural or naturalistic, they were very much produced through human "intrusion" to counter "natural" forces; as Sean Kheraj states, such projects are a struggle against the autonomy of nature. (88) In addition to the costs associated with replanting trees and greenery, the slopes of the Mountain had to be dammed to control water erosion. Another problem, the biggest one, according to Parks Director Claude Robillard, was erosion. (89) In fact, this problem was so serious that if heavy rainstorms occurred during the morning, Mountain dirt could be found in the St. Lawrence River in the afternoon. Controlling erosion had a hefty price tag, according to landscape architect Hazen Sise, who blasted the costs incurred by municipal mismanagement of the park.
What remained clear to both Dumont and Sise was that the Morality Cuts were the principal cause and aggravator of soil erosion, particularly on the steepest slopes. (90) The authorities had entered Mount Royal Park to tame its Jungle but failed to rehabilitate its environment. According to Dumont the goal remained to transform the park as rapidly as possible "de foret delabree qu'il est, en un pare d'ornement" (91) (figure 6). Interwoven in Dumont's comments were new and emerging horticultural concepts in urban forestry and park management that offered a solution for the park's rehabilitation. Mount Royal Park's environment would therefore be reworked according to a twofold plan. The first part was its rehabilitation, which began in 1958 with the creation of a drainage system in the Jungle area to preserve Mount Royal's soil. (92) Though this project was initially thought to be part of a five-year program, Dumont later recognized that the project at hand was much grander than anticipated, stating that it was more likely to take fifteen years as a result of "the master problem" of soil erosion. (93) City workers responded to the urgency of the situation by working the soil and adding species of evergreens (White spruce, Red pine, and Scots pine) that were plentifully available at the Berthierville provincial nursery. (94) The second and more laborious work was the arboreal rehabilitation of Mount Royal through extensive planting and curation of the park's trees. Though evergreens had been planted, bringing the tree total on Mount Royal to 33,577, planting during the summers of 1959 and 1960 dwarfed that of any previous years. Requiring safety belts and ropes, teams of foresters planted trees and cut down diseased ones on the steepest slopes of the Mountain. (95) Most trees planted then were Canadian spruce or firs, depending on the shade. (96)
Table 1 compares tree plantings in Montreal's parks over a decade. Drawn from the 1960 annual report of the forestry division of the parks department, it exemplifies the immense push to make the city green, and most importantly, Mount Royal Park. (97) Trees had become an important source of concern at city council as the result of economic studies boasting their value and societal impact. (98) The forestry division of the parks department planted 6,804 trees during 1957, according to their annual report. Mount Royal Park, however, gained only "97 trees on the year because 6,707 had to be cut down-1,397 old trees which had died, 338 removed for works, 383 damaged by storms or accidents, 952 cleared from Mount Royal Jungles [sic]," and a number of others died during the winter. (99) At this point the forestry division envisaged planting 50,000-60,000 trees in Mount Royal Park, with 14,000 in the immediate future of this transitory phase. Most would be white spruce, and once erosion had been countered, they could start planting deciduous trees. As part of a citywide reforestation program, Dumont cheerfully stated that they planted 28,254 trees in 1959 alone. (100) This colossal task is even more impressive if we compare Montreal to Toronto, where the latter city planted 5,000 trees in its streets and parks between 1957 and 1959.
"For the first time in her life Montreal's ageless coquette is taking beauty treatments," exclaimed the Montreal Star in 1961. (101) Executive Committee Chairman Lucien Saulnier announced that the city had approved a $5,000,000 ten-year project to convert the Mountain into "a real park rather than a scraggly forest." (102) The city designated areas around the northern half of the Mountain crest for double rows of poplars (which would reach thirty to forty feet in height) to counter the damaging windthrow, which had been "smashing trees" for years and stunting their growth. (103) Moreover another ingenious engineering feat enhance soil properties; during this time modernization projects on St-Joseph Boulevard and Pie IX Boulevard had supplied earth fill for the Mountain, ensuring soil supplies for planting and growing areas in the park to make it "proper for nicer-looking trees" (104)-a step away from the transitory resinous trees used to rehabilitate the park. With this soil supply the park could therefore enter a phase of rehabilitation and "beautification" by planting more aesthetically impressive species. Montreal planted more trees than any city in the world in 1960. (105) By 1964 the forestry division began planting wide-ranging types of trees, Norway maples and silver maples, pines, spruce, oak, ash, and elm trees, for a total of 8,500 that year. (106)
Over the span of two years the forestry division planted over 60,000 trees on the Mountain. An addition 15,000 were planted over the next two years, to give the Mountain over 105,000 new trees. Although Dumont's interventions were understood at the time as having a positive impact on Mount Royal Park's environment, their long-term consequences were mixed. Mount Royal was the subject of an ecological survey in the late 1980s, in which biologist Richard Boivin emphasized the poor choice of vegetation planted in the 1960s. According to him the intervention of the 1960s did not respect the intrinsic value, nor did it consider the instability of the Mountain's space. (107) The challenge for future planners and landscape architects, in his view, was to satisfy the public's recreational demands without changing the natural environment or causing irreversible damage to it. (108)
Montreal's 1950s moralist project of rule crept across districts and neighbourhoods. Following municipal closure of the red light district, authorities sought to accomplish similar results within the confines of Mount Royal Park. In this sense, their ideological endeavour was also geographical. The fact that the municipal authorities' strategy of power mutated in the span of a decade from places that were perceived as essentially immoral, towards spaces "designed" for recreation and youths, also meant that the morality of youths was a central concern. This rhetoric reinforced the notion that the "open city" had to be controlled and that this control would begin with the city's young people. Though the clearing of the red light district had been "straightforward," the same tactics, as we have seen, did not translate smoothly to Mount Royal Park. Unlike the modernist construction layering over the historical site of the slum, Mount Royal Park's environment was home to a diverse ecology that needed to be nurtured and attended to.
Let us then consider the initial context that led to the park's re-planning: the authorities' citywide moralist agenda. In 1959, a few years after completion of the Morality Cuts and before the park's rehabilitation, city council was the site of an exchange between Mayor Sarto Fournier, City Commissioner Alfred Gagliardi, and the Director of the Police Department Albert Langlois. Gagliardi asked Langlois if Montreal was home to homosexuals, asking, "II y avait autrefois beaucoup de surveillance qui se faisait sur la montagne. Est-ce que ga se fait encore?":
M. Langlois : On n'en fait pas, parce que la partie de la montagne qui etait le refuge a ete coupee. La jungle a disparu.
[M. Alfred Gagliardi:] Est-ce qu'on peut croire que la population peut se rendre sur la montagne sans danger?
R. Je n'ai eu aucune plainte en ce qui concerne la montagne depuis longtemps. (109)
Mount Royal's Jungle, characterized by undergrowth and dense woodland, made it harder for police to conduct surveillance and therefore predisposed it to attract "undesirable" and "immoral" individuals. Even though Mount Royal Park had long been the site of transgressive behaviours, as evidenced in Emile Nelligan's work, it remained largely a non-issue for authorities and the press until the 1950s. Wrapped up in city-wide moralizing, the taming of Mount Royal Park's Jungle began with a moral crusade.
While cities like Toronto, New York, and London policed their parks, they responded to transgressive behaviours by redesigning their urinals, improving lighting, and otherwise addressed these perceived problems without scarring their landscapes. Montreal's technical solution, however, adversely affected the park's ecology. As architect Hazen Sise observed, authorities elsewhere had found ways to address these issues without affecting the design of their parks. The historical process described above challenge the conventional belief that the "mountain has staved off ideological hegemonies just as it has managed to elude scores of wild-eyed projects that would have changed its identity." (110) We must understand the Morality Cuts as a re-appropriation of Mount Royal Park by the municipal government, responding to an established and active nocturnal community.
However, as the Jungle was cleared, the city did not reiterate its will to purify the space as it had intended, but rather took a functionalist stance, seeking to reconcile the needs to restore, develop, and modernize the park's dilapidated environment as a whole. This modernization came with a high financial cost as the city employed architects, foresters, and manual labourers. By 1961 Jean-Joseph Dumont, superintendent of Montreal's Parks Department's Forestry Division, no longer considered Mount Royal a "park" but rather as an unidentifiable landscape. Indeed, when he proposed to replant sections of Mount Royal, his goal was to "transformer progressivement le Mont-Royal en un pare." (111) With the obvious ecological degradation on the Mountain, coupled with the foreseeable economic costs, the parks department called for action on Mount Royal seeking to restore the park as a lush forest. He viewed the park horticulturally, with a full-tree canopy and floral underbrush.
After the cuts, Dumont sought to restore the ecology and vegetation of the park as best he could, making it his mission to re-establish Mount Royal Park as the lungs of the city (112)--a nostalgic reminder of its initial vocation within Montreal's urbanity. Dumont's work did indeed achieve what he, as well as several other interest groups, sought, ensuring the perpetuity of the forest: "Le Montrealais ne s'en doute pas et pourtant il est passe a deux doigts d'une catastrophe! Si des fonctionnaires municipaux aussi competents que clairvoyants n'avaient pas mis en oeuvre des mesures d'urgence et d'autres a longue echeance, le Montrealais aurait ete bien etonne et mortifie de voir le sommet du Mont-Royal se denuder petit a petit de ses arbres. Puis, un jour, au cceur de la metropole nous aurions eu <<le mont chauve>> ou <<la montagne pelee>>!" (113)
These efforts were not native to Mount Royal Park but were part of competing visions for the future of Montreal and its urban spaces. The muddle of the 1950s gave way to a call for planning that would regenerate Mount Royal Park. The Mountain's ecological condition had deteriorated, as the result of modernist ideals. The sharp contrast between its historical vocation as "an ideal place for outdoor play and relaxation," (114) and the surrounding modernization of the city shaped Mount Royal Park in the ensuing years and decades. What therefore constitutes the interest of this postwar period of mobilization is the apparent determination to reconcile urban development with respect for ecological integrity. In fact, a similar discourse resonated during the 1960s-1970s with the attitude of urban critics such as Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford.
Mount Royal regained public attention in Montreal two decades later, during the late 1980s, when a commission was established to determine the future of Mount Royal within the city's environment. (115) The park was eventually registered as a protected area, an "arrondissement historique et naturel" by the government of Quebec in 2003. (116) If this designation has stifled attempts to develop its land for public or private purposes, the Mountain remains a key site of public gathering where ideas are expressed and many behaviours remain unregulated. Year after year, millions of visitors enter the park sightseeing, exercising, and communing with nature on its slopes, and protesting or revelling under the George Etienne Cartier statue.
(1) David Montrose, The Body on Mount Royal (1953; Montreal: Vehicule, 2016), 165.
(2) Ibid. 12.
(3) Danielle Lacasse, La prostitution feminine a Montreal, 1945-1970 (Montreal: Boreal, 1994), 106.
(4) Following an injunction from military authorities who grew alarmed at the rates of venereal diseases among soldiers. Montreal effectively closed the red light district. Following its closure, an increasing discourse vilifying the "immorality of night" emerged. Daniel Proulx. Le Red Light de Montreal (Montreal: VLB editeur, 1997), 60.
(5) This series was eventually transformed into a published collection of articles. Pacifique Plante, Montreal sous le regne de la pegre (Montreal: Editions de l'Action nationale, 1950).
(6) Will Straw, "Montreal and The Captive City," Quebec Studies 48 (Fall 2009/ Winter 2010); 16.
(7) Mathieu Lapointe, Nettoyer Montreal: les campagnes de moralite publique, 1940-1954 (Quebec: Septentrion, 2014), 16; for gambling, see Suzanne Morton, At Odds: Gambling and Canadians, 1919-1969 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003); for indecent shows, see Viviane Namaste, C'etait du spectacle! L'histoire des artistes transsexuelles a Montreal 1955-1985 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005).
(8) Mary Louise Adams, The Trouble with Normal: Postwar Youth and the Making of Heterosexuality (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 3-4.
(9) Robert McDonald, '"Holy Retreat' or 'Practical Breathing Spot'?: Class Perceptions of Vancouver's Stanley Park, 1910-1913," Canadian Historical Review 65, no. 2 (1984): 127-53.
(10) Gabrielle Roy, "Apres Trois Cents Ans," Le Bulletin des Agriculteurs, September 1941, 38.
(11) For more on the roots of the postwar welfare state, see Dominique Marshall, The Social Origins of the Welfare State: Quebec Families, Compulsory Education, and Family Allowances, 1940-1955 (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006).
(12) According to Tamara Myers, the implication of these new developments was that youth-especially working-class, racialized, and those labelled "sexually precocious"-experienced unprecedented interventions from police in the name of protection, prevention, and discipline. Tamara Myers, "L'Escouade de la moralite juvenile de Montreal et la corruption des gargons dans les annees 1940," in Histoires de la sexualite au Quebec, ed. Jean-Philippe Warren (Quebec: Editions VLB, 2012), 70.
(13) As tools for capturing the nightly withering of commercial activity, the lists of the Comite are rich in the levels of empirical detail and moral judgement they provide. Will Straw, "The Urban Night," in Cartographies of Place: Navigating the Urban, ed. Michael Darroch and Janine Marchessault (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014), 192.
(14) Straw, "Montreal and The Captive City," 17.
(15) Lapointe, Nettoyer Montreal, 279.
(16) Livre des proces-verbaux du conseil central des jeunes laurentiens, 19451946, Centre de recherche Lionel Groulx, Fonds Rosaire Morin (P16/C.11); quoted in Lapointe, Nettoyer Montreal, 107.
(17) Eveline Favretti, "Montreal Fait la Guerre aux Taudis: Demolitions et Expropriations (1950-1966)" (MA thesis, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, 2014), 31.
(18) In court, Chasse recalled that on 24 February he drank a large quantity of Scotch and wine. Once drunk, he made his way to the Mountain and "II se rendit a jeune Benson qu'il assaillit. II le renversa dans la neige, lui planta son talon dans la figure, puis le poignarda a l'aine. II le violenta. II s'enfuit, laissant le cadavre dans la neige, mais il retourna plus tard." La Patrie, "Le tribunal agree la confession de Chasse," 30 May 1945. The trial allegedly shook Drapeau, who thereafter vowed to purge the city of vices and immorality; see Jean-Francois Roberge, "Influence de la presse ecrite sur Emancipation de la communaute gaie montrealaise au XX" siecle" (MA thesis, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, 2008), 20; Lapointe, Nettoyer Montreal, 107.
(19) John Benson was "found bound with his own ski straps after he had bled to death on Mount Royal Park." Montreal Gazette, "Benson Boy Murderer Hanged This Morning," 15 February 1946. See also Luther A. Allen, "L'aventure sexuelle clandestine : le cas du mont Royal," in Sortir de l'ombre: Histoires des communautes lesbienne et gaie de Montreal, ed. Irene Demczuk, and Frank W. Remiggi (Montreal: VLB, 1998), 92.
(20) Magda Fahrni, Household Politics: Montreal Families and Postwar Reconstruction (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 150.
(21) "Police Needed in Mountain Park," 31 July 1946, P118, S4, SS1, D74, Fonds Pierre des Marais (hereafter FPDM), Archives Ville de Montreal (hereafter AVM).
(22) "All that you have seen and admired of the old work of nature must be considered as simply suggestive of what that is practicable, suitable, and harmonious with your purposes of large popular use." Law Olmsted quoted in Jean-Claude Marsan, Montreal in Evolution: Historical Analysis of the Development of Montreal's Architecture and Urban Environment (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1981), 303.
(23) Edward William Delph, The Silent Community: Public Homosexual Encounters (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1978), 96-7.
(24) Maurice Leznoff, "The Homosexual in Urban Society" (MA thesis, McGill University, 1954).
(25) For a first-hand account, see Maurice Leznoff, "Interviewing Homosexuals," American Journal of Sociology 62, no. 2 (1956): 204. As Gary Kinsman argues, the community's response to further police presence in Mount Royal demonstrated their genuine fear of authority. Gary Kinsman, The Regulation of Desire: Sexuality in Canada (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1987), 119.
(26) Pierre Laporte, "La surveillance laisse a desirer dans les pares de la metropole," Le Devoir, 28 May 1947.
(27) "L'eclairage dans les pares: Nouvelles instructions du directeur de la police Me Fernand Dufresne," 8 July 1946, P118, S4, SS1, D74, FPDM, AVM.
(28) "Surveillance dans les pares le soir," 6 July 1946, P118, S4, SS1, D74, FPDM, AVM.
(29) "[Councillor Gerard Gauthier] mentioned the problem of homosexuals frequenting Mount Royal park, and Director Langlois disclosed that last year 268 of these cases had been arrested on the mountain." "Council Adopts 1954 Budget with Eye on Curbing Crime," Montreal Herald, 15 April 1954. MG 2079, C, 12-file 155, Montreal Parks and Playgrounds Association (hereafter MPPA), McGill University Archives (hereafter MUA).
(30) Defining the opposition between "the Same" and "the Other," Foucault states that the Other represents an unacceptable populace engaging in activities that necessitate policing and removal. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Routledge, 1989).
(31) "Mount Royal Jungle 'Must Go,'" Montreal Herald, 5 August 1954, MG 2079, C, 12-file 155, MPPA, MUA.
(33) Although this crime did not directly involve the Jungle, it overlapped with the core problems identified by city council with the Jungle: safety of children, dangerous criminals, and public space. Leopold Lizotte, "Le corps de l'enfant Trudeau trouve depece dans des boites," La Presse, 31 July 1954.
(34) As in the Benson case a decade earlier, the murderer was tried and hanged. La Presse, "Lucien Picard pendu a la prison commune," 11 February 1955.
(35) For another example of a sensational case involving the murder of a young child and citizen activism in urban Canada, see the case of Emanuel Jaques. Gilberto Fernandes, "Beyond the 'Politics of Toil': Collective Mobilization and Individual Activism in Toronto's Portuguese Community, 1950s-1990s," Urban History Review 39, no. 1 (2010): 59-72, https://doi. ora/10-7202/045108ar.
(36) Montreal Gazette, "Put Away Perverts, TLC Asks," 6 August 1954.
(38) Leonard Cohen, The Favourite Game (1963; Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000), 69.
(40) Robert Walker, "Denizens of Mountain 'Jungle' Lurk in Wait for Tots at Play," Montreal Herald, 16 August 1954. MG 2079, C, 12-file 155, MPPA, MUA.
(43) Robert Walker, "Dregs of Humanity Foregather in Sinister Mountain Woodland," Montreal Herald, 17 August 1954. MG 2079, C,12-file 155, MPPA, MUA.
(44) "Sometimes, with the wind in the trees for a background, you can hear a man retching violently in the bushes. While I was there, I heard unprintable language and saw the grotesque and the simply disgusting." Ibid.
(45) Montreal Herald, "Jungle Raids Stepped Up," 26 August 1954.
(47) Le Devoir, "L'epuration' du Mont-Royal se continue," 24 August 1954.
(48) Le Devoir, "Les 'invertis' du mont Royal seront pourchasses," 5 August 1954.
(49) Patrice Corriveau, Judging Homosexuals: A History of Gay Persecution in Quebec and France, trans. Kathe Roth (Toronto: UBC Press, 2011), 98.
(50) For Toronto, see Bart Sarsh, "'Disgusting' Noises, and 'Dangerous' Spaces: Tabloids, Sexualities, and Discourses of Perversion, Toronto, 1950-1965" (MA thesis, University of Toronto, 2005), For New York, see Delph, Silent Community. For London, see Matt Houlbrook, Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
(51) See Report of the Royal Commission on the Criminal Law Relating to Criminal Sexual Psychopaths (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1954); Gary Kinsman, '"Character Weaknesses' and 'Fruit Machines': Towards an Analysis of the Anti-Homosexual Security Campaign in the Canadian Civil Service," Labour/ Le Travail 35 (1995), 134.
(52) Montreal Herald, "Jungle Raids Stepped Up," 26 August 1954.
(54) Order 229 of the Special Meeting of 26 August 1954, VM074-6-D040, Fonds Comite executif (hereafter FCE), AVM.
(55) According to the Montreal Daily Star, these reports were probably the outcome of the brutal stabbing to death of nine-year-old John Benson in the Jungle a decade earlier, as well as the stabbing of Raymond Trudeau. Moreover the report suggested that there had been more than 350 arrests in the Jungle during the summer of 1954 alone. Lawrence Conroy, "City Council Moves to Clear Mount Royal 'Jungle' Area," Montreal Daily Star, 27 August 1954.
(56) La Presse, "Moyens suggeres par le conseil pour supprimer la 'jungle' du Mt-Royal," 27 August 1954, 13.
(57) Clive Clift, "Council Votes to Clear Jungle," Montreal Herald, 27 August 1954.
(58) This number was nearly reached following the arrest of the nine persons, one of which was a woman; each was charged and released on a total bail of $950 after pleading not guilty. Montreal Herald, "9 More Caught in 'Jungle Net,'" 31 August 1954.
(59) This was revealed in Councillor Guy Vanier's statement: "les peres et meres de families ainsi que les personnes a qui des enfants sont confies s'inquietent au sujet de la 'jungle' il est temps de prendre les moyens necessaires pour supprimer definitivement cette inquietude." La Presse, "Moyens suggeres par le conseil pour supprimer la 'jungle' du Mt-Royal," 27 August 1954, 13.
(60) Engagement d'architectes-paysagistes pour la preparation des plans du PARC MONT-ROYAL, 36(tm)serie conseil Rapports et Dossiers, 107, 249, AVM.
(61) Signed on 20 August 1954. Ibid.
(62) Michele Dagenais, Faire et fuirla ville: Espaces publics de culture et de loisirs a Montreal et Toronto aux XIXe et XXe siecles (Quebec: Presses de l'Universite Laval, 2006), 6-7.
(63) This program included twenty different aspects of the park that were earmarked for (re)development. Indeed, though the first three aspects of this program were "conservation and improvement of the natural beauty of the park, reforestation and erosion control, and provision of better areas ... in character with the topographic and other existing features of the park," the remainder emphasized the need to modernize the park's facilities.
(64) "Mount Royal Park: The Need for a New and Settled Policy--A Statement Prepared by the Montreal Parks and Playgrounds Association Inc. (15 June 1962)--Notes for a Discussion with Mayor Jean Drapeau," MG 2079, C,1--file 6, MPPA, MUA.
(65) Ibid. Emphasis in the original text.
(66) J.J. Dumont, Rapport relatif a l'etat actuel de la vegetation du Mont-Royal, Redige a la demande de son honneur maitre Jean Drapeau maire de Montreal (Montreal: April 1961), 1, P 173, 900.354, D8.1.9, Fonds Andre Bouchard (hereafter FAB), Archives de l'Universite de Montreal (hereafter AUM).
(67) Montreal Herald, "Clean-up of 'Jungle' Predicted," 1 February 1955.
(68) These plans hoped to include areas for many recreational purposes, for games of all sorts, and would recommend improvements to the system of park roadways and the building of new roads.
(69) Montreal Star, "Lights on the Mountain," 12 July 1955.
(70) Montreal Star, "Lights on the Mountain,"
(72) Extrait du proces-verbal d'une seance du Comite executif de la Cite de Montreal, tenue le 6 aout 1957, 36eme serie conseil Rapports et Dossiers, 107,249, FCE, AVM.
(73) La Presse, "La 'jungle' de la montagne disparaitrait d'ici 2 ans," 2 October 1957, 40.
(74) Montreal Matin, "Travaux de deblaiement en cours a la montagne," 8 November 1957.
(75) Montreal Gazette, "Vast Expanse of New Parkland Freed under Long-Range Reforestation Plan," 2 October 1957.
(76) Montreal Gazette, "'Jungle' Clearing Extended," 8 November 1957.
(77) Ross Warren, "Theatre Key Phase in Mountain Park," Montreal Star, 3 October 1957.
(78) 12 July 1959, P118, S4, SS1, D9, FPDM, AVM.
(79) As Scott states, human intervention in forests reduces resiliency: "The simplified forest is a more vulnerable system, especially over the long haul, as its effects on soil, water, and 'pest' populations become manifest." James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 22.
(80) Testimony of Jacques Fournier, QC, senior prosecutor in the City of Montreal, 975-94. Exhibit No. 43 (appended to p. 978), Royal Commission on the Law Relating to Criminal Sexual Psychopaths, quoted in Higgins, "Sense of Belonging," 103.
(81) This would be further exemplified with the idea of constructing a church on the Mountain with the capacity for 25,000, the biggest one in the city. 21 January 1953, MG 2079, C, 1-file 288, MPPA, MUA.
(82) Hazen Sise, "The Future of Mount Royal" (address at the seventieth Annual Meeting of the Province of Quebec Association of Architects, Lac Beauport, Quebec, 27 January 1961), MG 2079 C1, file 39, MPPA, MUA.
(83) Dumont, Rapport relatif, 9.
(84) Nadine Klopfer, "Upon the Hill: Negotiating Public Space in Early 20th Century Montreal," Zeitschrift fur Kanada-Studien 55 (2009): 102.
(85) The committee included planning consultants from the architectural firm Van Ginkel Associates; signatories of the letter included Hazen Sise, Harry Mayerovitch, Leslie Gault, and John Lynch-Staunton. "Mount Royal Park Proposal," 23 September 1960 Montreal Citizens' Committee AP 027. A12.02 ARCH253456, Van Ginkel Associates fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture Archives,
(86) This same article argued that "an increase of firs on some of these barren or blighted slopes would bring a most welcome refreshment to the eye." Montreal Gazette, "Bleakness on the Mountain," 7 May 1957.
(87) Paul Leduc, "City Approves Plan to Keep Mountain from Going Bald," Montreal Star, 21 August 1961.
(88) Sean Kheraj, Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013), 94-5.
(89) La Presse, "Vastes ameliorations en cours sur le Mont Royal: On veut rendre la montagne plus accessible aux citoyens de la metropole, sans sacrifier la beaute des lieux, dit M. C. Robillard," 21 May 1958.
(90) J-J Dumont stated that the "city's action a few years back in destroying the bush on a part of the mountain which was known as the jungle" was a primary cause to this degradation. Leduc, "City Approves Plan."
(91) Dumont, Rapport relatif.
(92) La Presse, "Vastes ameliorations."
(93) Montreal Gazette, "Beauty Treatments for Mountain Park Will Take 15 Years," 21 November 1959.
(94) Daniel Chartier and Denis Marcil, Pare du mont-royal: plan directeur d'amenagement des secteurs du sommet et de Tescarpement (Montreal: Division amenagement des pares, Service des loisirs et du developpement 108 communautaire, 1992), 13.
(95) The angles of these slopes were measured as being over 55 degrees in certain areas.
(96) Bob Hayes, "'Alpinists' Planting Trees to Save Mountain Slopes," Montreal Gazette, 30 September 1959.
(97) "Annual Report 1960," Forestry Division of the Parks Department, MG 2079 CI. file 41, MPPA, MUA.
(98) In 1958 a report stated that the city's trees were worth $42.5 million. This was based on Claude Robillard's estimate on valuations reached by US courts in assessing damages to trees in that country. Gazette, "City's 170,000 Trees Worth $42,500,000," 30 January 1958.
(99) Gazette, "City's 170,000 Trees." However, and more specifically, it was later reported that in 1957 only 7 tree was planted on Mount Royal whereas 936 were cut down. Roger Champoux, "Desastre evite de justesse: Quelques annees encore et le Mont-Royal etait sans arbres," P 173, 900.354, D8.1, FAB, AUM.
(100) Montreal Gazette. "Beauty Treatments."
(101) Don Newnham, "Mountain Receives 'Beauty Treatment,'" Montreal Star, 12 August 1961.
(102) Leduc, "City Approves Plan."
(103) Newnham, "Mountain Receives 'Beauty Treatment.'"
(105) Dumont confirmed this after verifying with fellow members of the International Shade Tree Conference. Ibid.
(106) La Presse, "Le reboisement du mont Royal."
(107) His ecological analysis had proven that "le couvert forestier parcellaire represente une mosaique de lambeaux de la foret originate voisinant les plantations, les boises regeneres naturellement apres une intervention humaine et des zones amenagees." Richard Boivin, "La vegetation forestiere du Mont-Royal (Montreal-Quebec)" (MSc thesis, Universite de Montreal, 1989), 81-6.
(108) Dumont's (ill-considered) choice of plants was the subject of another scientific study. This one demonstrated that the invasive qualities of the Norway Maple (planted during the 1960s) would eventually supplant the native sugar maple (A saccharum) on Mount Royal. Marie Lapointe, "Les facteurs ecologiques influengant la dynamique d'une espece exotique envahissante, Acer platanoides, et d'un congenere indigene, A. saccharum, dans une foret urbaine du sud du Quebec" (MSc thesis, Universite de Montreal, 2009).
(109) Comite de Moralite Publique, Meeting of the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal, 9 December 1959, CLG47, P47/H.10, BAnQ.
(110) Sherry Simon, Translating Montreal: Episodes in the Life of a Divided City (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006), 190. See her chapter "Conversations on the Mountain: Translating Memory."
(111) Dumont, Rapport relatif, 9.
(113) Roger Champoux, "Desastre evite de justesse," P 173, 900.354, D8.1, FAB, AVM.
(114) Tom Harrison, "Mourns Mountain's Natural Beauty," Montreal Star, 14 September 1961.
(115) Groupe d'intervention urbaine de Montreal, La Montagne en question : le projet municipal, la problematique d'amenagement, les usagers, le contexte administratif (Montreal: Groupe d'intervention urbaine de Montreal, 1988).
(116) Jeanne Corriveau, "La montagne est designee arrondissement historique et naturel-30 millions pour mettre le mont Royal en valeur," Le Devoir, 18 February 2003.
Matthieu Caron is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. His work focuses on nocturnal social culture in Montreal.
Matthieu Caron est un etudiant de doctorat au Departement d'histoire de l'Universite de Toronto. Ses travaux se penchent sur la culture sociale nocturne de la ville de Montreal.
Caption: Figure 1. Aerial photograph taken on 21 October 1956. Sectioning the image from left to right is Park Avenue; above Park is the area of Mount Royal Park known as the Jungle, below is Fletcher's Field. Source: VM10S-Y-1-D0422-01, AVM.
Caption: Figure 2. This postcard conflates the notion that evenings and nights in Mount Royal Park demand vigilant mounted police officers near the underbrush. Source: Postcard: "Evening on Mount Royal, Montreal"[between 1940 and 1960]. Collection Pierre Monette (CP 0004484916 CON), Bibliotheque et Archives nationals du Quebec (BanQ).
Caption: Figure 3. This snapshot was part of a photographic report produced on 18 November 1953, Pare du Mt Royal: Differents paysages. The report depicts various users and aspects of the park, notably hikers, squirrels, and patrons in the chalet's restaurant. Source: VM105-Y-1_0054-003, AVM.
Caption: Figure 4. An employee of the city's forestry division analyzes the decrepit state of a tree in autumn 1960. Trees in such a state were numerous at the time in Mount Royal Park. Source: Dumont, Rapport relarif a l'etat actuel de la vegetation du Monr-Royal, FAB, AUM.
Caption: Figure 5. Ground view of Mount Royal after the Morality Cuts in autumn 1960; notice the sparse trees and nearly non-existent underbrush. Source: Dumont, Rapport relatif a l'etat acruel de la vegetation du Mont-Royal, FAB, AUM.
Caption: Figure 6. View of Mount Royal's denuded summit following the Morality Cuts. Source: AVM, SAI, 10 May 1962, VM094, B009, 006.
Caption: Figure 7: Aerial photograph taken on 10 May 1962 (compare with vegetation in figure 2). Construction of the new roadway was tied to cutting back the Jungle. Source: A VM, SAI, 10 May 1962, VM094, Boot/, 018.
Caption: Figure 8. Deciduous trees in the background illustrate the abundance of newly planted Norway maples on Mount Royal on 26 January 1965. Source: VM94-A0178-017, AVM.
Table I. Tree Plantings 1951-1960 Year Number of trees planted in parks 1951 520 1952 302 1953 562 1954 388 1955 196 1956 464 1957 717 1958 888 1959 21,815 1960 36.139 * * 31,173 on Mount Royal
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|Publication:||Urban History Review|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2018|
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