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(Dan Aponte / The McGill Tribune)

Café suspendu: A hidden gem on Mont Royal

Student Living by

Situated atop Mont Royal, Café suspendu offers an outdoor café, a spot to hang out with friends, and a panoramic view of the city. The project to create the space was launched by La Pépinière, a non-profit collective dedicated to creating community spaces throughout Montreal. The initiative’s most recent project, Café suspendu, takes advantage of the natural allure of the mountain to create a unique and charming environment for locals and tourists alike.

The café opened in June 2018 as a part of Ville de Montréal’s five-month ‘Projet Pilote’ initiative, designed to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Mont Royal and improve its accessibility. belvédère Camillien-Houde, the road along which Café suspendu is located, has been closed to personal-use vehicles as a part of the project in an attempt to make the road easier to reach for public transportation vehicles, bikers, and pedestrians. Sarah Normand, café and programming manager, explained that the project aims to preserve the future of the roadway and the surrounding area.

“[Belvédère Camillien-Houde] used to be a tramway until the ‘50s and ‘60s,” Normand said. “The goal [of the Projet Pilote initiative] was to think of the park in a different way, [and] to try to reduce the excess of the roadway [….] The Projet Pilote is all about trying new things, and we’ve had a good reception from Montrealers and tourists.”

Café suspendu is a convenient and inviting space for visitors to grab a coffee, enjoy the scenery, and embrace the community spirit. Creating café classics with basic tools and ingredients, the space offers a selection of coffee, tea, juice, beer, wine, cocktails, and various snacks.

Since its opening, the café has hosted a variety of events, including musical performances, tai chi sessions, and themed workshops. The space is built on a terrace with swings overlooking a sweeping view of the city from the Belvédère Soleil observation deck. The café’s homey design reflects the organizers’ goal to create a welcoming environment in which visitors can come together and appreciate the beauty of the mountain.

Still, what’s most appealing about the spot is the view, which is made especially vibrant by the changing fall colours. It’s the perfect stop on an excursion up Mont Royal to relax and enjoy the outdoors in the company of friends. The combination of nature and community is what sets the space apart from other local cafés, according to Normand.

“The big idea behind the space was to make something special, simple, and affordable for everybody,” Normand said. “What makes [Café suspendu] unique is its spontaneity and simplicity. [It adds] big value to a space, giving it colour and human presence.”

The collective is committed to promoting community involvement and empowering local patrons through the creation of inclusive environments, so all of the installations are free and designed to be accessible to the public. Café suspendu has embodied La Pépinière’s mission perfectly by providing an accessible and community-oriented meeting point on top of the mountain.

Café suspendu is accessible through public transit by taking the STM bus 11 or 711 from the Mont-Royal metro station and is also easily accessible by foot. The installation will be up until the end of October, but the café is only open on weekends.

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