Every Sunday afternoon from April to October, Montrealers flock to the hillsides of Mount Royal, in the city’s Downtown area. When the weather is nice, thousands of people will come here to take part in one of the many events that happen in the park. Regular park activities like picnics and cycling are popular, but what makes Sundays particularly interesting at Mount Royal is that there are quite a few rather quirky gatherings that happen here–chief among them is a live sword battle.
The role players of Mount Royal have chosen a name: they are the Guerriers de la Montagne (warriors of the mountain). Armed with foam swords and clad in a wide variety of accoutrements (some costumes pay tribute to the Middle Ages; others are of the more modern kind), their game does not require any continuity, and you just need a desire to fight (in a friendly yet passionate manner) to participate.
Many of the participants in this friendly combat are fans of Live Action Role Playing games (LARP). Some use this weekly meeting as practice for larger scale combats that happen in bigger venues out of town (like Bicolline), while others do it just for fun.
Strategy and skills are good to have in order to win more fights, but everyone is welcome to join in. All you need to be a part of the group is an open mind, a willingness to get dirty and a weapon. The first two are innate character traits that can’t be purchased, but the weapon itself can easily be made for under $20, or you may borrow one on the spot. The warriors have been gathering here in some way or form for over a decade.
On any given Sunday, the event welcomes dozens to hundreds of combatants. The first fighters generally arrive around 1 pm and they keep going until the last man stands. A good majority of the people participating are young men, but everyone is invited to join in the battle, including children.
Those not interested in taking part in the sword fights can set up camp on the grass nearby and enjoy the show. It’s a great way to spend a lazy, warm Sunday afternoon in Montreal.
Here’s a video shot live by one of the fighters:
Precise directions to find the warriors are tough to explain in writing so here’s a drawing on a map, which starts you out at the exit of Mont-Royal metro station.
For more interesting places to visit and things to do in Montreal, click here.