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Down Into Montreal's Caves

Many Montrealers don’t know that Saint-Léonard has caves listed as official “Heritage Sites of Local Interest” and have walls of that are ridged with stratified limestone. Discovered in 1811 or 1812, according to an article published in Le Spectateur, the caves have a speckled history of being considered dangerous. In 1988 the city of Montreal, after studies had been conducted, declared the caves to be safe and opened them to the public under the watch of the Societe Quebecoise de Speleologie.

The act of going into caves to explore is known as spelunking and anyone can do so, of any age, as long as the person is in good health. The Saint-Léonard caves have two main sections, with the largest being the first room you walk into. It is a rectangular chamber, approximately two meters high, three meters wide and 13 meters long. After that, it is necessary to crouch through a small opening to continue to the second part of the cave and either walk straight or descend the first of two ladders.

The Saint-Léonard caves are open from May 25 to August 14, and has just closed for the 2010 season. The caves’ temperature is 5°C and relative humidity is 100%. The suggested attire for spelunking is old clothing, rubber boots or old shoes, and gloves. The inside of the caves is pitch black. The only illumination comes from the head lamp on the helmets provided by the Saint-Léonard.

The Saint-Léonard cave is located at Pie-XII Park (5200, boulevard Lavoisier). Cavers must be 6 years of age and over to visit cave site.

For more information call 514 252-3006


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