Sunday, December 3, 2017

Underground Montreal

Friends Luc Le Blanc and Daniel Caron spend much of their free time in Montreal exploring below ground in the city's Saint-Léonard Cavern. The cave is a registered historic site, with restricted access and guided tours.

The cavers had the surprise of their lives in October when they knocked through a limestone wall and uncovered the entrance to an immense second cave. Well, it wasn't a total surprise ~ they had been 'dowsing' , looking for water and a larger cave ~ but it was definitely an exciting discovery.

The Cavernicole Cave (or la caverne de Saint-Léonard) is a cave located underneath Pius XII Park (Parc Pie-XII) in the borough of Saint-Leonard in Montreal. It is a registered historic site with restricted access and guided tours.

A little history:
  • The cave was first discovered in 1812.
  • During the Patriote Rebellion of 1837, it served as an armoury, weapons cache, and hidey-hole for Les Patriotes.
  • In 1968, the government deemed it a safety risk and closed off the cave.
  • In 1978, the Quebec Speleology Society reopened the cave for study.
  • It was subsequently declared a historic landmark, and guided tours were set up.

Until the recent discovery, the cave was thought to be relatively small, at 35 metres long and 8 metres deep. The second cave, hidden behind a limestone wall, is a massive 250 metres long.

This week, Luc and Daniel are getting their 15 minutes, as their discovery was disclosed to the general public.

Entrance to the public cave

Recent news highlights:
Spelunkers discover 15,000-year-old cavern in St-Léonard park
'This is a major discovery': Explorers find massive ice-age cavern beneath Montreal
Ice Age-Era Caves Discovered Under Montreal

Information on exploring the public cave:
Show Caves of Canada, Cavernicole de Saint-Léonard
The Secret Montreal Cave You Can Visit And Explore, Mtl Blog

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