Montrealers brave frigid walk up Mount Royal in honour of cross' 375th birthday

Members of Montreal's Catholic community braved a frigid walk up Mount Royal today to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the raising of the cross on the summit.

Several dozen people sang Christmas carols as they marched in -20 C weather behind leaders carrying a wooden cross.

The walk was led by Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine as well a man and a woman dressed as Montreal founders Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance.

Lepine says De Maisonneuve first erected a wooden cross on Mount Royal on Jan. 6, 1643, to thank God for sparing the city from flooding.

The current illuminated steel cross, which is over 30 metres tall, was erected in 1924.

Lepine says the cross remains an important symbol for many Montrealers, whether or not they're religious.