The best panoramic view of downtown Montreal is from atop Mount Royal. The extinct volcanic hill was formed about 125 million years ago. In 1535, French explorer Jacques Cartier was the first European to climb the mount. He called it Mont Réal. This evolved into the city name of Montreal. This observation point is located at Colline de la Croix, the highest of three peaks at 764 feet. It is part of Mount Royal Park.