The old Royal Victoria Hospital sits perched atop the city like a castle. The medieval-looking structure commands stunning views of the downtown from its position between the city and the mountain.

Vacated when the hospital facilities moved to their new site west of downtown, the fortress has sat empty for years. 

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But today the provincial minister for higher education announced that the province would formally hand the property to McGill University for redevelopment.

Adjacent to McGill's downtown campus, the former hospital has long been the target of the university's development plans. The news today is exciting not only for students and university officials, but also Montreal residents at-large.

Part of McGill's plan to renovate the site calls for the transformation of open space around hospital structures into public parks. Some buildings will also be reimagined as public exhibition and gathering space. 

Currently, the hospital campus is a huge impediment to downtown access to the Mount Royal Park. The closest pedestrians paths to the mountain are at Rue Peel and Ave. du Parc.

McGill's plan promises new hiking paths between former hospital structures.

I don't know about you, but I certainly have my eye on the giant tower that rises from the former hospital's highest building. There's potential for the tower to become a public observation deck, but there's no word yet from McGill whether that's part of the plan.

Stay tuned.

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