There were a lot of double-takes this morning in Montreal as people passing the mountain noticed something they were not expecting and that had not been seen for centuries: the cross on Mount Royal was no longer there. The first reports came from early morning joggers, followed by commuters on the du Parc 80 bus heading south.
Since the iconic symbol was visible from far and wide, news has traveled fast, as have the rumours. Was the cross stolen? Had it simply fallen down? Was it still there, just hard to see? In an attempt to quell wild speculation and give the public focus, Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay called an early morning press conference.
“The cross has in fact been stolen from its place on top of Mount Royal,” Tremblay confirmed, “We are taking this very seriously. Police investigators are trying to get a clearer picture of what happened and are searching for leads. They have asked for anyone with information about the missing iconic symbol of Montreal to immediately call their Info Crime hotline at 514-393-1133.”
Tremblay went on to dismiss reported sightings of the cross at the Longueil metro station, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and even as far away as the Vatican. When pressed for any suspects, the mayor asserted that it was still too early to tell, but did hint at one angle they were looking into.
“I can’t say for sure,” Tremblay said, “but it wouldn’t surprise me if those student activists were behind this. The cross could probably help pay for at least a full semester of University Tuition with a little left over for a case of beer.”
When asked just how they would have pulled off such a feat, one that would have required the use of massive cutting and transportation equipment, without being noticed, Tremblay suggested they may have had help from the Occupiers and a few rogue blue collar workers.
McGill University historian and cross expert Donald Zimmerman has a different idea about what happened.
“No one stole it,” he argued when reached by phone this morning, “The cross is one of those structures with what one might call a shelf life. While this shelf life may be long, it’s not forever. Sometimes these structures just implode when their time has come.”
Montrealers should rest assured that city services will remain unaffected and the weekly Tam Tams at the foot of the mountain will go on as scheduled. Despite the grandiose nature of this disappearance, it is, after all, only APRIL FOOLS!