Montreal to Get New Plaza in 2009
* * *
According to the city and its mayor, Gérald Tremblay, the $30M project will create a 30-hectare plaza with a granite walkway interspersed with lit-up water fountains. A new street, Rue Balmoral, will cross the plaza. This should provide an appropriate setting for the 30th anniversary edition of the festival (it looks to me that they really liked the symbolism of the number "30").
But the story doesn't end there. The Place des Festivals will be only the first phase of a 4-year project in which the newly christened "Quartier des Spectacles" will be completely redone. Once finished (the current plan is to finish in time for the 2012 summer concert season), the new district will include close to 30 artistic venues, increased space for outdoor concerts, and more green space.
This should transform the somewhat seedy area centered around the intersection of Rue St-Catherine and Blvd St-Laurent (a neigborhood that did more than its fair part in helping Montreal earn its "Sin City" nickname during the Prohibition Era). I just hope the city will avoid the mistakes of New York, which gleefully went about transforming Times Square into a Mickey Mouse-friendly theme park of a neighborhood.
We will follow the developments with great interest.
The site map, showing the Place des Festivals (on your left) and the Place des Arts (at center).