Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles Unveiled

Posted on September 5th, 2009 by .

I’ve already mentioned a few projects that were going on in Montreal in MY RESPONSE to Tyler Brûlé’s Monocle issue about the world’s Top 25 Liveable Cities. One of these major initiatives is the Quartier des Spectacles (that’s French for “performance neighbourhood”), which will encompass a large portion of the downtown area. Near St. Laurent Blvd. and Ste. Catherine Street, the Quartier des Spectacles will offer tourists and locals the opportunity to discover the latest in theatre, music, cinema, dance, design, visual arts and several other disciplines, in more than 80 cultural venues.

The QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES’ WEBSITE lists the other projects underway in Montreal, giving you an idea of what’s to come over the next few years. I’ll be anxious to see the new building going up at 2-22 Ste. Catherine St. East. It’s being designed by Paul Andreu, the internationally acclaimed architect who designed Paris’ Charles-de-Gaulle Airport. I’m also excited about the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal’s plan to expand on St. Urbain Street, next to Place des Arts and Theatre Maisonneuve.

The first completed phase of this ambitious project is the Quartier des Spectacles plaza, which you may have already seen if you were in town for the Jazz Fest or the FrancoFolies. It’s to the west of Place des Arts, and it’s called the Place des Festivals. The public space reflects Montreal’s taste for innovation and modernity, and the installations are both retro and futuristic.The official inauguration will take place on September 7th, and several icons from Montreal’s culture industry will reunite to celebrate for an event called Le Grand Baiser.

Between McGill College Avenue and Bleury Street, there’s a parade organised on Ste. Catherine Street under the theme of “the first kiss” at 5:30pm. Through seven different tableaux, created by seven different Quebec artists, you will notice the evolution of the arts, from primitive art to the digital era. Then there’s a show at 7:30pm with artists like Diane Dufresne and Champion, as well as major cultural figures such as the Société des arts technologiques, MUTEK, the World Film Festival and les Grands Ballets Canadiens. It’s Montreal’s pop art event of the year, and it’s definitely not to be missed.

In additions to the fountains and the plaza, be sure to check out the VITRINE on Ste. Catherine Street, with its 35,000 LED lights and giant interactive screen. La Vitrine is also a good place for information on shows, exhibitions and other cultural happenings, or to get last-minute tickets for an event – sometimes you might even get them at a cheaper price.

(Photo: Martin Viau)

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