Downtown Montréal is ready for its summer close-up

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

Trust us, ain’t no summer like a Montréal summer, and 2021 is set to be another unforgettable season of greenery and good times. Be it hiking through the world-class parks, biking the city’s bucket list bike routes or relaxing with friends on a beloved terrasse, Montréalers love summer. And this year, one of the city’s top summer destinations is Downtown Montréalthanks to a major innovative urban glow-up featuring pedestrianized streets, art and relaxation installations and a never-ending stream of impromptu performances promising surprises around every corner. 

An urban island getaway

Under the banner of Les aventures du cœur de l’île, Downtown and the Quartier des spectacles will transform into a play zone for the whole family. While keeping mindful of health protocols, a broad 9km2 of Montréal’s centre-ville is stuffed to the brim with reinvigorated and reimagined spaces, artistic installations and a rotating cast of street performers. And best of all, it’s all accessible on foot via pedestrianized zones and a seasonally curated walking route throughout the city’s core. 

Find your downtown oasis

Created in collaboration with some of Montréal’s top design minds, the downtown core is punctuated with 11 summer Oases, each with a unique eye-popping twist. From the ephemeral forest of Place des Festivals (with over 70 trees in planters giving recharging shade and the large water fountains offering cooling sprays) to the sandy beach installed in the parvis of Saint-James United Church, these Oases deliver urban living like we’ve never experienced it before. Additional Oases further afield in Chinatown and the Village guarantee a restful stopover and Instagrammable #mtlmoments your followers will go ape for. 

The city as art

There’s few finer ways to connect with a city than through artistic expression, and Les aventures du cœur de l’île’s downtown programming includes dance, digital arts, music, performance and large-scale projections transforming the building’s facades into canvases. With a special focus on the faces of Montréal, these projections will see visitors and locals alike falling back in love with Downtown – and yes, those are tears of joy we’re crying.  

Take it to the streets

Pulling together over 200 collaborators and local businesses and creators, downtown’s summer wardrobe will leave you dancing in the street, feeling refreshed and recharged. Keep tabs on this interactive map to catch it all and follow Les aventures du cœur de l’île’s Instagram and Facebook pages for all the latest announcements.  

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

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