Downtown Montréal, reimagined

Jamie O'Meara

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

Please note that, due to the heightening of sanitary measures, entertainment activities, including ambulatory activities, in downtown Montréal will be put on hold as of Monday, September 21. Pop-up events and performances, particularly the “Cabaret ambulant” (roving cabaret), are therefore postponed to later dates.

Summer is once again upon us in spectacular fashion, and — as anyone who’s ever been to Montréal this time of year can attest — no one does summer quite like Montrealers, pandemic or not. To that end, several city organizations have joined forces to reimagine what downtown summer activities, relaxing and having fun looks like in these exceptional times (with health and safety, of course, top of mind). You’re going to love exploring what they’ve come up with…

Downtown Montréal: yours to rediscover

Starting immediately and running until the fall, Montrealers and visitors alike will be able to take advantage of a wide array of cultural activities, arts and entertainment in a number of coolly reconceived public spaces. This new initiative relaunching downtown Montréal — from Atwater Avenue in the west to Papineau Avenue in the east, and from Sherbrooke Street south down to the St. Lawrence River — is designed to encourage people to stroll and explore while avoiding crowds or gatherings. It draws on Montréal’s rich diversity of creativity, offers events and environments that are playful, contemplative and entertaining, and promotes the discovery and rediscovery of urban spaces.

Take your place in creative spaces

A joint effort by the Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles, the Chambre de Commerce du Montréal Métropolitain and numerous other commercial partners, and with the assistance of the municipal government, the project will enhance and enliven downtown Montréal this summer. Specifically, the newly reimagined public spaces include seven large outdoor terrasses and public squares featuring cultural programming, background music and spontaneous performances. Accessible as of July 31, these public terrasses will be set up in key locations, including in the HUB XP_MTL in the gardens of Centre St Jax (designed by XP_MTL in collaboration with Le Monastère), Place d'Youville (designed by immersive event specialists Multicolore), and a surprise urban concept at the corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and René-Lévesque Boulevard (by La Pépinière). In the expansive Place des Festivals in the Quartier des Spectacles, people can now enjoy an oasis of greenery accompanied by original music courtesy of Montréal indie sensation Patrick Watson. And the Jardins Gamelin green space at the west entrance to the Gay Village will offer a host of musical surprises starting July 16.

Hundreds of surprise performances

More than 150 artists and creators have been tapped to add to the vibrancy and liveliness of downtown. Mobile shows, in different places and at different times of the day, will take place on weekends. Additionally, music, theatre and other live entertainment will be presented at various downtown locations. In total, some 200 surprise performances will be offered. Installations are also in the artistic mix, including 7 Placott'arts, relaxation stops designed by Montréal artists and designers, presented in collaboration with arts collective Massivart. And the popular and iconic 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) musical swing sets will return to the Quartier des Spectacles from July 16 to the beginning of August. All this is possible thanks to the collaboration of more than 50 artistic companies and cultural organizations in visual arts, circus, dance, cinema, digital art, street arts, music and urban design.

And that’s not all folks…

There are numerous other cultural initiatives in the works — in the Quartier latin, Old Montréal, the Gay Village, the Old Port, Chinatown, the Museum Quarter and more — that will be launched in the coming weeks in order to offer a diverse, safe and fun experience for all downtown visitors. We’ll keep you posted here at mtl.org, so check back regularly.

Find these amazing facilities and many other surprising animations happening downtown Montréal in this interactive map.

Jamie O'Meara

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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