Downtown Montréal’s Alleyways Get the Art Treatment

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is a Montréal-based editor and storyteller with a curiosity that runs deeper than most. She has chatted life philosophies with celebrity chefs, gemologists, arena rockers and furries. All were transformative. 

This article was updated on August 11, 2022.

The new Murelles project is turning two Downtown Montréal alleyways into living, breathing museums—not to mention lovely spots for a pit-stop. Combining the words “mural” and “ruelles” (French for “alleyways”), Murelles was created by Tourisme Montréal, mural-makers MU and Montréal centre-ville to breathe new life into wasted spaces in the downtown core.

More than a mere beautification project, Murelles activates two alleys, off Peel and Stanley streets, and turns them into lively communal spaces filled with art—from the concrete beneath out feet up onto surrounding walls. And these two are only the beginning: the plan is to create 20 or so over the next 5 years.

“Montreal is known for its urban art and the lively, manicured back lanes in its residential neighbourhoods,” explains Glenn Castanheira, Executive Director of Montréal centre-ville. The project’s intention was to carry this into the downtown core as well.

Murelles will surprise and delight both visitors and locals, providing hidden gems to discover by chance throughout the downtown core. As passersby wander down some of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, they can turn a corner and be welcomed with brand new artwork—plus gathering spaces full of plants and decorated in the spirit of the surrounding art. These spaces are ideal to sit, chat, eat lunch and recharge.

Rendezvous behind Peel

The back lane just off Peel at Sainte-Catherine will host a mural by Rafael Sottolichio that makes reference to Montréal through time with its fresh blue tones. The colourful urban furniture was created to incorporate botanical installations and give this busy downtown spot a breath of fresh air—literally.

 

See you behind Stanley

Not far, off Stanley near Sainte-Catherine, the floor mural by Diane Roe will brighten anyone’s day with its pop colours and abstracted shapes influenced by nature. With standing works that will give the impression of being surrounded by art, plus flower arrangements incorporated into the very furniture, it will be a happy space to spend time indeed.

“Art has the power to bring brightness and vitality to spaces we take for granted in our everyday lives,” says Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “It’s sure to enhance the mood of all passersby.”

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is a Montréal-based editor and storyteller with a curiosity that runs deeper than most. She has chatted life philosophies with celebrity chefs, gemologists, arena rockers and furries. All were transformative. 

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