Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations will leave legacy projects for the future

published on January 26, 2017
Tourisme Montréal: News and People What's New in Montréal

What better way to pay tribute to Montréal’s 375th anniversary as one of the most vibrant cities in North America than by preserving, and creating, the legacy of the future?

There are some three-dozen so-called “legacy projects” either already underway or scheduled to commence in the months to come at key locations throughout the city. They are comprised of all sizes and forms of initiatives designed to transform the way one experiences the city. From a lengthy new promenade, to a modern-day cruise terminal makeover, to avant garde artistic expressions, these improvements and additions will provide numerous benefits for both visitors and Montrealers alike in the years to come.

Here is a representative cross-section of these projects.

Living Connections: In honour of both the 375th anniversary and Canada’s 150th, Montréal’s enormous, architecturally unique Jacques-Cartier Bridge will be bathed in pulsing, interactive lighting activated in real time. The bridge’s illumination will change depending on the season of the year and the spirit of the city (e.g., the light patterns might shine more brightly after a Canadiens victory) on this flagship project conceived by Montréal’s Moment Factory.

The Bonaventure Project: Where the (now demolished) raised portion of the Bonaventure Expressway once dominated the landscape and divided neighbourhoods, the new Bonaventure urban boulevard looks to be a unifying force. Running from the picturesque Lachine Canal north to Notre-Dame Street on the southern edge of downtown, the boulevard will feature newly created public spaces, safe pedestrian corridors, lots of trees and public artwork.

Revamping the Alexandra Pier: The historic Alexandra Pier in the Old Port is one of the first things cruise ship passengers see when they arrive in Montréal. And markedly more and more, year over year, they are arriving in droves. The facelift to the pier and terminal includes expansive public space at the end of the pier, a green roof that’s accessible at all times, and the addition of a new tower (2019) with an unmatched view of Montréal and the St. Lawrence River.

Restoring Viger Square: Long overlooked Viger Square, just to the north of Old Montréal, is slated to be returned to its former glory with a whole raft of additions and improvements. Mastodo, the famous fountain sculpture, will be moved and merged into a waterscape; there will be a major greening operation and opening of the space; and service areas, including a café/restaurant, are all on tap. 

Cité Mémoire: In what is indeed highly memorable, Cité Mémoire transforms Old Montréal into a giant, metaphorical open-air museum. The work – which consists of some 23 video projections on trees, walls, the ground, you name it – takes place all over the old city and invites passersby to meet some of the characters who’ve coloured Montréal since its 1642 inception.

The Pie-X and Sherbrooke intersection: Long a menace to both man and machine, the point at which Pie-X and Sherbrooke meet right by Olympic Park is on the road to becoming both sightly and safe. The project calls for the creation of a large green space, the merging of two opposing parks by eliminating a section of street, a new cycling link and a public artwork donated by Québec City in honour of the 375th.

Bridging the old city and the modern one: Where mobility was once met with futility there now comes a brand new public space constructed atop none other than one of the city’s busiest highways. Located right beside the Champs-de-Mars metro (celebrated for its famous stained glass), this 1.8 hectare, green public gathering space will span a lengthy section of the Ville-Marie Autoroute, effectively reconnecting Old Montréal with downtown. 

The Promenade Fleuve-Montagne: The “River-Mountain Walk” is exactly that: a 3.8 km pathway joining the Island of Montréal’s two great defining natural features, Mount Royal and the St. Lawrence River. This much-anticipated signature project will showcase the city’s history, heritage, panoramas and cultural uniqueness along a new route incorporating broad pedestrian passageways and rest areas.

Parc Jean-Drapeau amphitheatre: This project will see the construction of a massive natural amphitheatre (65,000 capacity) on the current site of international-calibre outdoor music festivals Osheaga, Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq. The long, broad central pathway leading to the amphitheatre, and connecting the Biosphère to the Calder sculpture (L’Homme), will also be completely redeveloped as part of the welcome restoration of this hugely popular site. 

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace: In 2012, the Hornstein’s donated a collection of old masterworks valued at $75 million to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. To house these, and some 600 works from the MMFA’s collection, the museum is inaugurating an international art and education pavilion with two of the building’s four floors earmarked for education, social and community programs.

Click here to see the full list of legacy projects from the 375th anniversary celebrations.

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