The downtown core is ready!
The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and the City of Montreal joined forces to develop a super-colourful summer programming. The heart of the city has never been so accessible! Peel, Crescent, and Sainte-Catherine Streets will be turned over to foot traffic, welcoming pedestrians on weekdays and/or weekends. Whether you’re visiting for a shopping spree or to see the museums, getting around will child’s play.
Last April saw the unveiling of a monumental stairway, the latest initiative of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s Projet Nouveau Centre, which aims to reinvigorate the downtown core. Whether you access it starting from René-Lévesque Boulevard or McGill College Avenue, the view is definitely worth seeing. Throughout the summer, local workers, residents, and tourists will happily rub shoulders as they’re drawn together to watch a variety of cultural and artistic programming. It’s a great place for a lunch with friends or an informal business meeting. A few steps away are the restos of Le Cathcart, an epicurean meeting place beloved by foodies that will seduce even the finest of palates. It seems the PVM Esplanade has returned to its roots, bringing people together in the heart of downtown.
We’ve long admired the ideas coming out of XP_MTL, an NPO working tirelessly to reanimate the heart of the city. Always a source of inspiration, the team hasn’t been slacking off in recent months either, as evidenced by the two-kilometre pathway created for pedestrians. But this is no obstacle course—take your time to stop along the way and appreciate artistic interventions, window shop, enjoy the fresh outdoors of an urban oasis, or loaf around on the colourful furnishings of wide-open patios. Here, meeting places are invitations to start a conversation. Both creative and recreative, this unique jaunt presents the downtown area in a completely new light. Are you ready?
Attention circus lovers of any age, from 7 to 77: The Monastère looks forward to welcoming you to its spectacular summer program! Thanks to the folks at XP_MTL, the garden at the Centre St Jax will come alive dressed in its finest summer attire. Throughout the season, performing arts shows will be sure to dazzle young and old alike. Circus cabarets, acrobatics, musical performances, and urban installations will draw in all kinds of passers-by. Spectators are sure to react with a few oohs and ahs when faced with high-flying numbers made possible by the installation of a suspended overpass. Hurry up and find a spot, the show’s about to start!
No one ever gets tired of the McCord Museum’s Urban Forest. Now in its 11th year, Montrealers and visitors are invited to enjoy a break under the museum’s colourful urban “trees.” And continuing its longstanding tradition, the McCord is also presenting its usual large, open-air photography show, which can be taken in while wandering along McGill College Avenue. The theme of these magnificent black-and-white images is All Together—very in keeping with the times—and features images of the kinds of big gatherings that are so beloved by Quebecers. Urban tours and historic walks are also offered to those looking to combine culture with fun.
Be sure to discover Museum Avenue, a street closed to traffic between the Hornstein and Bourgie pavilions of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Every summer, one creator is invited to design a temporary exhibit to be discovered by passers-by. This summer’s selected guest artist is the Incognito collective, which happily landed on the idea of asking Innu poet and filmmaker Joséphine Bacon to participate in the project. The result is a fresco in which seats in the form of glaciers inviting guests to sit and listen to Bacon’s words, which are accessible by scanning a QR code. Little ones need not feel left out, since several creative activities for them are also on offer. In particular, they’ll have a chance to explore the sculpture garden, which brings together around twenty works.
Whether you live here or are just passing through, there’ll be no lack of surprises during your summertime strolls. What a joy to suddenly encounter an improv group, applaud a pair of acrobats, or laugh at a humorous sketch. Over 600 artists are tasked with bringing a bit of madness to the streets of downtown through over 450 spontaneous performances. Theatre, dance, music, circus, and the digital and visual arts await!
Given they’re not able to welcome Formula 1 fans in June, businesses on Peel Street are looking forward to offering a bite to anyone who happens to be strolling by. Thanks to an ingenious redesign of the available space, restaurateurs located between De Maisonneuve and Sainte-Catherine will enjoy enlarged patios to enable their customers to eat in complete safety. Prefer takeout? Public rest areas will ensure you can enjoy your meal comfortably. Whether it’s a tartare from Chez Alexandre, grilled fish from Ferreira Café, or Portuguese chicken from Campo, we’re already salivating at the idea of reconnecting with our favourite restaurants. Enjoy a drink with friends, sway to the sounds mixed by a rotating slate of DJs tasked with providing the ambience, reconnect with Montreal’s nightlife—it’s rare the summer tastes this good.
Looking for a place to catch your breath and enjoy a bite to eat? Stop off at one of the oases scattered around downtown. Every one of these green spots was created by a Montreal designer. Thanks to the ingenuity of these artists, you can lounge on a beach in front of the St-James United Church, for example, or lunch at a long yellow table that winds its way to Sainte-Catherine Street, or even get out of the sun while leisurely admiring the multicoloured petals of the eleven Oasis installations spread over the downtown core, such as À l’ombre des Cosmos at Victoria Square or Les grands jardins. We’re already celebrating the inauguration of the next Oasis, Esplanade Tranquille, an homage to the library of the same name where the Refus Global manifesto was launched in 1948.
Crescent Street needs no introduction—its merry establishments and high-end businesses are prized by locals and tourists arriving in the city. During the day, fashionistas flock to the area to find just the right unique pieces to complete their wardrobes. When night falls, the terrasses get lively, the congenial atmosphere lending itself well to tipsy confidences. This year, pedestrians can roam in complete safety between De Maisonneuve and Sainte-Catherine, since this section of Crescent will be closed to vehicles. Whether you’re going for a good meal with friends, taking an unscheduled coffee break, or engaging in a spell of window shopping, you’ll be sure to feel the pulsating heart of the city on this infamous urban artery.