Quartier des spectacles, Montreal, Canada | CruiseBe
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Quartier des spectacles

History and museums
sightseeing, attractions, square, walking, entertainment district

Quartier des Spectacles is an arts and entertainment district located in the eastern section of Downtown Montreal, designed as a centre for Montreal's cultural events and festivals. Quartier des spectacles is member of the Global Cultural Districts Network.

With a total area of almost a square kilometre, its boundaries are City Councillors Street, Berri Street, Sherbrooke Street and René Lévesque Boulevard, encompassing all of the district known as Montreal's Latin Quarter.

First proposed in 2002, the area is intended to home to 30 performance halls totalling almost 28,000 seats, including the Place des Arts cultural complex, as well as international festivals, art galleries and centres for the exhibition and broadcast of alternative culture. The Quartier des spectacles hosts nearly 8,500 jobs linked to cultural activities, from education and creation to production, exhibition and broadcasting.

The area is now home to many of Montreal's major festivals, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Francofolies and the Just for Laughs comedy fest. Urban design features of the district include concert spaces, tiered greenspace and stonework, illuminated fountains, new lighting, mist machines, bike paths and illuminated walkways.

The central public space for the Quartier is the Place des Festivals, a new urban square located on the "Balmoral Block" on Jeanne Mance Street, facing Place des Arts, which has become a focal point for outdoor events. Features of the square include a water fountain with 235 in-ground jets, four light towers, two glass-encased restaurants, a grassy slope and granite walkways.


New facilities

Édifice 2-22 is a cultural centre specialized in contemporary art and a ticket office at the corner of Saint Catherine Street and Saint Laurent Boulevard, designed by French architect Paul Andreu.

Maison du développement durable, adjacent to the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and designed by Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architects, is only the second building in Canada to obtain the sustainable building certification LEED Platinum.

The district includes the Louis Bohème, a 28-storey condo tower designed by Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architects, which had approved by the city despite objections from Montreal International Jazz Festival president Alain Simard.

In the fall of 2017, the National Film Board of Canada is scheduled to move its headquarters to Montreal's Quartier des spectacles, in a new building being constructed by the city of Montreal, adjacent to the Place des festivals square. The NFB will occupy the first four floors of the structure, which will allow the NFB to closer contact with the public, and expanded digital media research and production facilities.


  • Théâtre Telus, a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) theatre, formerly the Berri Cinema.
  • An expansion to the Société des arts technologiques.
  • A new cultural space over the Saint-Laurent metro station, housing LADMMI, Les Ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal.
  • A new lighting plan by Axel Morgenthaler.
  • Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, occupying the former Blumenthal Building.
  • Montreal Symphony House, a new concert hall for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
  • The multidisciplinary artist-run center Dare-Dare is located near Metro St-Laurent since 2012.

Pre-existing facilities

Cultural facilities already in the area include:

  • Place des Arts
  • Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
  • Grande Bibliothèque
  • Cinémathèque québécoise
  • Théâtre Saint-Denis
  • Salles du Gesù, Montreal's oldest theatre
  • Théâtre du Nouveau Monde
  • Monument-National, home to the National Theatre School of Canada
  • Club Soda
  • Belgo Building

Demolished features

The area lost a key arts venue with the demolition of the Montreal Spectrum. Sixty-seven mature crabapple trees were cut down in a small square, Place Albert-Duquesne.

Montreal's former red light district on Saint-Laurent Boulevard is being demolished, with the facades of six buildings dismantled for possible future reuse, in a move condemned by advocacy group Heritage Montreal.


In 2008, Mayor Gérald Tremblay stated that the project would come in as budgeted at $120-million, and spur development in the immediate neighbourhood, with a projected $1.9 billion in private investment.

In June 2012, it was reported by the Montreal Gazette that the cost of the district's public spaces alone would be $147 million, with $67 million from the city of Montreal and $40 million each from provincial and federal governments. In 2011, Montreal’s auditor-general criticized the city for hand-picking one non-profit corporation, Angus Development, to build the 2-22 building and redevelop Saint-Laurent Blvd., and for failing to open the process up to tender, losing money by selling city land at below market value. Inadequate underbeds, damage and wrong choice of joint sealers in 2011 also led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in repaving costs.

Notable events

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman McLaren was marked by a National Film Board of Canada project entitled “McLaren Wall-to-Wall,” in which projections of short films inspired by four McLaren animated works were projected onto landmarks in the quartier, from McLaren’s birthday on April 11 to June 1, 2014.

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