The New McGill College Avenue

McGill-College-Prop-1-min

I guess it was the Disney-like imagery of some of the photos accompanying the press release announcing the winning project for the redesign of McGill College Avenue what made me say it. Commenting on the project on the social networks, I called it “tacky” and associated it to our Mayor. Well, the reactions went from a variety of “likes” to aggressive accusations that my criticism of the Mayor was due to her gender, I was even accused of being “sexist.”  As if a public official just for the fact of being a woman should be beyond any criticism.

When night comes, the planners of the new avenue imagine that it
would be a gathering place for people

Let’s instead get into our real topic. Those of a certain age or with some time living in the city must remember that McGill College Avenue had experienced different attempts at redesign in the last few decades. Then-Mayor Jean Drapeau, in one of his last grandiose projects in the early 1980s, proposed the building of a concert hall for the MSO right at the avenue site between Ste. Catherine and De Maisonneuve, which in fact would have blocked McGill College Ave. With no public or government support for the idea, the project was abandoned. Then the area saw the construction of a new tower, the Place Montreal Trust, where the old S.S. Kresge used to be. The avenue was then widened providing the impressive view of Mount Royal that is still its distinguishing feature.

In winter–which in our city is a five-month long event–the new place would still
appeal to people. That’s what people in the city think.

In 2018 the city called an international contest to redesign the avenue, taking advantage of the fact that construction of the REM McGill Station would force some changes in the area. “The firms civiliti + Mandaworks (Sweden) and SNC-Lavalin have been named the winners of the multidisciplinary, international urban design competition for the development of the new Place de l’avenue McGill College,” reads the communique. According to the same document, the redesign of the avenue also aims at making the area around Ste. Catherine St., more pedestrian-friendly. For that purpose, more green space would be added to that avenue. The artery would also see its central strip enlarged to allow the planting of more trees, grass and the installation of benches and even a fountain. “The city’s downtown will soon be greener and more pleasant, resilient and human,” states the press release.

This bucolic image is certainly nice. But will it ever look like downtown Montreal?

Of course, good intentions are welcome as long as they are well-founded on the reality of the area. The problem, as in other cases where innovating projects are announced for downtown, is that once again, the demographics of the area was not considered. Enlarging the green space in that avenue seems a good idea, mostly in terms of the aesthetics of the place. However, except for lunch hour, when office workers in the area may use the benches that would be located there, it is unlikely that the green space will have much pedestrian circulation. And that only in the summer. The reason for that low utilization outside that time is that the area around the avenue has very few residents. McGill students in search of an outdoor location to study or socialize already count on their campus, and tourists may be more inclined to visit a restaurant or a shopping centre.

In other words, while adding more green space may be justified from a beautification point of view, the addition of benches and meeting space to the new plaza would have a little practical impact.

The development project’s final concept will be unveiled in 2021, and work operations should start in 2023.

By: Sergio Martinez – info@mtltimes.ca

Other articles from mtltimes.catotimes.caotttimes.ca

EU bans Canadian travellers

EU bans Canadian travellers because of increase of COVID-19 cases

Highway 20 emergency closure for several weeks at Dorval Circle

Highway 20 emergency closure for several weeks at Dorval Circle both ways

Latest statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Latest statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email


COVID-19 cases rising across Quebec schools

COVID-19 cases rising across Quebec schools

Although Quebec’s CAQ government continues to maintain that Covid-19 cases in schools across the province remain stable – the numbers published by their own Ministry of Education do not appear to uphold those conclusions. Their data includes pre-school, elementary and high schools in both the public and private sectors (as well as vocational and adult

electric scooters

Are you supposed to allow your children to ride electric scooters?

Like almost anything, electric scooters can be safe or dangerous depending on the operator. The technology powering Green electric scooters has advanced to the point where it is extremely safe in comparison to where they were in the past. Nowadays, you will find electric scooters with world-class braking technology, improved speed restriction, and even better

Best roulette strategies

Best roulette strategies to try

Roulette in some form has been around since the 17th century and has become an entertaining casino staple across many parts of the world. The game can be played by players of all levels due to its relatively simple nature and shorter learning curve than many other casino games. The idea of the game is

Covid-19 outbreaks at Lakeshore

Covid-19 outbreaks at Lakeshore General Hospital

After dealing with several Covid-19 outbreaks during April and May, the Lakeshore General Hospital is now facing another battle. This time three units have cases, with four respiratory therapists also infected as of November 30th, according to a Montreal Gazette report. A source, who granted them an interview ‘on condition of anonymity’ (as they were

winter vaping

Here is how to improve your winter vaping experience

‘Inhale the good shit, exhale the bullshit,’ says an avid vaper who can’t resist it even in extremely cold weather. Instead, vapers claim to love vaping the most in the winter season. Why? Well, it keeps them warm from inside out while helping them enjoy the chilled and windy days in complete relaxation. Resulting, we

Skiing regulations

Skiing regulations with no aprés ski

With winter just around the corner many Quebecers are wondering or asking how ski hills are going to handle new regulations this year. There is no question that this year ski hills will have their challenges. Skiers will have to wear face masks inside the chalet at all times and on the chair lifts, as

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox