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Quartier international de Montréal


Quartier international de Montréal

Quartier international de Montréal
Victoria Square, with Centre CDP Capital's W Hotel on the left.
Victoria Square, with Centre CDP Capital's W Hotel on the left.
Official seal of Quartier international de Montréal
Quartier international de Montréal is located in Montreal
Quartier international de Montréal
Location of Quartier international in Montreal
Country Canada
Province Quebec
City Montreal
Borough Ville-Marie

The Quartier international de Montréal (QIM) or Montreal's International District is a district of the Ville-Marie borough of downtown Montreal roughly bordered by René-Levesque Boulevard to the north, Notre-Dame Street to the south, De Bleury/Saint-Pierre Street to the east and University Street to the west. The Palais des congrès (Congress Hall) building lying just east of the district is also usually comprised in it. Constructed dispersedly between 1965 and 1985 in place of older colonial housing blocks, the district underwent major urban renewal as a central business district in 2000–2003.

The Montreal World Trade Centre west entrance on Victoria Square.
Complexe Maisonneuve and the back of Place de la Cité internationale, seen at night from Victoria Square.


  • Purpose 1
  • Components 2
    • Palais des congrès 2.1
    • Place Jean-Paul Riopelle 2.2
    • Centre CDP Capital 2.3
    • Victoria Square 2.4
    • Place de la Cité internationale and surroundings 2.5
  • Design 3
  • Management 4
  • Future projects 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The main purpose of the project was to restore the continuity of Montreal's downtown, broken by the gaping trench of the Ville-Marie Expressway since the 1960s, and thus to bridge the following areas:

Other goals included the beautification of the built environment, creation of elegant city squares, showcase of Quebec design and public art, and stimulation of world-class real estate development at the heart of Montreal.

The completed area of 27 hectares (0.27 square kilometres or nearly 67 acres), 30% of which are in the public domain, spreads on an east-west axis above the Ville-Marie Expressway tunnels. It is bounded by Saint Urbain Street to the east, Saint Antoine Street to the south, University Street to the west and Viger Avenue to the north (plus Saint Jacques Street between McGill Street and University Street). The area is serviced by three stations on the Orange Line of the Montreal Metro and large portions of the underground city.


The QIM itself has five main components, from east to west:

Palais des congrès, seen from Place Jean-Paul Riopelle.

Palais des congrès

The Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montreal Convention Centre), the only building that was originally built over the expressway trench, was extended towards the west in the same manner, doubling in area while covering the first half of the western trench. The extension followed a similar design than the 1980s original, but with less concrete and more coloured glass, giving it a lighter appearance. The design, which included multicoloured panels and bright pink "tree" sculptures in the lobby, did not please everyone but is generally said to integrate well with the area. This section is connected to the Place-d'Armes Metro station.

Place Jean-Paul Riopelle

La Joute on Place Jean-Paul Riopelle.

The public square built over the trench at the same time as the Centre CDP Capital was named Place Jean-Paul Riopelle in honour of Quebec artist Jean-Paul Riopelle who died in 2002. His fountain sculpture La Joute was then moved to the square from the Parc Olympique in the district of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

Centre CDP Capital

Centre CDP Capital, seen from Place Jean-Paul Riopelle.

The Centre CDP Capital is the Montreal regional office of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the main investment arm of the Quebec government. Entirely suspended over the trench, the 13-storey building was the "enabler" and is now the centrepiece of the district, stretching between Jean-Paul Riopelle and Victoria squares. Despite its strong architectural qualities, construction was marked by opposition to the huge cost overruns of an already very expensive structure, at the same time as the CDP was losing taxpayers' money from questionable investments made during the dot-com bubble.

The building integrates a new

  • Official QIM website
  • Lebeuf, Sylvie (19 September 2001). "Quartier international" (in French). Ville de Montréal (City of Montreal). Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  • Affleck, Gavin. "IN FULL VIEW: PUBLIC SPACE IN MONTREAL". Canadian Architect. 

External links

  1. ^ .org.icsidwww
  2. ^ Ellis, Libby (January 2006). "Urban Inspiration" (PDF). PMI Network ( Retrieved 2008-04-03. 


See also

Current projects include the beautification of McGill Street south of Victoria Square towards Old Montreal. There are long-term plans to continue the covering of the Ville-Marie Expressway further east to the currently dilapidated Viger Square behind City Hall, where the new land may be used for expansion of the future mega-hospital Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal to be built north of the expressway.

Future projects

The project was managed by the Société du Quartier international de Montréal, a CAD$76 million (approx. US$57 million); the actual cost was $90 million (US$68 million). According to QIM's management, more than half of the overrun resulted from additional work requested by the city, as well as additional expropriation costs. Total investment in the district from all sources was approximately $860 million (US$650 million) between 2000 and 2003.


As of September 2005, the project had received 22 awards in 13 different domains, including the PMI Project of the Year 2005 from the Normand Laprise's world-famous Toqué! restaurant moved from its tiny Saint Denis Street location to the Centre CDP Capital on Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, putting the QIM on the international gastronomy map. The district has become a prestigious address for real estate development, with upscale housing built and under construction totalling approximately 1000 units as of 2005.

Clément Demers was responsible for overall project design, working with Consortium Daoust Lestage and Provencher, Roy et associés, with engineers Groupe conseil Genivar. Architect and urban planner Jean-Claude Marsan also consulted on the project.[2]

Sidewalks were widened and re-paved in order to increase the pedestrian area by 40%. Open-air parking lots were eliminated and replaced with 1,300 new parking spaces added under the Palais des Congrès, Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, and the Centre CDP Capital. Several trees were planted, and distinctive street furniture and street lighting was installed, including 22 backlit columns adorned with world flags in the median divider on University Street, welcoming southern arrivals from the Bonaventure Expressway.

ICAO World Headquarters


Northwest of Victoria Square is the Complexe Maisonneuve, made of the two aluminum-clad Bell and National Bank of Canada towers built in 1982. Neighbouring Place Bonaventure, connected to the Bonaventure Metro station, marks the western boundary of the QIM. A tunnel built under University Street between Place de la Cité internationale and Place Bonaventure finally connected the eastern and western parts of the Underground City which had previously been separated.

University Street. A taller second phase has been announced on the site for quite some time, to fill the void near Tour de la Bourse.

Place de la Cité internationale and surroundings

Tour de la Bourse (Stock Exchange Tower) near Square Victoria

Once an empty space crossed diagonally by Beaver Hall and McGill streets, Victoria Square was restored to its original configuration, that of a tree-lined square between parallel avenues. Trees and benches were added, the statue of Queen Victoria was reinstated, and special care was given to Hector Guimard's Art Nouveau outdoor entrance to the Square-Victoria-OACI Metro station. The square is now fronted on the east by the Centre CDP Capital and the Montreal World Trade Centre, to the west by Tour de la Bourse and Place de la Cité internationale, and to the south by the Quebecor building, its outdated façade fully re-designed for the occasion.

Victoria Square


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