Downtown Montreal will look very different by 2019 thanks to a $200 million makeover of the Place Ville Marie Esplanade.

Work on the Esplanade has officially begun and is being carried out by Ivanhoé Cambridge, who is also footing the bill for the redesign. 

“The Esplanade will be programmed with cultural and experiential activities rivalling those of the great international metropolises” said Bernard Poliquin, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s Senior Vice President of the Quebec Office, in a news release for the project. 

Parterning with Sid Lee Architecture and  Menkès Shooner Dagenais Létourneux Architectes the new-and-improved Place Ville Marie Esplanade will be designed with downtown Montreal’s bustling energy and foot-traffic in mind. 

The makeover will make the space “more accessible and usable,” said Jean Pelland of Sid Lee Architecture, also noting that the architectural design will be guided by a “desire for great openness.”

Part of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s $1 billion investment into Downtown Montreal, the the Esplanade is part of the company’s Projet Nouveau-Centre initiative. Renovation work on other projects included in the initiative (Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Maison Manuvie) have already begun. 

Work is already underway for the Montreal Eaton Centre, scheduled to be completed in 2020.

So what’s going to be new in the updated Place Ville Marie Esplanade?

As you may be able to notice in the project’s concept images, a giant class pavilion will be installed, which will also connect to the underground. 

A “grand staircase” will also be built, connecting the Esplanade to McGill College. Renovated storefronts and restaurants are also planned, along with replacements for several facades of Place Ville Marie. 

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