Winter is the time when Montreal construction generally comes to a standstill. While some projects persist through the cold months, many come to a grinding halt.

For some, this time is a welcome respite from the unceasing cacaphony of screeching heavy machinery and clattering hammers. But for most, work sites left unfinished for the winter are a nuisance, even a hazard.

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TL;DR The city of Montreal has unveiled plans to renovate Square Phillips. The reinvigorated small downtown park will have an interactive water feature, dozens more trees, more space for pedestrians, and free Wifi.

During this time of the year, when construction feels never-ending, only the promise of shiny new infrastructure and amenities are enough to make these holes in the cityscape (barely) tolerable.

So it's always a treat when developers release renderings of the expected results of planned or ongoing projects. These images placate the masses with glimpses of a brighter future. Today, the future seems especially exciting.

The city of Montreal has unveiled its plans for Phillips Square downtown. Currently, the dilapidated and grey public space across from the Hudson's Bay Company on Sainte Cathrine Street is more of a meeting place than a destination in itself.

Via Photo 128894030 © Wangkun Jia -

The upcoming renovation is going to change that perception. According to La Presse, the city plans to enlarge the park by 35% by elimiating the parking spaces adjacent to it. Sidewalks will also be expanded while the number of trees in the small park will be more than quadrupled.

The small kiosk currently at the northwest corner of the square, which appears to mostly serve tourists, will be eliminated to make more room for pedestrians.

An interactive fountain and, if the winter rending is accurate, light display at the centre of the park will make it more dynamic. There will also be free Wifi, according to the CBC.

This invigorated realm will be a welcome addition to a stretch of the downtown that is largely devoid of park or gathering space.

The renovation is part of a larger plan to make Sainte Catherine Street more pedestrian friendly. 

But Montrealers will have to wait another two years to enjoy the space, which is not slated to open until at least 2021.

This will at least be something to look forward to during these demoralizing few days of extreme cold.

Stay tuned.



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