Photo cred - L'Gros Luxe

Although the project to keep Montreal’s bars open until 6 am has stagnated for the time being, a different initiative extending business hours has passed and been successful: the regulation regarding Plateau stores on weekends.

Since December, a pilot project set to last for two years has allowed retailers on Mont-Royal, Saint-Denis, Saint-Laurent, and Duluth to stay open until 9 pm on weekends, as opposed to the 5 pm restriction previously imposed on the borough, according to Journal Metro.

Unsurprisingly, the measure has been highly profitable for businesses. Store-owners from the area report that 15 to 25 percent of weekend sales have come between 5 pm and 6:30 pm since the project’s inception. As successful as it’s been so far, one can only imagine how well it’ll do in the warmer months, when Montrealers can walk the streets without suffering from the bitter cold.

Montreal politicians need to take a hint from the measure and apply the same logic to the city’s nightlife. Just as the Plateau’s stores are now allowed to stay open late on weekends, clubs around town need to be treated with a similarly laissez-faire approach. Club owners certainly wouldn’t be forced to stay open (as Plateau owners haven’t been), but they’d have the option to make more money if they wish.

With a bit of luck, the Plateau’s pilot project will be extended beyond its initial two year lifespan, and another attempt at a 6 am pilot project will follow suit. Montreal is a town of late-nighters, and we deserve to have businesses which reflect our habits. Let’s stop restricting business owners and patrons, and allow the city to be what it can.

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