If there's one thing Montreal does well, it's winter. Yes, we kick summer's booty too, but the resilience, resourcefulness, and joie de vivre of Montreal is showcased most during the cold months of winter.
Simply put, Montreal knows how to actually enjoy the season, and come 2017, we'll be able to do winter even better, thanks to a revitalization of the Atwater Market area which should see the creation of a giant ice rink on the Lachine Canal.
A component to a larger design plan dubbed "La Place du Marché," the potential Lachine Canal ice rink is being developed by leaders of the Sud-Ouest borough and Montreal Ville en movement, who believe the project could be completed by 2017.
The urban redevelopment project was put together during a three-day public forum-design competition hybrid held in October, which asked citizens for their input on how to improve the borough.
Of the hundreds of entries, a team consisting of Montreal architects Bryan Marchand, Valentin Guirao and Toby Manaças won the competition, and so the plan for La Place du Marché was born.
There are many aspects to the Place du Marché project, but the "Chalet du Lachine Canal" is easily the most exciting. To be built on the banks of the canal, the chalet will act as a hub of winter fun, allowing Montrealers to ski, play, and (of course) skate right on the canal.
As amazing as a giant ice rink on the Lachine Canal would be, there is still one potential setback: the project needs to be approved by Parks Canada, who oversees the canal area.
After speaking to a Parks Canada representative, we can confirm that tests will be done on the Lachine Canal this winter to ensure the initiative is safe and viable. If the ice-tests go well, we could then see a Lachine Canal ice rink by 2017.
The Place du Marché plan will also include a redesign of the area around Lionel-Groulx metro, an improvement of the area to and from Atwater Market to make it more pedestrian friendly, and an amelioration of the public market itself. To see more on the project, head to MTL Ville en Mouvement's website here.