The plaza at Place Ville-Marie was most recently renovated in 2005, which resulted in its current configuration with significant new green space, flora, planters and glass skylight/entrances over the staircases leading o the shopping concourse below. Back in 1968, this space was the site chosen by Pierre Trudeau to hold a major election rally. As it was far more open-concept back then:
Looking down St-Urbain with the ubiquitous summertime construction going on. I suppose the new concert hall is going up immediately to the right of this shot. Anyone know if the entrance will face St-Urbain or will it face inwards to the plaza at Place des Arts? Any chance there will be both?
I’ve always felt this stretch of St-Urbain is without much character, or at least there’s not much unifying the streetscape. It’s unfortunate that it serves as a continuous ‘loading dock’ for several blocks. Still, pretty to see the Aldred Building, rising steadily like a self-conscious fountain – never ostentatious as its almost invisible from ground level, muted in context when seen from a distance.
A key component to successful redevelopment of this area will be the introduction of more ‘street-level’ services and some low-density housing. Moreover, it could certainly use public services, such as schools, community centers, theaters, libraries etc. No city is built uniquely of condos, lest we wish to look like Toronto.
McGill College, once upon a time, was a narrow one-lane street, crumbling on both sides with the remnants of the residential buildings and small-scale businesses once typical of St. Andrew and St. George’s ward. By the 1970s, a good portion of this stretch featured surface parking lots.
As you can see, the back-and-forth between the city, the developers and the public continued for some time, featuring a wide variety of different proposals, which included some plans to block off the view of Mount Royal entirely, while others proposed odd looking bridges to connect retail shopping centers and department stores overhead, and then underground.