I can’t get an exact date on this pic, but as you can see the Champlain Bridge is up but Nun’s Island isn’t much developed. Griffintown and Little Burgundy are clearly visible in this pic, though you can see there’s a considerable focus on new light-industrial activity centered on the old stockyard. As it happened, Mayor Drapeau re-zoned much of this area for exactly that purpose, driving residents out and leaving the area in its current state. Of course, what he wasn’t entirely counting on was CN and CP going through major downsizing and rationalization during the 1980s and 1990s. The end result was that all the track in this picture would be deemed excessive and ultimately destroyed. The nail in the coffin of sorts was when PM Brian Mulroney, as his last act in office, cut the ribbon at a dedication ceremony during the construction of the Bell Centre.
Here’s a link to a Wikipedia page with info pertaining to new skyscraper construction in Montréal. One of the only commercial property development projects not currently waiting for an anchor tenant or otherwise on indefinite hiatus, is Cadillac Fairview’s new Windsor Station Project, which aims to build several towers near the intersection of Mountain and St-Antoine. Cadillac Fairview had previously proposed a new train station to be built South of Windsor Station (but still integrated into the station as part of the Réso) with a viaduct crossing St-Antoine. Of course, we all know how good the Bonaventure Viaduct worked out for this area.
If it could be done in such a fashion that there was a major increase of diverse residential housing in the area, then I’d be more inclined to think that both of these new projects would be winners – that even a new viaduct could be done in such a fashion so as not to further dissect the urban core. However, that being said, I’m disinclined to think Cadillac Fairview will be interested in constructing anything but condos – someone will have to ensure that medium and low income housing is also provided, in addition to family-run small businesses and necessary community and cultural services. If the newly redeveloped parts of Griffintown and the Faubourg des Recollets seem to be lacking something – they are. They’re not communities yet, and they don’t feel like the rest of Montréal. Ultimately, you can’t leave city planning up to corporations from Toronto.