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Revitalizing heritage and iconic buildings: almost 400 people turn out for the 10th edition of the Strategic Forum on Major Projects

Montréal, March 21, 2016 – The tenth edition of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal’s Strategic Forum on Major Projects took place today, with as guests the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Land Occupancy, Minister of Public Security and Minister responsible for the Montréal region, the Honourable Martin Coiteux, as well as Montréal Mayor and Chair of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Denis Coderre. Guided by Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, the main theme for the day was revitalizing heritage and iconic sites. Discussions about the development of Montréal and modernization combined with its rich heritage brought together almost 400 of the city’s decision makers and influencers at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

“Heritage sites should not be museums; we need to update them for modern times and spaces,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “At least 6 million square feet of space needs to be updated in the coming years, notably Maison de Radio-Canada and the Molson Brewery. Actors from the milieu and the business community need to develop ways of preserving heritage and carrying out projects that turn a profit to justify private investment. Promoters need to have vision, financiers have to recognize the potential and heritage lovers have to see the need to offer a return on investment now that the city is thriving once again. We have the potential for creativity and innovation to put forward projects worthy of the assets we want to showcase.”

“The projects presented at today’s Forum will reinvent part of our modern heritage, be it the Viger Station, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Jean-Drapeau Park or lights on the Jacques Cartier Bridge for the 375th anniversary,” Michel Leblanc said. “They will show that heritage and economic development are compatible and that we can make our iconic sites profitable.”

“As we prepare for the 375th anniversary of Montréal, we need to give some thought to the vision that will guide festivities and legacies for the 400th anniversary which, in terms of urban planning and infrastructure, is just around the corner,” Michel Leblanc said. “Many of the city’s establishments that offer opportunities with a great deal of potential require thinking about the next stage of their existence to avoid ending up with empty heritage buildings like the Royal Victoria Hospital. Montréal is seeking growth, and we need to continue to develop our assets by leveraging our rich heritage.”

“In the past ten years, we have noticed that cynicism about major projects in Montréal has evaporated,” Mr. Leblanc said. “The city’s business people are looking toward the future, and we are convinced that the city’s best years lie ahead.”

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.


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Guillaume Bérubé
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca

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