Parc Jean-Drapeau (PJD) is one of the most popular spots in Montréal. It has been the site of many highlights of the city’s modern history, such as Expo 67, Man and His World and the 1976 Olympic Games. The fall 2018 Office de consultation publique de Montréal’s consultations about its future are an opportunity to look at its role and consider issues of accessibility, the commercial offer and financing.
All cities need expansive outdoor spaces that can host major events and family activities and that offer a chance to relax and get away. These spaces are designed to entertain both residents and tourists. This is how Parc Jean-Drapeau was designed in 1874, and then developed as we know it in the 1960s, to become the city’s playground.
PJD has to be defined based on its current successes. Since the largest generators of traffic to the park are the Casino de Montréal, La Ronde, the Grand Prix du Canada and summer music festivals, the business community believes that PJD must be positioned as an entertainment space.
Parc Jean-Drapeau should become one of the places to be in the city. One of the ways to make it more attractive year-round is to increase accessibility. Travel to and from PJD needs to be simplified and more fluid. PJD should not just be appreciated from afar: people need to be able to get there easily.
A number of options can be explored to achieve this objective. A monorail from the Old Port to the park has been suggested in the past. An updated version of this idea could address a number of the issues identified. Another way to improve access to the park would be to review the river shuttle service so that shuttles are seen as part of the public transit system. We also need to increase the frequency of the metro on the yellow line from Longueuil and downtown.
PJD is also the ideal site to experiment with smart mobility technology, because of its location, its environment and the type of travel. Travel at the site could be made easier by testing an electric, self-driving shuttle, for example.
Explore new business models
Parc Jean-Drapeau’s commercial offer is limited and not very appealing to tourists or families who want to spend the day there.
Whether by developing a hotel offer, having restaurant areas or building infrastructure to hold more winter activities, PJD has to review its commercial offer to increase traffic and fulfill the role that it will play in the coming years.
Parc Jean-Drapeau has to consolidate its status as the city’s playground. It is primarily a site for entertainment, and its development needs to occur with that vision in mind.
We have to make it a place that will appeal to Montrealers with major events, ease of access and appealing facilities. If Montrealers enjoy the park, tourists will want to visit too.
>> Download the CCMM’s brief Le parc Jean-Drapeau, terrain de jeu de la métropole (In French only) here