The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

The Faubourgs sector: The future of downtown Montréal lies in the east

Over the course of the 20th century, the Faubourgs sector has experienced a series of major upheavals, including deindustrialization, major infrastructure projects and massive expropriations, leading to an outflow of residents and a decline in commercial activities. Between 1961 and 1991, an estimated 70,000 people left the area southeast of downtown.

Now, the redevelopment of four major sites (Molson, Radio-Canada, the northern sector of Pied-du-Courant, sometimes called Porte Sainte-Marie or Quais de Lorimier, and a proposed Quartier des fonctionnaires) could breathe new life into the sector, offering a unique opportunity to restructure large areas in the heart of the city. This would also re-establish the iconic working-class and industrial district as both a key driver of downtown Montréal’s vitality and a bridge with the east of the island.

Although the planning of the Faubourgs sector can be viewed as a local issue, we believe that it must be undertaken as a project with clear city-wide repercussions. Despite the increase in housing starts, vacancy rates are currently at historical lows and are putting growing pressure on the cost of housing. If Montréal is to remain an affordable city, we must ensure that we keep up the pace by optimizing the space available to buyers and tenants on the island.

The Chamber has a vision of the Faubourgs as a great neighbourhood for life, work and play. In the context of the unprecedented economic momentum behind the development of eastern Montréal, the stars also seem to be aligning for the transformation of this area east of downtown Montréal. Indeed, some major players involved in the neighbourhood’s revitalization have recently begun investing in the sector, and they have the boldness and expertise to successfully execute their projects. This situation would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. It is now up to the various neighbourhood communities to maximize the benefits of these changes.

The Chamber is proposing ten recommendations in its brief to the special urban planning program (Programme particulier d’urbanisme, PPU) responsible for the development of the sector in the coming years.

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