The Plateau

Montreal, Canada

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

A quaint working-class quarter transformed into the artistic and cultural hotbed of Quebec.

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Why It Works

This is really Montreal’s showcase neighbourhood, featuring some of the city’s finest architecture, cuisine and entertainment spaces. Plateau dwellers include quirky artistic types, university students, young families and an older generation of people who still remember this now-hip neighbourhood when it was a working class melange of cultures and ethnicities.

Running through the Plateau is Montreal’s historic Saint Laurent Boulevard, which was the city’s first major artery and remained as the East-West dividing line as the city grew since the 1700s – particularly notable as the city’s west end has historically been Anglophone and the east primarily Francophone. St Laurent is a lively strip today that offers cutting edge cinema/new-media entertainment at venues such as Ex-Centris, as well as trendy boutique shopping and funky cafes offering diverse gastronomies. Also of historic significance, St Denis Boulevard is just a few streets east and boasts the densest offering of restaurants in the city!

The Plateau is pleasurable to live in particularly because of the close proximity between entertainment spaces, parks and accommodation. The neighbourhood is minutes from the downtown core and is elevated above it – offering vistas extending to the harbour, in some cases, as well as a sense of distance from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Parks such as the quaint Carré St Louis, (a small square sitting in between St Laurent and St Denis Blvd), and much larger Lafontaine (over 40 hectares with sports facilities and 2 man-made boating ponds) offer Plateau residents a huge array of different outdoor leisure/social options.

What Makes The Plateau a Great Place?

Though Montreal’s subway system is not extensive as London or New York’s, it is a clean, safe and beautiful transit system that connects the Plateau to the CBD as well as other city neighbourhoods. As this urban neighbourhood is central, accessibility to and through it via bus and private motor vehicle is a breeze.

The Plateau is generally very safe and residents patronise restaurants, bars/lounges and clubs until 3am – pedestrian traffic flows well into the night. The neighbourhood typically features characteristic tree-lined single-lane streets and small bakeries, butchers Montreal’s famous corner-store grocers called ‘Deppaneurs.’

People are increasingly seeking to live in the Plateau because of its plethora of diverse activities and amenities. On weekends Montrealers flock to the Plateau to stroll, shop and relax in the neighbourhood’s parks.

The Plateau is extremely sociable, friendly and welcoming. It is home to many of the city’s artistic scenes which may lend to its casual air. Pick-up games of soccer and Frisbee are always going on in the parks and people of all ages can be found strolling through streets and lounging in cafes during the afternoon!

History & Background

Historically, this neighbourhood was home to working class immigrants employed in various trades, including the textile manufacturing industry.

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