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Friday, October 22nd, 2021

An Ambitious and Thoughtful Vision for Montréal’s Largest Insular Park

Unveiling of Parc Jean-Drapeau’s 2020-2030 Conservation, Design and Development Management Plan
An Ambitious and Thoughtful Vision for Montréal’s Largest Insular Park
Image © NIPPAYSAGE

The Société du parc Jean-Drapeau is unveiling its 2020-2030 Conservation, Design and Development Management Plan, the culmination of more than three years of in-depth work and a superb collective intelligence effort. The result is a Plan which provides a projection into the future, a re-thinking of the Parc's overall offer, and an enhancement of Parc users’ experience.

An Ambitious and Thoughtful Vision for Montréal’s Largest Insular Park
Image © NIPPAYSAGE

The development of the management plan began with an extensive public consultation conducted by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal(OCPM), in which more than 6,000 people participated. The vision shared by most of the participants centered around striking a balance between the Parc’s natural and event-related components through developments that highlight its historical features while preserving and enhancing its inestimable natural environment. This strategy strives to return to the notion of a great and active, green and blue urban park that emphasizes places its insular character.

The proposed plan is aimed at making Parc Jean-Drapeau a widely-known, iconic place and a calling card for the city of Montréal, that is likely to attract local and international visitors, not only because of the diversity of individual and collective experiences offered in conjunction with nature, landscapes, history, culture, and sports but also because of its environmental commitment, as a laboratory for best practices in sustainable development.

An Ambitious and Thoughtful Vision for Montréal’s Largest Insular Park
Image © NIPPAYSAGE

Sparked by an undeniable desire to put sociability, citizenship, democracy, durability, ecology, and culture in the forefront, we are hoping that, over the next decade, parc Jean-Drapeau becomes one of the parks which is emblematic of Montréal and one of the most widely known contemporary parks in Canada,’’ said Société du parc Jean-Drapeau director-general Isabelle Bonneau. “Innovating to stand out, conducting an organizational transition, listening to multiple users and offering distinctive experiences: these are the challenges in the coming years to make Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame islands a park that is bigger than nature itself.

Projects and major development initiatives

The plan, which extends over 10 years, is an investment for the Montréal community and it will result in being able to offer the population a top-notch public park and infrastructures with concerted building and development initiatives, positioning Montréal as one of the greenest cities in the world. In carrying out the developmental proposals of the Management Plan the Parc enlisted the services of the NIPPAYSAGE and Réal Paul Architectes team to shape this vision of the future. Interest in the development project is centered around respect for heritages, responding to constraints, needs, and current issues, and the creativity of proposals based on the best modern practices in landscape architecture. The result is a park that is more accessible, inclusive, diversified, green, and public.

An Ambitious and Thoughtful Vision for Montréal’s Largest Insular Park
Image © NIPPAYSAGE

Parc Jean-Drapeau is in the heart of a vibrant city known for its creativity, design, and quality of life,” remarked Michel Langevin, Landscape Architect Associate with NIPPAYSAGE. “This spirit of Montréal is conveyed in its approaches and innovative solutions which align to solidify these specific identities and put sustainable development at the core of its initiatives. We are truly honored to be able to contribute to this vision of the future.

The major structural projects and actions proposed by the Plan from now until 2030 include:

  • The complete redevelopment of Place des Nations, a major icon from Expo 67, into a large, multi-level agora that will become a meeting, experimentation, and learning place, and the enhancement of its access-ways, surroundings, and neighboring shorelines.
  • The protection, connection, and promotion of the Parc’s natural heritage and areas of ecological interest by increasing the canopy cover by 30% and creating a biodiversity corridor linking the cores of the two islands.  
  • Developing a 15-kilometer riverbank promenade around the islands which will provide outstanding views of downtown Montréal and enable visitors to travel around in a safe and enjoyable manner.
  • Creating a mobility area that will serve to reduce vehicular traffic in the park and the cluster of parking area surfaces, thereby giving green spaces back to the citizens. 
  • Redeveloping the Cosmos walkway as a public, ecological, pedestrian and cycling link to enjoy a unique mobility and contemplative experience above the water. 
  • Creating a night-time identity and a strong lighting system which will enable visitors to enjoy the Parc, even at night.
  • Developing signature elevated walkways to make overall accessibility and the co-existence of the various users easier while opening up different sites and offering new viewpoints overlooking the park and its attractions.
  • The preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration of water areas, notably the canals on Île Notre-Dame, by making them accessible for practicing water sports.
  • Restoring the Plaine des jeux into an expansive and open green space, which will become a great place to relax and unwind, while offering a panoramic view of the city and the river.
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