Montreal Expo 67 site will undergo major redevelopment


Montreal’s beloved Parc Jean-Drapeau, an island site of Expo 67 almost 55 years ago on the St.Lawrence River, will undergo a spectacular $ 1 billion transformation over the next eight years with major works which should be launched next year.

With the master plan approved by the City of Montreal earlier this year following a three-year planning process, the park management agency, the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau, will undertake a detailed design to flesh out a new vision for the park. and oversee dozens of large and small projects spread across its two islands.

Jonathan Cha, the company’s senior planning advisor, explained the 662-acre park, with its multitude of attractions such as the Casino de Montreal, the Biosphere (housed in the geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller of renowned Expo), the La Ronde amusement park and the Gilles Villeneuve Formula 1 racecourse and paddock, however, suffered long neglect, with much of the $ 970 million planned for its redevelopment having to be spent on structural rehabilitation.

PARC JEAN-DRAPEAU – The redevelopment of Place des Nations, a major gathering place for Expo 67, will be among the first projects undertaken as part of the redevelopment of Parc Jean-Drapeau.

The planning process identified necessary new guiding principles, respecting the ecological traditions of the park and the opportunities to be at the forefront of future improvements in addition to the objectives of heritage, diversity, innovation and development. ‘inclusion. The park will become car-free.

“We evaluated all the different legacies that we identified and in particular that of Expo 67 in the master plan and in the designs that we made,” said Cha, who worked closely with a team of 20. designers representing several companies including Nippaysage and Real Paul. Architect on the master plan.

“We tried to find a way to improve all of these areas… We focused on a few places where we really want to feel a sense of belonging. People will find this in the new park, but they will also find a contemporary park.

Funding is still being put in place, but Cha said the City of Montreal has pledged to cover around half of the costs, with other levels of government being invited to contribute and strategic private funding being sought as well.

During the approval of the master plan in April, the mayoress of Montreal Valérie Plante declared: “The plan that we are submitting will allow a better balance between its natural and recreational characteristics, thanks to developments that highlight its historic character while protecting this invaluable natural environment. The master plan… is directly linked to our goal of establishing a network of parks that will be the envy of the world.

Some 6,000 Montrealers actively participated in the design process and Cha said there is a substantial appetite for conserving the islands’ natural areas and improving access with new walkways and passive spaces.

JEAN-DRAPEAU PARK – The aerial walkways will evoke memories of the Expo 67 monorail system.

The new direction represents a change of pace from recent projects, including the construction of a 68,000-seat outdoor amphitheater and the erection of the new Formula 1 paddock, together valued at $ 130 million. Eight million people visited the park in 2017.

“Now we want to create spaces where people will just walk and cycle and do the more typical activities that we typically find in large parks,” Cha said. “Sustainable development, climate change, conservation, social implications, all these aspects are included in the master plan, this is the new reality. “

The first to come out from 2022 to 2024 will be the redevelopment of the space of the Parc des Plaines des Jeux and the revitalization of the agora on several levels of the Place des Nations, the gathering space adorned with Expo 67 flags. .

The main list of projects the owner wants to see undertaken by 2030 contains 31 works, ranging from the new $ 212 million Jacques Cartier mixed-use building and the $ 67 million upgrade to the Biodome and Hélène-de-Champlain pavilion. the $ 92 million redevelopment of the Cosmos footbridge.

Other major projects include a 15-kilometer waterfront promenade; re-establishment of the canopy at Lac des Cygnes; the rehabilitation of waterways including the canals of Île Notre-Dame to make them accessible to water sports; and a new Île-Ste-Hélène ferry terminal.

A raised walkway system will also conjure up images of the monorail system at Expo 67 and offer a new way to experience the park, Cha said.

Cha admits that plans could change as more detailed design work is done and given that there will be work going on at many levels.

“Things could change over time, but the goal is to stay more or less within the decade average, especially for major infrastructure,” he said. “There will also be thousands of actions in the strategic framework action plan.

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