Montreal artists present new Urban Plan for Lower Main

Eyebrows are once again being raised concerning the competence of urban planning on the Lower Main. First came the wholesale evictions and gutting of the now-crumbling historic block on the west side of the Lower Main, effectively transforming an area where entertainment once thrived into a dangerous and boarded-up eyesore.  Now, on the south-east corner of Ste. Catherine Street and St. Laurent, all construction work has stopped on the 2-22, an intended cultural center, where, astoundingly, the ground was only broken a few weeks ago.

What was meant to be an anchor in the Quartier des Spectacles is now yet another example of failure to resuscitate the moribund historic area. While the Angus Development Corporation is clearly trying to maximize profits, their proposals are seriously lacking in artistic and cultural vision. Only recently, despite serious opposition from the public, the Angus Development Corporation attempted to destroy authentic Montreal burlesque culture within the historic Café Cleopatra in order to build an office tower.

With all of the delays, destruction and sloppy planning, artists from the Save The Main Coalition have created an alternative Urban Plan for the Lower Main. Taking into account the unique heritage of the area, the new plan highlights its role as an Historic Site devoted to the days of Prohibition – and proposes its restoration as a major destination for entertainment in the heart of the new Quartier des Spectacles. The plan also calls for the revival of burlesque, Montreal’s traditional form of spectacle, to fuel the artistic revival that is necessary to reclaim this important cultural space.

The problem was recently identified during a CKUT radio interview with Craig Sauvé.

The artists from the Save The Main Coalition followed-up with a formal presentation to City officials at the PECHAKUCHA NIGHT MONTREAL #17 – 7 MAI 2010, ÉDITION SPÉCIALE : BOULEVARD SAINT-LAURENT. The video is entitled  “Why Montreal Should Incorporate its Burlesque Heritage into its Brand Image”.

The artists are now requesting a meeting with Montreal’s head of Urban Planning, Richard Bergeron. They hope to present their own antidote for the current mess on the Lower Main: a visionary artistic approach that will enhance heritage, culture, and tourism by properly employing Montreal’s historic assets, effectively reviving burlesque entertainment right in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles.

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