It’s been approximately 2 years since the provincial government in partnership with the ville announced their plans to transform a somewhat staggering section of downtown Montreal into a mecca for arts and entertainment better known as Le Quartier des Spectacles. Among some of the projects underway, developpers have begun transforming the Blumenthal building into a concert hall and the stretch of Jeanne-Mance bordering the Contemporary Arts Museum is being converted into a public agora if you wish. What seems to be going under the radar at the time being is the expropriation of certain businesses deeply rooted in Montreal’s history. Read on…

At a recent city council meeting held on April 22, city officials voted and agreed upon the exporpriation of the following merchants and businesses in order to make way for a 15-story office building on St-Laurent: Montreal Pool Room (open 24hrs a day since 1912),  Nouveau Main Grocery, Main Importing Grocery, Cafe Cleopatre, and neighbouring buinesses.

The developpers spearheading the whole project, Angus Developments, claim the evictions are necessary in order to give back a certain life to the southern section of The Main and for fire safety reasons. According to Angus the new tower to be erected on St-Laurent boulevard will house non-chain merchants and will in turn make room for galleries along Clark street.

The biggest concerns right now lie in how the project is being handled. While some might argue that such a project would give The Main a much needed facelift, others argue that a piece of heritage would be swept away never to be seen again. Likewise, some owners are reluctant to abandon ship while the city turns a cheek to any concerns form the latter. Gentrification is also a key concern.

What will become of the lower section of The Main? Only time will tell.