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Holding an event in a public space

The Quartier des spectacles is a space for living creation, open to artistic and cultural diversity; a territory where everyone who enjoys Montreal’s creativity comes to congregate, whether in evening dress or jeans. They come to share exceptional moments that enrich and bring colour to their lives. In the Quartier, engaging, inspiring and stimulating encounters take place between the work, the creators, the performers and their public.

Application for use of public spaces in the Quartier des spectacles

Our role as a venue and cultural catalyst means that we host many initiatives of all kinds. Why not yours?

This guide to the use of the public spaces will help you become familiar with the terms and conditions of holding events in the Quartier des spectacles, so you can prepare your proposal.

The public spaces managed by the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

The locus of the Quartier des spectacles is the intersection of Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Laurent. Its territory is bounded by Sherbrooke Street to the north, City Councillors Street to the west, Saint-Hubert Street to the east and René-Lévesque Blvd. to the south. The Quartier’s three nodes are the Saint-Laurent node, at the intersection of Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Laurent, the Quartier Latin node to the east and the Places des Arts node to the west. The spaces managed by the Partnership are found within this 1 km2 quadrilateral. There are six spaces: Places des Festivals, Promenade des Artistes, the Parterre, Esplanade Clark,1 Place de la Paix and Place Émilie-Gamelin.

When a street in the Quartier des spectacles is closed to vehicles, the resulting space falls under the management of the Partnership. As such, the Partnership carries out its mandate in the public domain comprising the streets, sidewalks, alleyways and other elements of the urban fabric. The Quartier des spectacles’ network of public spaces also includes the following sites:

  • The Place des Arts Esplanade is located on Sainte-Catherine Street at the heart of Place des Arts. It is managed by Places des Arts.
  • UQAM’s Place Pasteur is located in front of UQAM’s Athanase-David Pavilion, on Saint-Denis Street, opposite the bell tower of the former Saint-Jacques Church, now a part of the Judith-Jasmin Pavilion. It is managed by UQAM.
  • Place Hydro-Québec is located between the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and the Maison du développement durable on Sainte-Catherine Street. It is managed by Hydro-Québec.
  • Place de l’Église Unie Saint-James is comprised of the square in front of the St. James United Church, on Sainte-Catherine Street West. This space is managed by the church.

The Partnership works in close collaboration with the managing organizations of these spaces in order to ensure the smooth coordination of outdoor activities or events held in the Quartier des spectacles.

1This space is currently under construction.

Main features of the public spaces managed by the Partnership

The features of each space must be taken into consideration when being used.

Note that none of the spaces managed by the Partnership may be closed off, with the exception of the provisions provided for by law with respect to the sale of alcohol in a public space.

Place Émilie-Gamelin:

  • Covers a 60,349 sq. ft. (5,606 m2) area and is subdivided into three distinct zones, including a 24,185 sq. ft. (2,246 m2) area with paving stones that comprises the main zone where events are held.
  • Is home to the following permanent structures:2 the work Gratte-ciel, cascades d’eau/rues, ruisseaux… a construction, by the artist Melvin Charney, located on the north side of the site, near De Maisonneuve Blvd.; a photo exhibition; as well as a structure that contains a flower shop, on the south side of the site along Sainte-Catherine Street.
  • Principally hosts activities and events with a social and community or civic focus.

Place des Festivals:

  • Covers a 75,000 sq. ft. (6,967.5 m2) area and is bordered by two retail spaces, each occupied by a restaurant with a terrace on Jeanne-Mance Street.
  • Features an animated fountain with 235 water jets.
  • The largest public space in the Quartier, which hosts major tourist events.

The Parterre:

  • Covers a largely grassed-in area of 79,000 sq. ft. (7,339 m2) and can be subdivided into two zones.
  • The space is equipped with four permanent “event showcase” structures that can host exhibitions and artistic or digital installations, or concession stands.
  • Home to the permanent artwork After Babel by the artists John McEwen and Marlene Hilton-Moore.
  • Is suited to medium- and large-scale performance events.
  • Is part of a residential setting, which must be taken into account to ensure harmonious coexistence.

Promenade des Artistes:

  • A linear space covering a 32,000 sq. ft. (2,973 m2) area.
  • Features seven permanent “event showcases.”
  • Suitable for foot traffic and holding exhibitions or artistic or digital installations using the “event showcases.”

Place de la Paix:

  • Surrounded by trees, this space covers a 20,640 sq. ft. (1,917 m2) area.
  • Its size and enclosure provide an intimate setting adapted to the residential environment of this Quartier des spectacles zone.
  • Particularly suitable for presenting outdoor cinematic projections.

Sainte-Catherine Street:

  • The section of Sainte-Catherine Street between Bleury and Saint-Laurent Streets can be closed to vehicular traffic. This pedestrian area becomes a public space, under the Partnership’s jurisdiction, especially between mid-May and the beginning of September.
  • As a pedestrian area, it is appropriate for street-level activities.

Several of these spaces have permanent specialized equipment (video projectors, Wi-Fi and fibre optic Internet connection, spray jets, lighting structures, etc.).

2The permanent structures in the public spaces managed by the Partnership cannot be moved. They must be taken into account when using the spaces.

Eligible organizations and activities and event

Eligible organizations

Only organizations legally constituted for at least six months can submit a proposal for an event or activity using the spaces managed by the Partnership.

Eligible events or activities3

The following types of activities and events can be held in the public spaces managed by the Partnership. These activities or events must provide free access to the general public.

  • Professional artistic or cultural activities or events
    Professional artistic or cultural activities or events that showcase the arts, culture or patrimony in different forms (e.g., performance, installations, exhibition, projections, etc.).
  • Semi-professional or amateur artistic or cultural activities or events
    Non-professional artistic or cultural activities or events within an educational or leisure framework that showcase the arts, culture or patrimony in different forms (e.g., amateur choirs, student exhibitions or performances, popular contests, etc.).
  • Social and community or civic activities or events
    Activities and events that invite the public to mark or celebrate a notable event or to support a social, community or civic cause (e.g., Marche pour la Terre, En ville sans ma voiture, rally against cancer, Saint-Patrick’s Day parade, residents’ picnic, etc). These activities or events can also be associated with important moments in Montreal life (e.g., the celebration of a professional sports team’s success).
  • Sports or recreational activities or events
    Events that showcase the practice of a sport or a fitness activity for competitive or recreational purposes (e.g., World Cycling Cup, Féria du vélo, etc.).
  • Film or photo shoots
    Professional filming activities for television, cinema or other platforms as well as photo shoots. These activities are generally not meant for the general public.

Review of eligibility of activities and events

This policy of use defines eligible activities and events as well as terms and conditions of that use. The review of eligibility of activities and events is a responsibility shared by different parties of the City of Montreal as follows:

  • The Partnership, in collaboration with the City of Montreal’s Bureau des festivals et des événements culturels, determines the eligibility of applications for use of a space that involve professional or non-professional artistic or cultural activities or events.
    All applications for use of space involving these types of activities or events must be sent to the Partnership following the procedure set out here.
  • The Division des événements publics of the City of Montreal is responsible for reviewing the eligibility of applications for use of space involving social and community, sports or recreational activities or events.
    All applications for use of space involving these types of activities or events must be submitted directly to the department following the procedure described on the City of Montreal’s website.
  • Le Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision de Montréal manages the eligibility of film or photo shoots to be held in the public spaces managed by the Quartier des spectacles Partnership.
    All such applications for use of space must be submitted directly to the office following the procedure described on the office’s website
  • The Ville-Marie Borough is responsible for the eligibility of activities or events that are submitted by commercial associations, economic development companies or non-profit organizations with the goal of showcasing and developing the permanent economic and commercial activity of the borough’s sectors. All such applications must be submitted directly to the borough.
  • The neighbourhood police service grants the right to hold a demonstration in the Quartier des spectacles. All such applications must be submitted directly to the police.

A mechanism of coordination is in place so that each reviewing party checks the availability of the requested space with the Partnership beforehand. Although the review of eligibility of activities and events remains the responsibility of the different organizations depending on the activity or event’s nature, all decisions are made in conjunction with the Partnership.

An activity or event may be held in the public spaces managed by the Partnership insofar as it has been judged eligible and has obtained the necessary authorization from decision-making bodies of the City of Montreal.

Non-eligible activities or events

The following types of activities or events cannot be held in the public spaces managed by the Partnership:

  • Activities or events that are not open to the general public.
  • Promotional or commercial activities with the goal of promoting the sale of products or services or involve different forms of public solicitation (e.g., commercial exhibits or fairs, product presentations or launches, press conferences, sponsorship activities, distribution of product samples, etc.).
  • Activities or events that feature inappropriate elements, notably those of a discriminatory, violent or degrading nature, or not permitted by law.
  • Activities or events that pose a potential threat to public security or may damage the public space or street furniture.

Decisions regarding the eligibility of activities or events judged to be inappropriate or potentially dangerous to public security are made in conjunction with the relevant public authorities.

3The terms “events” and “activities” refer to any form of proposal that may be held in the public spaces (performances, exhibitions, installations, gatherings, etc.).

Conditions of use

Activities or events that are held in the public spaces managed by the Quartier des spectacles Partnership must provide free access to the general public.4

Activities and events produced on the sites must contribute to the Partnership’s objectives and main directions, and comply with its general programming principles. More specifically, activities and events must meet the following conditions:

Selection priority

Proposals are selected in priority and by order of importance as follows:

  1. Professional artistic or cultural activities or events that have historically been a part of the programming calendar for the sites managed by the Partnership.
  2. Annual or recurring cultural events presented by the Partnership.
  3. Professional artistic or cultural activities or events receiving financial support from the Partnership.
  4. Professional artistic or cultural activities or events receiving financial support from the City of Montreal.
  5. Professional artistic or cultural activities or events.
  6. Semi-professional or amateur artistic or cultural activities or events as well as activities or events with a civic or social and community dimension.
  7. Other types of eligible activities or events.

Preference of proposals

Activities or events that feature the following characteristics will be given preference for the use of the sites managed by the Partnership:

  • Proposals that will increase attendance to the Quartier des spectacles by both Montrealers and tourists
  • Proposals that also use indoor venues in the Quartier des spectacles simultaneously
  • Proposals that demonstrate strong potential for generating nationwide or international attention

In the event that organizations submit an application for the same dates and insofar as all the conditions and terms of use are equally met, Montreal-based proposals, and more specifically, the ones submitted by organizations whose headquarters are located on the Quartier des spectacles territory, will be given preference.

Terms of use

The Partnership is responsible for managing the programming calendar for the public spaces it operates. As such:

  • Activities and events that meet the terms of use will be accepted insofar as they obtain the necessary authorization from decision-making bodies of the City of Montreal.
  • It will aim to vary the nature and intensity of activities and events held in the Quartier’s public spaces, notably with a view to mitigating and minimizing nuisance for local residents and regular visitors.

Organizations must adhere to the following terms of use:

  • Choose a site whose main features correspond the closest to those of the activity or the event being proposed.
  • Ensure that the public spaces that are used are easily accessible to all, including those with reduced mobility, and safe at all times.
  • Confirm the availability of necessary material, furniture and specialized equipment with the person in charge at the Partnership or with the relevant body at the City of Montreal.
  • Assume all costs related to the use of the public spaces, material and specialized equipment managed by the Partnership where applicable (use of the public domain, electricity, material rental, etc.).
  • Adhere to municipal bylaws (noise, sales, advertising) that apply to the use of the public spaces, material and specialized equipment managed by the Partnership.
  • Seek to showcase the features of the spaces (artwork, fountains, urban environment, etc.).
  • Keep the public spaces clean and in good condition.
  • Efficiently manage the period of time that the site is used, especially by limiting the time needed for setting up and dismantling installations and equipment.
  • Ensure harmonious coexistence with the Quartier’s various functions (residential, commercial, etc.), notably with respect to activities or events that are held simultaneously in other public spaces.
  • Recognize that the Quartier des spectacles is also an inhabited environment and minimize the negative impact of the activity or event on local residents and regular visitors.
  • Treat street closures as an exceptional measure, whose need must be demonstrated and documented and which, if done, must be done in such a say as to minimize the impact on the Quartier des spectacles stakeholders.

4Only film shoots are exempt from the requirement to provide access to the general public.

The organization’s responsibilities

Organizations that receive a favourable response to their proposal for an event or activity in the public space managed by the Partnership must:

  • Demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of the activity or event to be held.
  • Comply with these terms of use and all accompanying rules.
  • Prove that they have obtained the necessary permits from the City of Montreal.
  • Respect the by-laws and rules in effect that govern the occupation and use of the public domain whose main principles are set out in the rules of use for public spaces managed by the Partnership. (See Règles d’utilisation des espaces publics du Quartier des spectacles. -In french only)
  • Obtain the Partnership’s approval for any change in the nature of the activity or event, the plan for the use of the public spaces or the use of the spaces, material and specialized equipment as soon as possible.
  • Notify the Partnership at the earliest possible opportunity of the cancellation of the activity or event to be held in the public spaces that it manages.
  • At their own expense, secure and keep valid a liability insurance policy with minimum coverage of five million dollars ($5 M), covering bodily injury and property damage, in which the Partnership and City of Montreal must be named co-insured parties. The rider on the organization’s insurance policy must be submitted to the Partnership at least ten (10) days before the beginning of the activity or event. The insurance policy must cover the organization, the Partnership and City of Montreal throughout the entire period in which the organization is to have site access, i.e., before, during and after the period in which the activity or event is held.
  • Systematically acknowledge the association of the Quartier des spectacles with the activity or event in the different communications and promotional initiatives surrounding the activity or event (e.g., press releases, talks, event program or brochure, site map, etc.).
  • Following the completion of the event or activity, and at their own expense, restore the site to the same condition it was in when the organization took possession, failing which the organization shall assume the cost of all repair undertaken by the Ville-Marie Borough.
  • Participate in a review of the activity or event, led by the Partnership in collaboration with the relevant partners.

Technical ressources (in french)

Submitting an application for use of public spaces

An organization that wishes to submit an application for use of one of the public spaces managed by the Partnership for an artistic or cultural activity or event must fill out the application for use of the spaces

  • A description of the activity or event, including the program, number of people expected and planned obstructions.
  • A detailed site map, including obstructions (see the maps available on the Quartier des spectacles Partnership’s website).
  • A production calendar.
  • A production budget.
  • A brief presentation of the planned communications and promotional initiatives that will provide a means to publicize the association between the activity or event and the Quartier des spectacles.
  • An overview of the expected volume of traffic, the profile of the targeted public and expected visibility (regional, national or international).
  • The organization’s letters patent.
  • A resolution from the organization’s Board of Directors authorizing the submission of the application and appointing an authorized signatory.

Response time

Expect the Partnership’s decision no more than 12 weeks after it receives all required documents.