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.


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 Partnership and the relevant Ville de Montréal authorities

As part of its mission, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (Partnership or PQDS) oversees the animation of the Quartier des Spectacles (QDS) by programming cultural activities and managing public spaces. It therefore hosts a wide range of activities and events in the public spaces under its management. To guide its decisions on the hosting of activities and events, the Partnership has produced the present Policy for the occupancy of public spaces. The policy defines a set of broadly applicable principles. Applications to use the Quartier’s public places and the activities calendar are assessed by the comité accueil-événement, a comity formed by the Division Festivals et Événements of the Ville de Montréal borough and the Partnership’s operations management who oversee the principles set out in this policy and ensure their application Although the determination of an activity’s or event’s eligibility may fall under the purview of different organizations depending on the nature of the activity or event, all decisions concerning the use of public spaces are made in coordination with the Partnership, in terms of programming and other issues related to management of the spaces.

The public spaces of the Quartier des Spectacles

Pôle Place des Arts: comprised of the place des Festivals (1), the promenade des Artistes (2), the esplanade of the Place des Arts (9), Sainte-Catherine Street (8) between de Bleury and Saint-Urbain as well as the terrain 066;

Pôle Saint-Laurent: comprised of the Parterre (3), the esplanade Tranquille (5) and its pavilion (4), the Hydro-Québec parc (11), the place du Métro Saint-Laurent and the Peace Park, also known as place de la Paix (6), and Sainte-Catherine Street (8) between Saint-Urbain and Saint-Dominique;

Pôle Quartier latin: comprised of the place Émilie-Gamelin (7), the place Pasteur (10), Emery Street and Saint-Denis between Sherbrooke and Sainte-Catherine.The Quartier’s network of public spaces also includes spaces managed by independent organization. The Partnership works in close collaboration with the organizations responsible for these spaces, to ensure efficient coordination in hosting outdoor activities and events in the Quartier des Spectacles :

  • Esplanade of the Place des Arts (9) : managed by Place des Arts ;
  • Place Pasteur of UQAM (10) : managed by UQAM ;
  • Hydro-Québec park(11) : managed by the Hydro-Québec Society ;
  • Parvis of the Saint-James Church (12) : managed by the Saint James United Church.

The main features of the spaces managed by the Partnership are found in Appendix A.

  • 1Sherbrooke St. and René-Lévesque Blvd. are not part of the Quartier des Spectacles

Main features of the public spaces managed by the Partnership

Each public space managed by the Partnership has its own distinctive features, which must be taken into account when planning the use of a given space.

Several spaces are equipped with permanent specialized equipment (video projectors, fiber optic access points, lighting structures, etc.). In addition, the Partnership offers event and activity organizers a range of services (rental of materials, street furniture and specialized equipment, technical expertise, etc.).

An organization holding an event or activity in a space managed by the Partnership must obey the occupancy rules for the public spaces and all other rules and procedures linked to the occupancy of the public spaces and usage of infrastructures in the Quartier des spectacles. These rules are also detailed in separate documents that can be found on the Partnership’s website. Hosted events must obey security directives issued by the Partnership and the Ville de Montréal. Failure to obey such directives may result in cancellation of the activity or event.

Place des Festivals:

  • Place des Festivals is the largest public space in the Quartier des Spectacles. It hosts major events with citywide appeal. During transitions between events in the Place des Arts hub (set-up and tear-down), Place des Festivals, particularly the area around its fountains, must be kept as clear as possible to allow the public to use the space.

Promenade des Artistes:

  • Promenade des Artistes is well suited to strolling, and thus to visual or digital arts installations using event showcases.

The Parterre:

  • This space is within a residential area, a fact that must be considered in order to ensure good relations with neighbours. The occupancy calendar includes scheduled quiet periods. Events held here must keep noise pollution to a minimum. The Parterre is well suited to medium-sized events and performances.

L’esplanade Tranquille:

  • This space is composed of the exterior esplanade as well as a multifunctional pavilion. On a more intimate scale, the esplanade proposes a more convivial and playful setting all year long with common furniture (tables, chairs, carpets) and playful (hammocks, carrousel, water features). The different elements of furniture will remain available and accessible to the public at all times based on the different installation scenarios.

The occupancy of the esplanade Tranquille assures a reservation priority on the rental spaces in the pavilion.

Sainte-Catherine Street:

  • Sainte-Catherine Street between De Bleury St. and Saint-Laurent Blvd. is a pedestrian zone from early May to mid-september each year.

Place de la Paix:

  • This space’s size and surrounding buildings give it an intimate feel, in keeping with the residential character of this part of the Quartier des Spectacles
  • The space is particularly well suited to open-air film screenings
  • Notwithstanding the general acceptance priorities, projects led by organizations located on or near the square will be given priority
  • It is suitable for small-to-medium sized events
  • The square is partially occupied by the Côte à Côte bench, a four-section artwork by Vincent Morisset and Caroline Robert.

Place Émilie-Gamelin:

Place Émilie-Gamelin is currently the focus of a revitalization initiative based on inclusiveness and the peaceful coexistence of different social groups. Events hosted here must take this goal into consideration

From May to September, Place Émilie-Gamelin becomes Les Jardins Gamelin:

  • Event organizers must work within the Jardins layout and refrain from obstructing the square or the flow of pedestrian traffic
  • Events must fit easily within the programming guidelines the Partnership has developed for the Jardins
  • Set-up, tear-down and rehearsal times must be kept to a minimum in order to avoid deterring visitors or creating excessive gaps in the programming
  • The food sold in the Jardins is limited to that sold by the independent restaurateur partnered with the Jardins; event organizers wishing to serve food must reach an agreement with the partner restaurateur, if possible.


Eligible organizations

Only non-profit organizations for at least the last six months may apply to hold activities or events in the public spaces managed by the Partnership. They must be in good standing with the Ville de Montréal in order to be allowed to submit an application.

Cultural events

The public spaces of the Quartier des Spectacles are first and foremost intended for cultural activities. To be considered a cultural activity, an event or activity must include all three of the following elements:

  • cultural programming, i.e. the presentation of high-quality art (living arts, visual arts, digital art, culinary, music, photography, cinema, participatory or interactive installations) with a distinctly original character. The activity must be open to the public free of charge. These activities and events may also include cultural outreach (creative workshops, presentations, etc.). This cultural programming must form the core of the event, constitute the majority of the event’s programming and entice the public to travel to attend. It must be predominant vs. the other forms of occupancy ( e.g. displays or commercial activities);
  • a scenography, i.e. a temporary layout or site design that invites the public to enter a unique domain;
  • free admission, i.e. the main attraction or principal activities are free and open to all.

Eligible events or activities

The following types or activities and events can be hosted in the spaces managed by the Partnership. These activities or events must be free and accessible to the general public, and be relevant to the city as a whole. Events or activities that are not essentially of a cultural nature must nevertheless include a substantial cultural component.

  • Professional artistic or cultural activities or events
    Professional artistic or cultural activities or events designed to showcase the arts, culture or heritage in various forms (e.g. performances, installations, exhibitions, film screenings, etc.)

  • Semi-professional or amateur artistic or cultural activities or events
    Semi-professional or amateur artistic or cultural activities or events with an education or recreation focus, designed to showcase the arts, culture or heritage in various forms

  • Civic, social or community oriented activities or events
    Activities or events that invite the public to commemorate or celebrate an important event, or that support a cause of a social, community or civic nature. These activities or events may also coincide with important moments in Montreal’s life.

  • Film or photo shoots
    Professional shoots for television, film or other media and still-photo shoots. These activities are typically not open to the general public. Please note that permit applications for shoots must be submitted to the Ville de Montréal’s Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision, which will work in conjunction with the Partnership.

Ineligible events or activities

The following types of activities and events are not permitted in the public spaces of the Quartier des Spectacles:

  • Activities or events that are not open to the general public (e.g. corporate or private events);
  • Promotional or commercial activities aimed at promoting or selling products or services, or that include various forms of solicitation (e.g. commercial expositions or trade shows, product introductions or launches, press conferences, sponsorship activities, distribution of product samples, etc.)
  • Activities or events with inappropriate or illegal elements, including discrimination, violence or degradation
  • Activities or events that have the potential to reduce public safety or that could cause damage to the public space or its street furniture.


Above all, the public spaces of the Quartier des Spectacles are intended for events or activities that will increase the number of visits to the Quartier by both Montrealers and tourists, and that demonstrate a potential for having a citywide, national or international profile. Activities and events that also make use of indoor venues in the Quartier des Spectacles are preferred.

If multiple organizations submit applications covering the same dates, and all terms and conditions for use of the space are satisfied in equal measure, applications from organizations based in Montreal, and particularly those whose headquarters are within the Quartier des Spectacles, will be given priority.

Note that to ensure the peaceful coexistence of cultural activities in the Quartier’s public spaces and the everyday lives of the Quartier’s residents and regular users, the Partnership has scheduled quiet periods during which the public spaces are not available for activities and events.

Hosting priorities

The following are hosted in order of priority:

  1. Professional cultural or artistic activities or events that receive financial support from the Ville de Montréal and that have a history of occupying the public spaces managed by the Partnership

  2. Annual and recurring cultural activities presented by the Partnership

  3. Professional artistic or cultural activities or events produced, co-produced, co-presented or presented by the Partnership

  4. Semi-professional or amateur artistic or cultural events, as well as activities or events of a civic, social or community nature.

General provisions

An organization whose activity or event is hosted in the public spaces managed by the Partnership must abide by the rules for using the spaces, the technical riders for the different spaces, and the rules for video projections accompanying the present policy.

Security: The Partnership, in concert with the Ville de Montréal, has established minimum security and safety standards to be followed by event organizers or promoters. Failure to meet these standards could result in cancellation of the event.

Street closings*: Aside from Sainte-Catherine St., which is closed to vehicles from early May to mid- September, streets can only be closed in the Quartier des Spectacles with the permission of the Ville de Montréal and other relevant authorities. Event organizers and promoters are required to pay fees related to street closings.

Set-up and tear-down: To allow citizens to enjoy their public spaces, all promoters must keep their set-up and tear-down time for facilities and equipment to a minimum, and work within established principles. To that end, the Partnership will work with the promoter on the preparation of their set-up and tear-down plan.

Use of the Quartier’s street furniture: The Partnership has acquired street furniture that constitutes a signature element of the Quartier des Spectacles. For this reason, promoters are encouraged to prioritize the use of furniture supplied by the Partnership.

Hosting conditions

Organizations must abide by the following conditions:

  • Secure the necessary permits and orders from the Ville de Montréal
  • Occupy a space of appropriate size for the activity or event
  • Refrain from fencing in the public spaces, except for specific zones set aside in compliance with regulations concerning the sale of alcohol in public places
  • Covered facilities (awnings, tents, modified shipping containers) are only permitted on a limited portion of the public space
  • Bear in mind that the Quartier des Spectacles is also a neighbourhood, and therefore take steps to limit nuisances to residents and workers
  • Make allowances for the space’s particular features (artworks, fountains, urban environment, etc.)
  • Pay fees related to the use of the public spaces and specialized material and equipment managed by the Partnership, when applicable (electricity, material rental, lawn repair, etc.)
  • Keep the public space clean and in good condition
  • Ensure peaceful coexistence with the various functions of the Quartier des Spectacles (residential, commercial, etc.), and particularly with other events or activities being held simultaneously in other public places
  • Note that only video projections of an artistic nature can be shown at the video projection sites in the Quartier des Spectacles.



An organization wishing to apply for occupancy of one of the spaces managed by the Partnership for an activity or event of an artistic or cultural nature must complete the application form and provide the documents mentioned on the form:

  • A description of the activity or event, including the program and any expected obstructions
  • A detailed site plan indicating any obstructions (see the technical ressources)
  • A production schedule
  • A short description of the communication and promotion activities to be conducted for the activity or event held in the Quartier des Spectacles
  • An overview of expected attendance, target audience and anticipated reach (regional, national or international)
  • The organization’s governing documents (letters patent, resolution by the board of directors)

Response time and date of application submission

Applications for occupancy are processed within 12 weeks following receipt of all required documents. Permit applications to the Ville de Montreal must be submitted not less than 90 days before the start of the activity.

Requirements following a favourable response

Organizations that have received a favorable response to their application to hold an activity or event in a space managed by the Partnership must:

  • Demonstrate the technical and financial viability of the activity or event
  • If the event is sponsored, ensure that the sponsorships are integrated into the event program to the greatest possible extent
  • If promotional banners are to be installed, apply to the Ville de Montréal for an order. Banner content must not be dominated by sponsors; mentions of sponsors must be associated directly with the event and occupy no more than one third of the banner
  • Design the event site to keep it accessible for persons with reduced mobility
  • Organize the event with sustainability in mind. A guide is available on the Ville de Montréal web portal to help event organizers reduce waste, including a checklist to help minimize an event’s environmental footprint
  • As soon as possible, inform the Partnership if it becomes necessary to cancel the activity or event. Promptly advise the Partnership of any changes to the nature of the activity or event, to the occupancy plan or the use of the spaces, material or specialized equipment, and have said changes approved by the Partnership
  • At their own expense, obtain and keep valid the $5 million civil liability insurance rider protecting the activity or event in case of personal injury or property damage. In this rider, the Partnership and the Ville de Montréal must be named as co-insured. The Ville de Montréal’s liability insurance rider must be submitted to the Partnership at least ten (10) days before the start of the activity or event. This insurance policy must cover the organizer, the Partnership and the Ville de Montréal for the entire duration of the organizer’s access to the site – before, during and after the activity or event
  • Ensure that the activity or event is consistently associated with the Quartier des Spectacles in the communication and promotion activities related to the event (e.g. press releases, speeches, event programs or brochures, site maps, etc.)
  • At their own expense, after the completion of the activity or event, restore the site to the same state it was in before the activity or event, failing which the organizer will be responsible for all costs of cleaning and/or repair work performed by the Borough of Ville-Marie
  • Participate in a post-mortem for the event or activity led by the Partnership in collaboration with any relevant partners, and take note of improvements to be made if the activity or event returns in the future.

Technical ressources (in french)

Room rentals in the Esplanade Tranquille pavilion

The Esplanade Tranquille rental spaces offer modern, well-lit designs and cutting-edge equipment for conferences, round tables and every type of corporate and private event.

For more information on the spaces and the rental procedure, click here.