This new public space in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles is a versatile, all-ages destination open year-round. It is a welcoming spot with a diverse cultural program.
There is a refrigerated skating rink in winter, a comfortable terrasse in summer, and a multipurpose pavilion that include, common areas for taking a break, a café, Galaxie Brasserie restaurant, a game rental counter and a self-serve library. Esplanade Tranquille also has an all-seasons festive side, with intimate performances presented by the many festivals and events based in the Quartier.
First opened in the winter of 2022, the Esplanade Tranquille skating rink is the perfect place to make the most of winter. Skaters can enjoy outdoor seating and fireplaces to warm up, and the pavilion, which includes the Grand Salon, changing rooms with lockers, and a skate rental and sharpening service. The Grand Salon is the perfect place to settle in for a snack or a hot chocolate while checking out an exhibition about Henri Tranquille and his bookstore, Henri Tranquille et sa librairie Tranquille.
A SPACE DESIGNED TO COMPLEMENT THE QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES EXPERIENCE
Esplanade Tranquille is the final phase of the public spaces project for the western sector of the Quartier des Spectacles. The other spaces are Place des Festivals, Promenade des Artistes, the Parterre and Sainte-Catherine Street; among other things, the lighting megastructures echo the other spaces.
Located at a key downtown intersection – the corner of Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Sainte-Catherine St. – the Esplanade is designed to complement Place des Festivals. It was conceived as a human-scale public space. It is welcoming and comfortable, making it an excellent everyday gathering place for Montrealers and visitors. Esplanade Tranquille is a rest and relaxation zone, a place to get together with friends, and a place to have fun, enjoy a snack and be inspired by Montreal’s cultural heart.
A USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN
The different zones of Esplanade Tranquille include the following multifunctional spaces:
A space fronting on Sainte-Catherine Street, and connected to it, is the main access point to the Esplanade. It is laid out as a terrasse;
The pavilion is on the west side of the Esplanade, between Sainte-Catherine and De Montigny streets. It includes several attractions and services: snack bar, changing room, public washrooms, decks and, soon, a restaurant;
A lawn that is a suitable site for event stages and tents. When unoccupied, it is an open space for relaxation and casual activities;
A large multipurpose plaza measuring 1,890 m2 (20,000 sq. ft.) where the refrigerated skating rink is located in winter, and where tables, chairs, trees in planters, playful furniture and fountains can be found the rest of the year.
The playful furniture, which will be installed in 2022, is designed by Alto design and Dikini with Lateral + Induktion.
The interior design is by Zébulon Perron.
THE SKATING RINK
The refrigerated rink, which opened in February 2022, is free for all skaters. A Quebec winter classic, it helps people enjoy the pleasures of winter in the heart of downtown Montreal – even when the ambient temperature rises as high as 10°C. With a surface measuring 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq. ft.) its capacity is up to 400 skaters. The rink is carefully maintained: a Zamboni, decorated in Quartier des Spectacles colours, resurfaces the ice every 90 minutes.
A counter operated by Patin Patin, located in the Repaire inside the pavilion, provides skate, helmet and padlock rentals as well as a skate sharpening service.
The multipurpose pavilion borders the plaza, with a permanent mission of providing services for the public space. It includes numerous multifunctional spaces, making the facility suitable for general visitors, school groups and private events.
The central portion of the pavilion is an indoor “urban chalet” space. Spanning two floors, it is closely linked to the public space outside, particularly the skating rink. Its walls are all-glass on the plaza side. Its warm character makes it particularly welcoming and cozy.
Upstairs, the Grand Salon offers breathtaking views of the plaza, gardens and summer entertainment. It is a quiet, comfortable, cozy spot for skaters to relax after a long day outside, or for anyone who simply wants to sit by the fire while admiring the view of the rink. The Grand Salon’s café serves comforting snacks and hot beverages to enjoy by the fire or in the self-serve library. An exhibition, Henri Tranquille et sa librairie Tranquille, tells the story of the Librairie Tranquille bookstore and its owner through a series of displays featuring reproductions of archival materials, photos and unpublished writings. In winter and summer alike, the space hosts a variety of cultural activities. It is designed as a place for socializing and learning.
In winter, the Repaire on the ground floor serves as a place where skaters can change, use the lockers and rent skates. Patin Patin rents a variety of items (skates, helmets, learning aids for beginner skaters, padlocks) and provides a skate-sharpening service.
On the same floor, the street-facing restaurant will offer a healthy, family-friendly menu, mindful of environmental issues. The restaurant will use environment-friendly waste management practices, and source its ingredients from rooftop greenhouses. The name of the restaurateur will be announced before summer.
The refectory, located upstairs on the south side, directly above the restaurant, is a space that can be rented for cultural, private and corporate events. It includes a kitchenette and can be configured to open onto an adjacent deck, the Balcon Ste-Catherine.
Also upstairs is L’arrière-scène, another space available for rent. It is suitable for production teams for festivals and events being held in the Quartier des Spectacles. It can be used as an observation deck or as a workspace, host school groups and more. It includes showers and changing rooms and also opens onto a deck.
The rooftop vegetable garden
The Esplanade Tranquille rooftop vegetable garden is a collaborative initiative of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, the AU/LAB urban agriculture laboratory and the Ville de Montréal. It is cultivated by three start-ups: Biome, Emporium Safran Québec and Fleurs en Ville, which were recruited through the MontréalCulteurs program.
MR. TRANQUILLE AND HIS BOOKSTORE
Esplanade Tranquille is named after Henri Tranquille and his famous bookstore, Librairie Tranquille, which was located on the site, at 67 Sainte-Catherine St. East, from 1948 to 1974.
A literary maven and passionate defender of freedom of expression, Henri Tranquille was an exceptional bookseller. Known to many as “Monsieur Livre” (“Mr. Book”), he was a bold visionary who worked tirelessly to improve access to books. He made his store a haven of free expression and the dissemination of a wide range of ideas, with no censorship. He was also a great admirer of the arts, supporting emerging artists including the Automatistes movement, and hosted numerous artistic events and exhibitions.
Librairie Tranquille was a place where independent authors, artists and creators would gather; it was a hub for Quebec’s literary and artistic avant-garde. It was also the place where, on August 9, 1948, the historic Refus global manifesto was launched.
Henri Tranquille made a significant contribution to the emancipation of Quebec society at the dawn of the Quiet Revolution.
The exhibition Henri Tranquille et sa librairie Tranquille, presented in the Grand Salon, invites visitors to learn more about Librairie Tranquille and its owner through a series of displays featuring reproductions of archival materials, photographs and unpublished writings.
To learn more about the Esplanade Tranquille and the different activities it offers, click here.
The Quartier des Spectacles is Montréal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues as well as numerous festivals and events. The Quartier also hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design and immersive environments. The Quartier des Spectacles has become an international showcase for digital public art.
The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization with more than 85 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, providing distinctive illumination and promoting the Quartier as a must-visit cultural destination. The Partnership benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal.