The Quartier at your fingertips

November 16, 2017

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The Quartier des Spectacles now has its own mobile app, to help Montrealers see their city in a new light. Two thematic walks and three interactive guided tours bring you anecdotes and exclusive stories about the people and cultural venues that created and continue to shape one of the city’s most exciting neighbourhoods.

With the app installed and your phone in hand, you’re all set. Here’s what you can discover...


The tour called More about the Quartier des Spectacles walks you through the neighbourhood’s iconic places in 75 minutes. Did you know that before 1984, the MTelus (formerly the Métropolis) had been, successively, a porn theatre, a disco and a skating rink? Our that there are four beehives on the roof of UQAM’s Centre de design? That when you see the Quartier’s trees, your stress level and blood pressure decrease? Before taking this tour, we didn’t know any of that either! And if you’re wondering what’s inside the bathrooms at the Foufounes électriques, one of the legendary showbar’s former janitors will confirm or refute your suspicions. There are even some treats for the nostalgic, like the story of the closing night of the legendary concert venue, the Spectrum.

Next, take a trip back in time with a tour of the Red Light District. Scandal! Vice, Crime and Morality in Montreal is based on an exhibition at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. The walk peels back the layers of the Quartier’s streetscapes to tell us about goings-on in the 1940s through 60s. We learn that Canada’s very first movie screening happened in Montreal, that the French expression “se mettre sur son 31” (similar to “dressing to the nines”) might have started when someone misheard the word for a sumptuous fabric called trentain, and that the army once threatened to forbid its soldiers from visiting Montreal – because they kept returning from leave with venereal disease. And those are just a few of the surprising tidbits you’ll find on the tour.


Your phone could turn you into a virtual gardener, as you plant and care for a virtual plant. Make your way to Saint-Laurent metro to start your flower garden. Kids and adults, untill November 26, will love this wonderful experience!


We often walk past them without really seeing them, and that’s why the Habitations Jeanne-Mance are the subject of a module called A Community in the Heart of the Quartier. The project focuses on the complex’s residents – Montrealers of all ages, occupations and origins, who are leading fascinating lives.

Lastly, head over to Ruelle Boisbriand, the alleyway behind Sainte-Catherine Street near the MTelus. This is a favourite spot for the city’s street artists. Here, your audio guide is Sino, who will give you an introduction to an art form that’s gaining more and more popularity and respect in Montreal.

The application also gives you some practical tools like a guide to various points of interest and a geolocation map of cultural activities. From now on, you’ll always know precisely where you are in the Quartier!


  • Take special thematic and event-related walking tours: discover the neighbourhood, the history of the Red Light district, KM3, street art and more

  • Find any point of interest in the Quartier, including cultural venues and public spaces

  • Listen to original interviews with dozens of local people

  • Use the real-time guide to pinpoint your current location

  • Use the calendar of current shows and events

  • See and hear content in your choice of English or French


The Quartier des Spectacles app was designed by Ingrid Ingrid in collaboration with user experience design consultant Mivil Deschênes. Content was produced by Charles Trahan with the assistance of the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. Antoine Bédard created the historical capsules for Scandal! Vice, Crime and Morality in Montreal.