Esplanade Tranquille welcomes spring: music, games and literature for all in the Quartier des Spectacles

Press release | For immediate release

Montreal, May 4, 2022 – The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership is pleased to announce the spring program for Esplanade Tranquille with a wide variety of free cultural activities and amenities to make the most of warmer days outdoors starting today. This spring, visitors will gradually discover the spirit of Esplanade Tranquille: a place to relax, have fun and get together, as well as a place to reflect on, share and celebrate words and literature. Accordingly, the program includes diverse music from hip-hop to lullabies, and stories to tell and listen to in countless ways. From May 12 to 15, the outdoor portion of the Esplanade Tranquille site will be all about culture, with L’esplanade Tranquille en fête - place au printemps ! presenting tons of activities and performances. Lastly, from May 25 to 29, the unique performance Holoscenes by Lars Jan, presented by the FTA - Festival TransAmériques, will kick off summer festival season in Esplanade Tranquille.


To mark the return of warmer weather, L’esplanade Tranquille en fête - place au printemps ! is an event scheduled for the plaza from May 12 to 15. Families and friends will find this the perfect place to unwind and take inspiration from a diverse artistic program. From Thursday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the participatory installation Lulling Time will invite the public to listen to, and be transported by, hundreds of lullabies from around the world, more than 70 languages. At the end of the day, roving performers will liven up the Esplanade with the hip-hop classics of the Urban Science Brass Band; the amazing routines of the Kalabanté multidisciplinary circus company; the 1920s swing, blues and calypso of Fanfare de l’Île; and the traditional Québécois sounds of Tradorchestre. The weekend will wrap up with a concert by Les Voix Ferrées: the choir will sing selections from its eclectic and inspirational repertoire. Each day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., a communal blackboard will be made available to visitors so they can share their wishes for the Esplanade.


Throughout the month of May, people will tell stories on Esplanade Tranquille. The MEM - Centre des mémoires montréalaises’s citizen bikes will greet the public on three separate occasions to record their observations and anecdotes through different activities and themes related to the history of Montreal and the Quartier. Public readers will roam the plaza to give short, spontaneous readings and introduce visitors to literary works by local writers. This initiative will be accompanied by a literary grand tintamarre on May 7 and 14 at La petite librairie, located at the corner of Clark and Sainte-Catherine streets. Members of the public are invited to participate in the readings by bringing a book or choosing one on-site. Public participation is also welcome for recording sessions on May 5 and 6, when the Westfalia studio of the Berceurs du temps, will open its doors to everyone who wants to share childhood memories related to games and participate in a reflection on the role of debate in public space. It’s going to be fun!

On May 19, in collaboration with the BAnQ and Portraits de Montréal, a Living Library will be held on the plaza on the theme of northernness. This will be an opportunity to spend some quality time with fascinating “human books” who will share their unique connection to the theme, which goes far beyond winter and cold. The public will have the chance to meet 16 people, including explorer and underwater and Arctic documentary filmmaker Nathalie Lasselin; and Dr. Danielle Perreault, who has completed numerous humanitarian mission in the Far North.

From May 25 to 29, Holoscenes will arrive on Esplanade Tranquille as part of the FTA - Festival TransAmériques. This singular aquatic performance is the brainchild of American artist Lars Jan. It is a mixture of dance and physical theatre that explores the issue of human adaptation in the struggle against climate change. Presented by Hydro-Québec with the support of The Cole Foundation and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.


With its large terrasse and ample greenspace, the new public space – measuring 3,850 m2 / 41,000 sq. ft. – has a distinct backyard vibe, making it a peaceful living space for all Montrealers. Outside, visitors will be able to explore the exhibition Henri Tranquille et sa Librairie Tranquille to learn more about the bookstore and its owner, after whom the plaza is named. The exhibition features reproductions of archival materials, photos and unpublished writings. Nearby, La petite librairie is a self-service mini library where everyone who appreciates literature is welcome to leave a book or find a great new one to read. Two giant chessboards and one giant Scrabble game will be available to visitors every week from Wednesday to Sunday.

May 12 to 15
Esplanade Tranquille, Quartier des Spectacles
Free and open to all!

#esplanadetranquille #quartierdesspectacles

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership encourages Montrealers to follow public health guidelines to protect against COVID-19. You can consult the self-assessment tool to find out what to do based on your situation.


  • Public transit: numerous STM bus routes and more than ten metro stations on the orange and green lines serve the area. The closest metro station to the Esplanade Tranquille is the Saint-Laurent station.
  • Cycling: all-season bike paths crisscross downtown, and 20 BIXI stations are available.
  • The area includes access for people with reduced mobility. Please consult the venue websites for details.


Esplanade Tranquille is the newest public space in the Quartier des Spectacles. Located at the intersection of Clark and Sainte-Catherine streets, it is a human-scaled space: a backyard for all Montrealers. This versatile, all-ages, all-seasons plaza in the heart of downtown features a warm design and a diverse cultural program, as well as a refrigerated skating rink in winter and a large terrasse in summer.

The public space pays tribute to Librairie Tranquille, a bookstore once located on the site, and its owner, Henri Tranquille (1916-2005). It is an important place in contemporary Quebec history, since the store hosted the launch of the Refus global manifesto in 1948. The Esplanade Tranquille project is the result of a collaboration among stakeholders, with funding from the governments of Quebec and Canada and the Ville de Montréal. The work was done as part of the major projects component of the Fonds Chantiers Canada-Québec.

To learn more about this new public space in the Quartier des Spectacles and its constituent spaces, see the online press kit.


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.

More information:

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Communications Mingotwo
Mélanie Mingotaud
(514) 582-5272

Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
Chloé Goldstein
(514) 812-2193