Press release | For immediate release

Montreal, May 23, 2023 – Yesterday marked the opening of the ninth annual Convening of the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), taking place in Montreal until May 26. The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and Quartier des spectacles international (QDSinternational) are co-hosting the Convening, which will feature numerous talks and networking activities. The event will be attended by 80 speakers from 16 countries who will present some 40 talks and workshops on the theme of The Value(s) of Cultural Districts. An association for urban centres with a cultural or artistic focus, the GCDN invites managers to collaborate and share their knowledge related to the design, financing, construction and management of cultural districts.

“For the last 20 years, the heart of downtown Montreal has been defined by the Quartier des Spectacles. Twelve months a year, festivals, special events, art installations and exhibitions take turns animating the heart of our cultural metropolis. This programming energizes the area and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, benefitting merchants. Cultural districts are powerful drivers of economic development, essential gathering places, and role models in making culture accessible. We warmly welcome the ninth annual Convening of the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), and hope the participants enjoy our wonderful Quartier des Spectacles to the fullest,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

“The GCDN began in Montreal in 2015, and we are honoured to welcome delegates from all over the world, in our 20th anniversary year, once again to think about the value of cultural districts, the challenges facing them, and the impact they have on our cities. We wanted this conference to be a quintessential Montreal event, focused on bringing people together and highlighting the best things being done with public space, thanks in part to our local creators. We hope our visitors will be inspired by the dynamism of the Quartier des Spectacles,” said Monique Simard, chair of the boards of directors of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and Quartier des spectacles international.

A day dedicated to Montreal's cultural ecosystem

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Place des Arts, Théâtre Maisonneuve

This day is dedicated to bringing together the Montreal cultural ecosystem with Canadian and international stakeholders. There will be a conference on the quartier des arts du cirque with Mr. Daniel Lamarre (Cirque du Soleil) and Stéphane Lavoie (La TOHU), a discussion about structures and governance models of cultural districts, as well as a panel on cohabitation in the public space. The day ends at Jardins Gamelin to celebrate the opening of the 9th season. This day focused on bringing together Montreal’s cultural ecosystem with Canadian and international players. The day will conclude at Les Jardins Gamelin with a celebration of the opening of the gardens’ ninth season.

View the complete program.

An interactive map of the world’s cultural districts

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) have joined forces to map the world’s cultural districts. The interactive map catalogues nearly 500 cultural districts. It is the first time such a tool has been made; it is intended to serve as a directory showing the many different forms cultural districts take and facilitating contact with each other.


  • 40 talks and workshops in all
  • 80 speakers from 16 countries
  • More than 200 managers of cultural sites and districts, experts and international decision makers
  • A showcase of 20 interactive and participatory installations
  • Talks on the following issues:

How to increase the vitality of downtowns and contribute to progress in urban life; The contribution of cultural districts to sustainability; The role of creative industries in the future of cities: design, interactivity and immersive experiences; Governance and business models for cultural districts; Cohabitation in public spaces.

This international event is made possible thanks to the support of the Caisse Desjardins de la Culture, Jackworld, the the Société de développement commercial Montréal centre-ville, Tourisme Montreal, the Ville de Montréal and the Gouvernement du Québec, including SODEC, the Ministère des relations internationales et de la Francophonie, the Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie and the ministère de la Culture des des Communications.

The conference also benefits from the support of valuable cultural partners: Place des Arts, C2 Montréal, FTA, SAT, Xn Québec, La Piscine, Centre Phi, Culture Montréal, MT Lab, Printemps numérique et MTL 24/24.

Annual Convening of the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) May 22 to 26, 2023 Hilton Double Tree by Hilton and Place des Arts

View the program online.


The Quartier des Spectacles is 20 years old! 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:


Quartier des Spectacles International (QDSinternational) is a non-profit organization that produces and distributes participatory installations for public spaces in collaboration with creative partners, co-producers and exhibitors around the world. An affiliate of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, QDSinternational draws on extensive expertise built over many years, thanks to the numerous works commissioned to animate North America’s largest cultural district. These works have sparked the imagination of thousands of visitors. The organization’s expertise is reflected in cutting-edge processes for the design and production of robust, safe installations suitable for all ages and all seasons. QDSinternational relies on a network of first-rate collaborators and technical service providers active in the international presentation of public artworks and installations. These partners allow QDSinternational to produce large-scale projects and offer turnkey options adapted to the needs and realities of each site.

More information:


The worldwide membership of the Global Cultural Districts Network includes cultural institutions and districts responsible for the design, funding, construction and operation of urban districts with strong creative and artistic components. Members discuss emerging best practices, the role of cultural districts and complexes in urban policy, economic development, and related public policy fields such as travel, culture and tourism. These topics are also discussed during the GCDN’s annual Convening. The GCDN is an initiative of AEA Consulting.

More information:

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Mélanie Mingotaud
Communications Mingotwo  
514 582-5272   


Marie Lamoureux
514 923-6772