Montreal's transition to the red zone is a serious blow to culture

Press release | For immediate release

Montreal, September 30, 2020 - Monday's announcement of a red alert and its new measures are a blow to the cultural industry. The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership recognizes the need to curb the spread of the virus in order to hope for a return to the "new" normality. The Partnership is nevertheless disappointed by the impact these new measures will have on culture, especially given the exemplary practices put in place by museums, presenters, venues, creators, artists and the many players in the field to make cultural activities safe.

Culture is an important part of the Montreal economy. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, cultural organizations have shown great resilience and creativity by offering adapted programming, adjusting their offer and implementing rigorous health measures. Faced with this second wave, the cultural sector needs and will continue to need support. Compensatory measures should be announced by the government by the end of the week. However, it’s urgent to look beyond the 28-day period to find concrete and lasting solutions”, said Monique Simard, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.

Yesterday's announcements once again lead to the closure of nearly eighty venues, including some thirty theatres and close to thirty museums, galleries and exhibition halls, as well as the cancellation of more than 150 shows and events in October alone. Everyone had developed creative fall programming adapted to the pandemic and the public had responded very positively. Several shows, whose halls were limited to a reduced capacity, quickly sold out. To adapt to the new alert level, many of these venues, shows and events will now be turning to virtual programming. “I call on all Quebecers to keep culture close to their hearts by participating in large numbers in these virtual gatherings”, added Monique Simard.

Starting tomorrow, and for the next 28 days, the Quartier will be wearing red as a gesture of solidarity with the performing arts and its artisans. This initiative follows on the heels of September 22nd, Light Up Live event by the Live Event Community, in which many cultural venues took part.

In the coming weeks, the Partnership will also continue to work actively on the creation of a winter proposal to keep the downtown area alive, which will be ready for deployment when the restrictions are lifted.

In the hope of quickly restoring the Quartier’s vibrant energy, the Partnership encourages all Montrealers to respect prevention and protection measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.


The Quartier des Spectacles is Montreal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues. Year round, the district is home to countless festivals and events, and hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design, immersive environments or interactive digital spaces. The Quartier des Spectacles is a showcase for new multimedia technology, making Montreal a global leader in the urban exhibition of digital content. 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.

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Gabrielle Pauzé | | 514 730-9892