Montreal's Old Port will be get a $78-million facelift over the next year, aimed at attracting more cruise ships, municipal and provincial authorities announced Monday.

The aging Alexandra Pier and the Iberville passenger terminal will be upgraded to provide a more pleasant experience to cruise ship passengers as they disembark near Old Montreal, creating a seamless connection between the city and the waterfront.

The provincial government will pitch in $20 million towards the project, and the City of Montreal will spend $15 million.

The remaining $43 million will come from the Montreal Port Authority (MPA).

alexandra pier revamp

The rebuilt Alexandra Pier will also be more welcoming to pedestrians in the Old Port, with a green space and better access to the waterfront. (Montreal Port Authority)

The number of cruise passengers and crew members stopping in Montreal has doubled since 2011 to 91,000 last year, according to figures from the port authority.

It expects the number of passengers alone to climb to 120,000 by 2025.

The MPA, along with the city's tourism bureau, has been actively courting more cruise ship operators to add destinations along the St. Lawrence River to their itineraries. Operators have responded positively, said the MPA's president and CEO, Sylvie Vachon.

cruise passenger chart montreal

During the renovations, cruise ships will dock at Port of Montreal facilities east of the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Shuttle buses will transport passengers to the tourist spots.

Watch a video of the planned installations:

These are the upgrades detailed in the plan:

  • The passenger terminal will be rebuilt so cruise passengers disembark on the ground floor rather than a floor higher up, as requested by cruise operators.

  • The main station will be closer to Old Montreal, and the main access area will be built at the entrance to the pier. The original footprint of the building will be respected.

  • The secondary station will be rebuilt to allow two cruise ships to be moored at the same time.

  • The space between the main station and the secondary station will be cleared to improve the flow of buses and taxis.

  • The end of the pier will be opened up to allow pedestrians and smaller boats access to the river.

  • A green roof will overlook the new station to reduce the effect of urban heat islands and serve as a year-round lookout.

  • The creation of an information centre about the activities of the Port of Montreal.

  • An observation tower, made to look like a modern-day lighthouse, is scheduled for 2019.