Montreal

Parc Jean-Drapeau gets facelift just in time for summer

Complete with a revamped amphitheatre and riverside walkway, the revamped space — dubbed Espace 67 — was inaugurated Thursday.

Revamped space includes expanded amphitheatre and riverside walkway

The space is located in the southwest sector of Île Sainte-Hélène and is meant to "recreate the spirit of Expo 67," according to a news release from the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD).  (Charles Contant/CBC)

A section of Parc Jean-Drapeau has gotten a facelift just in time for summer festival season. 

Complete with a revamped amphitheatre and riverside walkway, the revamped space — dubbed Espace 67 — was inaugurated Thursday.

The space is located in the southwest sector of Île Sainte-Hélène and is meant to "recreate the spirit of Expo 67," according to a news release from the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD). 

"Espace 67 will enable Montreal citizens to enjoy the park's various activities, as a family, and it will also help in bringing exposure to Montreal's cultural scene," said the news release. 

Bankrolling the project is the City of Montreal, providing $38.4 million, and the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy, contributing $35 million.

It was announced in 2015 and has been under construction for two years. 

The development includes: 

  • A central concourse linking the Biosphere to the Alexander Calder sculpture.
  • A riverside walkway with a belvedere that overlooks the St. Lawrence River.
  • A commercial area for fairs and markets with a restaurant.

When the development was proposed, then-city opposition leader Luc Ferrandez said he didn't favour the amphitheatre project, which he said mostly serves to lower the costs to event organizers like Evenko.

Evenko organizes large festivals at the park including Osheaga and Heavy MTL. 

"At first glance, I do not see the point of the project ... I think we should question the expansion of these events and leave the costs of holding these festivals to the organizers," Ferrandez said.

Ferrandez recently resigned as mayor of the Plateau Mont-Royal. 

Complete with a revamped amphitheatre and riverside walkway, the revamped space — dubbed Espace 67 — was inaugurated Thursday. (Charles Contant/CBC)

New amphitheatre will help tone down the noise

The project also includes a new amphitheatre. It can now fit 65,000 people, compared to the previous 45,000.

According to the news release, the amphitheatre can now hold events year-round, and "has measures to mitigate the sound impact."

Officials agreed to cap noise levels at Parc Jean-Drapeau earlier this month.

With the exception of some authorized events without limitation, the maximum allowable noise level will now be 75 A-weighted decibels (dBAs).

The amphitheatre will use delay towers that push the sound toward the spectators and minimize the amount of sound that goes outside the amphitheatre. 

"We're still working on the technology of the delay tower to perfect it," said SPJD spokesperson Gabrielle Meloche. 

With files from CBC reporter Arian Zarrinkoub

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