Montreal's Métropolis concert hall to be renamed M Telus

The new look and sound, along with the new name, will be unveiled in May 2017 to coincide with celebrations for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, the new partners announced Thursday.

$5M corporate rebranding deal called 'travesty,' 'mega-dumb' on social media

The venue was named Métropolis in the 1980s, when it was a discotheque. (Métropolis)

Montreal's Métropolis concert hall on Ste-Catherine Street will change its name to M Telus next May as part of a new partnership between Telus Mobility and the venue's owner, Équipe Spectra.

The change is timed to coincide with Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations next year, the new partners announced Thursday.

The $5-million, 10-year deal promises to respect the building's historic value and "revitalize" the popular music venue that has hosted acts including David Bowie, Beck, Kraftwerk, Radiohead and Coldplay over the years.

The deal will bring in more modern lighting and sound systems and calls for the "bright, user-friendly redevelopment" of the building's facade and renovations to the lobby and boxes.

"Together, we will ensure the cachet and integrity of the venue [are] preserved so that spectators, artists and performers alike can rediscover the iconic space they have always loved," said François Gratton, president of Telus Quebec.

Rebranding criticized

News of the name change met mostly with criticism on social media.

Music fan Michael Petty called the name change a "travesty" in response to a CBC request for opinions on Facebook.

"I went to my first concert at Métropolis," he explained. "Despite the big acts that have played there, it has always felt like a rather intimate venue to me. I hope the corporate rebranding doesn't change what has made it so special."

Pop 'jealous' — to an extent

Pop Montreal impresario Dan Seligman told CBC he was "jealous" of Spectra's corporate sponsorship deal, the likes of which he said aren't easy to obtain.

"We're always trying to get sponsors for Pop. It's a tough market out there," he said.

Title sponsorship, however, is not something Pop Montreal would consider anytime soon, Seligman said.

"Pop as an organization, I guess, is not at the point where we feel like title sponsorship is a good thing," he said.

"I think sponsors should support art and culture, not supplant their presence."

132-year history

Over its 132-year history, the building housing Métropolis has served as a skating rink, cinema, porn theatre and, in the 1980s, a discotheque, which gave it the name Métropolis.

Its ornate decor is attributed to Emmanuel Briffa and dates from the 1930s, when the venue was repurposed for the theatre.

Équipe Spectra bought Métropolis in 1997 and turned it into a concert hall.

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