Montreal

Soundproofing the future of Le Divan Orange

Long-standing tensions between Le Divan Orange, a popular Plateau music venue, and neighbours concerned about noise could soon be resolved — and the solution could change the dynamic in the area.

Plateau music venue awarded $50,000 in grants, half of which will go to soundproofing

Montreal musicians, including big-time acts like Arcade Fire and Coeur de Pirate, got their start at Le Divan Orange. (Google Street View)

Long-standing tensions between a popular Plateau music venue and neighbours concerned about noise could soon be resolved — and the solution could change the dynamic in the area.

Le Divan Orange was just awarded $50,000 in grants from the city and the borough, half of which is to be used exclusively for soundproofing and the other half for the creation of a non-profit to support the Montreal music scene.

The noise complaint saga between Le Divan Orange and the Plateau-Mont Royal borough has been going on for some time.

In the fall of 2014, one tenant called 911 more than 85 times. The noise complaints resulted in fines to the tune of $15,000.  

Le Divan Orange is contesting those fines. But the story didn't end there. It sparked a debate in the papers, on the radio, in social media, and right up to the office doors of the Plateau borough councillor responsible for culture, Christine Gosselin.  

The borough held noise-nightlife-culture forums and got a clear consensus that venues like Divan Orange need support.

 'It will contribute to the cultural economy of Montreal which is very important for Montreal. It's not just about fun, it's not just about going out,'- Christine Gosselin, Plateau borough councillor responsible for culture

The venue has long been supportive of emerging artist and many Montreal musicians, including big-time acts like Arcade Fire and Coeur de Pirate, got a start on the tiny stage in the narrow wooden bar on St-Laurent Boulevard.

The venue applied for grants to create a non-profit organization, Microfaune, which will act as a collective of pre-existing organizations working under the same roof with the goal of keeping Montreal's music scene alive by focusing on developing younger artists.

The non-profit will be a separate entity that will be housed on the second floor of the same building as Le Divan Orange and will work in partnership with the venue.

Plateau-Mont-Royal couldn't financially support the non-profit organization, but since the City of Montreal covered that portion of the grant, the borough saw an opportunity to keep a cultural institution in the community and satisfy residents who were upset about noise.  

"It will contribute to the cultural economy of Montreal which is very important for Montreal," said Gosselin.

"It's not just about fun, it's not just about going out. This really contributes to Montreal's [attractiveness], to its international reputation. And there really is a good return on the dollar for money invested in cultural activities. "

Gosselin also pointed to a partnership with the venue that would include developing a cultural outreach program to serve the greater Montreal community.

About the Author

Nantali Indongo is CBC's Arts & Culture contributor and host of The Bridge. Follow her on Twitter @taliindongo.

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