Neighbourhood - Buildings

Place des Arts



History

In the mid-1950s, the plan to build Place des Arts - an initiative of then-Mayor Jean Drapeau - arose from the desire to revitalize the downtown core. Major complexes of this type, including New York's Lincoln Centre, were in vogue at the time, and the goal was to create a large-scale facility devoted to the performing arts and associated with Montreal's francophone community. Inaugurated in 1963, the Grande Salle (later renamed Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) was an immediate success. The greatest names in music, dance, theatre, and variety have performed there.

With the advent of Expo 67, a second building housing Théâtre Maisonneuve and Théatre Port-Royal (renamed Théâtre Jean-Duceppe) was inaugurated. Beginning in 1978, the Théâtre du Café de la Place (renamed Studio-Théâtre) served as a dinner theatre and then as a venue for French-language singers. A fifth hall, aptly named the Cinquième Salle, opened in 1992.

Place des Arts also hosts many cultural events including the Francofolies and Montreal's International Jazz Festival on its esplanade. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra de Montréal, and the Grands Ballets Canadiens all use the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier for their regular season.

Linked by underground passages on a north-south axis to the Palais des Congrès (Montreal's convention centre), Place des Arts and the Musée d'art contemporain (the museum of contemporary art) form the largest multi-purpose cultural facility in Canada.

Image : HM_ARC_001853

Place des Arts

14 cm x 9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_001855

Place des Arts

14.8 cm x 10.5 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_001996

Place des Arts' inauguration with Zarin Mehta, Jean Drapeau and Wilfrid Pelletier

20.1 cm x 19 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002003

Place des Arts area before construction

24.5 cm x 20.5 cm

Image : HM_ARC_002023

Church before the construction of Place des Arts
1960
23.8 cm x 19.2 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002029

Place des Arts esplanade, without the Musée d'art comtemporain de Montréal

25.5 cm x 20.2 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002031

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in construction, Place des Arts

25.6 cm x 20.2 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002037

Sainte-Catherine Street West before the construction of Place des Arts

25.5 cm x 20.2 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002038

Residential street before the building of Place des Arts

24 cm x 18.8 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002039

Buildings on the corner of Ontario and Jeanne-Mance streets before their destruction for Place des Arts

24 cm x 19.2 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002040

Residential buildings in 1960 before their destruction for Place des Arts

24.1 cm x 18.9 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002041

Place des Arts esplanade

3.4 cm x 2.3 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002043

Place des Arts' esplanade and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

3.4 cm x 2.3 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002044

Place des Arts' esplanade with UQAM building in background

3.4 cm x 2.3 cm
© Fonds d’archives de la Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002045

Event on Place des Arts' esplanade

3.4 cm x 2.3 cm

Image : HM_ARC_003074

Complexe Desjardins in construction, view of Place des Arts
Studio O. Allard

25.4 cm x 20.5 cm
© Place Desjardins, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_003101

View of downtown, Place des Arts, and building site for Complexe Desjardins
1973
25.2 cm x 20.6 cm
© Place Desjardins, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002701

Metro entrance to Place-des-Arts metro, on the corner of de Maisonneuve and Jeanne-Mance (before the construction of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal)

3.4 cm x 2.3 cm
© Fonds de Commission de transport de Montréal, Archives de la STM (S10/10.1.14,3), © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_003350

Old entrance to Place-des-Arts metro station

© Fonds de Commission de transport de Montréal, Archives de la STM (4-966-056), © Héritage Montréal