Master Plan Master Plan Master Plan
Master Plan
Download Master Plan
Download this section
Central Business District

General goals

  • Develop vacant lots
  • Increase residential development
  • Improve the design quality of public spaces and main thoroughfares

Planning issues

The heart of Montréal’s economy, the Central Business District’s bustle and buildings make it an exceptional place. The Central Business District reflects Montréal’s vitality and contributes to its renown by providing a generally attractive, friendly and safe environment.

Numerous vacant lots dot the Central Business District, accounting for approximately 20 of its 177 hectares. The heavy concentration of vacant lots in the southwest section is mainly due to the Autoroute Ville-Marie's access ramps and the rail infrastructure that both contribute to the area’s destructured character. Development of this vacant land would consolidate the built environment, make the streets livelier and improve the urban environment.

Residential activities currently play a marginal role in the Central Business District. Their development is desirable in order to revitalize sections that are less suitable for retail or office space, including Paper Hill north of the Quartier international and the Chaboillez area. An influx of new residents would also help to consolidate the retail activity along Rue Sainte-Catherine, which varies considerably among its different segments.

Some large public spaces in the Central Business District are in need of a facelift, notably Square Dorchester and Square Phillips. Several important thoroughfares and their surroundings (Rue McGill / Côte-Beaver-Hall, Rue Peel,  Rue University, Boulevard René-Lévesque and Boulevard De Maisonneuve) should be carefully redesigned so that they project an image that is in keeping with the role of the Central Business District.

The comfort and security of pedestrians and cyclists is of particular concern in the Central Business District. In this sense, any redesign of the public realm should increase the amount of space for pedestrians and encourage the use of bicycles.