City’s ‘Cultural Corridor’ takes shape
From The Suburban
By P.A. Sévigny
It’s been only a year since architect Juliette Patterson opened her Griffintown Horse Palace Foundation and now a lot of people, including a full house of local politicos, are beginning to think it’s more than just a good idea. It’s been a long, hard year since last year’s fundraising party when Patterson first announced the creation of the Foundation, but this year’s party at the Darling Foundry proves her project is beginning to find some heavy support in the city’s business community as well as among its leading politicians. Federal MP Thierry St. Cyr, Liberal MNA Marguerite Blais and local Sud Ouest Mayor Benoit Dorais were all having a good time as waiters bearing plates piled high with some of the Cluny restaurant’s best hors d’oeuvres made their way through the crowd. As mentioned during a previous interview, Griffintown resident Judith Bauer (and others) all believe the district’s new cultural corridor could spark a post-modern cultural renaissance by which Montreal could easily place itself on the cutting-edge of 21st century urban design.
Stretching along an east-west axis through the south-west sector of the city from Old Montreal to the newly developed areas around the Lachine Canal near the St. Ambroise Center, the corridor could redefine large parts of the city including the Griffintown wastelands along with residential areas in both St. Henri and Little Burgundy. More than anything else, Bauer and her colleagues are beginning to notice how new business opportunities are beginning to brand the sector’s potential as a future urban ‘hot-spot’ as opposed to its usual status as an inner city wasteland.
“Conceptually,” writes Bauer, “the cultural corridor defines what the future of this area could be in the best of all possible worlds.”
Patterson, Bauer and the rest of the Griffintown community all believe the future development of this area should be open to cultural, heritage and assorted community projects which help provide the glue which defines neighborhoods and future communities. However, even as Bauer and others continue to do what they can to improve their immediate urban environment, they are still concerned about the Tremblay administration’s intention to maintain their Mondo Condo approach to the district’s immediate urban development. But apart from a new high rise condominium development project scheduled for the district on the southern side of Wellington Street, Bauer and her colleagues hope local politicians will provide the kind of muscle local residents need to face down the city’s omnivorous real estate developers. Inspired by a combination of powerful local politicians offset by a slow if not momentarily stalled real estate market, Bauer and her colleagues also hope it’s just a question of time before Griffintown and the rest of the Sud Ouest begin to manage and enjoy its new status as an inner city landmark.