The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, a non-profit organisation responsible for animating Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles with a year-round slate of cultural activities and animated public spaces, is proud to be doing its part to combat the impacts of COVID-19 on the local economy and the vitality of the downtown and its cherished cultural milieu.

As cities around the world continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, the Montreal initiative provides a beacon of light through its provision of engaging artistic and cultural attractions. The initiative taps into civic pride, provides a much-needed release in the form of safe and enjoyable activities, and lays the foundations of renewed urban planning.

In response to shutdowns of much of the downtown core due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership heeded the rallying cry of City of Montreal officials looking to bring people back to the streets in safe, healthy, and engaging ways. While COVID-19 lowered the curtain on the city’s annual calendar of internationally recognised summer festivals, the Partnership embarked with the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and Tourism Montreal, on a multifaceted downtown initiative to create animated pedestrian zones, new public spaces, special performances, artistic displays and installations, and to infuse a cultural offering into an expanded territory of approximately nine square kilometres of the downtown core.

After a successful run of summer events, a full winter programme was developed, which included the warm embrace of Luminothérapie, Quebec’s largest competition for temporary public art installations and a captivating annual winter experience anchored in downtown Montreal’s Place des Festivals. The initiative, which has celebrated winter life on a smaller scale in past years, has expanded in scope to feature an innovative circuit of 5 installations this year. Launched on December 3rd, the immersive journey of interactive sound and light has converted the darkness of an unforgettable winter into a magical winter wonderland that kept people connected to the city. Each night at 6pm, the Moment cœur battant sound and light show illuminated building façades, bringing the streets of the Quartier des Spectacles to life with a mix of dancing lights and original music that embodies the spirit and beating heart of the city’s cultural community.

The Luminothérapie | Cœur battant initiative included five creative and thought-provoking installations, beginning with Loop (Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve and Ottoblix), an adventure in sound and light at Place des Festivals that whisked visitors away on a cultural journey through Quebec literature. On the nearby Place des Arts Esplanade, Entre les rangs (KANVA Architecture) paid luminous tribute to the wintery wheat fields of Quebec’s ancestral farmlands, while Nouvelle Lune (Sebbe Joly and Bernard Duguay) presented a series of giant luminescent spheres as a framework of shadow theatre.

Iceberg (Atomic3 and Appareil Architecture) immersed visitors in a unique sound and light experience in its interpretation of majestic ice flows, while Spectrum (HUB Studio creation) was a fun and interactive work that converts speech soundwaves into light.

In the current climate of constantly evolving restrictions, that creative force has been leveraged as a countermeasure, and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership has risen to the challenge of helping ensure that Montreal remains a vibrant, lively, and safe destination to visit, even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

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