Montreal seeking public art for redesigned Bonaventure

Montreal’s redesigned Bonaventure expressway will be crowned with works of art. 

The city is set to launch a cross-Canada competition for public art to install at the northern edge of the new gateway for motorists entering downtown from the South Shore in time for the city’s 375th anniversary in 2017.

The $142-million replacement of the elevated Bonaventure Expressway with a street-level “urban boulevard” is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017.

On Wednesday, the city executive committee authorized Montreal’s culture department to launch the competition, which will invite about 20 professional artists from across Canada to present designs.

The art work is planned for two sites that form what’s known as the “northern threshold” of the boulevard, which is the continuation of Robert-Bourassa Blvd., at Notre-Dame St. W. The “threshold” is split into two blocks that are dissected by Notre-Dame.

The block to the south extends from Notre-Dame to St-Maurice St. and will be a public space for strolling, the executive summary says. The art work that will be displayed here will “offer an exceptional urban experience,” says an executive summary accompanying the resolution.

The artwork that will be installed in the block to the north, between Notre-Dame and St-Jacques Sts., will be visible to motorists and will harken to the world of aviation because the site is close to the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the document says.

A jury of seven people from across Canada will propose the names of 20 artists who will be invited to join the competition, the executive summary says. The jury will then select four finalists and then finally the winner.

The city has set aside $1.4 million, plus taxes, for the project, including the competition process.

Public art will create “a prestigious and distinctive entry to downtown” and help weave together the surrounding neighbourhoods, the executive summary says. “These works of art will see show different facets of Montreal (including its history, creativity) to a variety of audiences.”

Article Written By: Linda Gyulai