Esplanade Tranquille: A Vibrant Public Space in the Heart of Montreal

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Montreal, Canada’s cultural hub, welcomes the Esplanade Tranquille, the final phase of the Quartier des Spectacles project. This captivating public space pays homage to the historical significance of the Tranquille Bookstore, where the Refus global manifesto was launched in 1948. Strategically located at the intersection of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Sainte-Catherine Street, Esplanade Tranquille is set to become a central gathering place for citizens, offering year-round entertainment and recreational opportunities.

A Dynamic Hub for All Seasons

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal Esplanade Tranquille complements the nearby Place des Festivals by providing citizens with a refreshing experience throughout the year. In winter, a refrigerated ice rink allows visitors to enjoy skating, while in summer, the space transforms into a verdant oasis. With a diverse range of shows and activities, Esplanade Tranquille guarantees a lively and engaging atmosphere, contributing to the ongoing revitalization of Montreal’s city center. Adjacent new apartment buildings further underscore the area’s transformation into a vibrant and diverse living environment.

Designing for Flexibility and Integration

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal Following the Quartier des Spectacles development plan, the Esplanade features a linear service building running perpendicular to Sainte-Catherine Street, bordering a public square. This square hosts summer festivals and seamlessly converts into an ice rink when winter arrives. To facilitate these transitions, the basement stores a variety of public furniture, including chairs, tables, umbrellas, braziers, and service kiosks, ensuring the space can adapt to different needs and events.

Seamless Integration and Sustainable Practices

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal The integration of Esplanade Tranquille into the Quartier des Spectacles project aligns with the distinct design elements and materials employed in previous phases. The project utilizes white prefabricated concrete, gray granite paving, floor lamps, white aluminum cladding panels, and accents of red, emphasizing its connection to the neighborhood and preserving its original vision.

An Environmentally Conscious Oasis

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal Sustainability lies at the core of Esplanade Tranquille’s design. The use of a wooden structure for the three upper-level relaxation areas reflects the desire to promote sustainable development. The energy required for both the ice rink and the building is supplied by a network of geothermal wells, with heat recovery systems in place. Additionally, the rooftop serves as a garden, cultivating herbs and vegetables used by local businesses, including the on-site restaurant.

A Year-Round Gathering Place

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal Esplanade Tranquille offers a seamless indoor-outdoor experience. With fully retractable glass walls on the ground floor, the restaurant extends onto the terrace, creating an inviting space for visitors to enjoy the public square. The skate rental room also transforms into a pop-up business, adding to the vitality of the area throughout the year. A spacious basement warehouse ensures efficient storage and logistics for various events held in the Quartier des Spectacles.

A Collaborative Process

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal The realization of Esplanade Tranquille involved a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, industrial designers, scenography consultants, and lighting designers. Through their collaborative efforts, they created a public space enriched by diverse expertise and ideas.

Transforming Montreal’s City Center

Esplanade Tranquille Public Space in Montreal Esplanade Tranquille has proven to be a haven for citizens, attracting significant footfall even during the pandemic. The project’s success exemplifies the need to adapt urban centers to meet the evolving expectations of residents. The revitalization of the Red Light sector, once known for its bars and infamous establishments, demonstrates the transformation of the area into a safe, inclusive, and pleasant living environment. Esplanade Tranquille builds upon the experience gained from the development of the International District and Quartier des Spectacles, spearheading a strategy to create high-quality public spaces that stimulate real estate revitalization in the surrounding areas.


Esplanade Tranquille stands as a remarkable addition to the Quartier des Spectacles project in Montreal. This vibrant public space seamlessly integrates entertainment, sustainability, and community engagement. With its year-round program of activities and innovative design elements, Esplanade Tranquille contributes to the transformation of Montreal’s city center into a lively and inclusive urban environment.

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Technical sheet

Project name : Esplanade Tranquille du Quartier des Spectacles
Location : 1442 Clark, Montreal, Quebec, H2X 2R3
Commissioning date : November 2021
Client : City of Montreal
Client representative : François Hubert
Architect : Les architectes FABG

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