City chops down 67 crabapple trees

The city has axed 67 crabapple trees in a small square, Place Albert-Duquesne, behind Place des Arts. The trees, which were planted after the construction of de Maisonneuve Blvd. in the mid-1960s, were cut down to make way for a new plaza that will form part of the Quartier des spectacles. La Presse has more detail:

La Ville a du coup lancé la construction de la place de l’Adresse symphonique, un parc qui fera partie du Quartier des spectacles. «On doit entièrement refaire la place, excaver, refaire les égouts, l’aqueduc, le service électrique et les lignes téléphoniques», indique Clément Demers, directeur général de la société Quartier international, l’entreprise qui gère le projet pour le compte de la Ville.

Les arbres, surtout des pommetiers, avaient été plantés après la construction du métro, au milieu des années 60. On les a jugés trop vieux, à 45 ans, pour survivre à une transplantation, explique M. Demers. C’est pourquoi on les a coupés.

(…) Clément Demers promet que de nouveaux pommetiers aux fleurs roses égaieront le quadrilatère, délimité par les rues de Montigny, Clark, Ontario et Saint-Urbain. Au total, on plantera 87 nouveaux arbres d’ici la réouverture de la place Albert-Duquesne, à l’été 2010.

On her blog, Kate McDonnell responds to the news with a memory of the trees in full May bloom:

Ever since construction began on the Quartier des Spectacles, I’ve been eyeing the site as I passed by, hoping they would spare the quadrangle of crabapple trees that framed the square behind Place des Arts. I once finished an overnight shift and, walking home exhausted, turned a corner to see the entire square blazing in full bloom in the early morning sun, and I’ve never forgotten the sight.

Photo by Kate McDonnell


  1. I’ve been watching developments in this square also, as I think it is the best part of the jazz festival site, a nice natural setting, trees (lots of beautiful trees!!!)

    Now, it’s one thing to be a pessimist, it’s quite another when the city proves all my pessimistic thoughts were less than the damage the city is doing!

    for bonus points, what is the difference between “sustainable devlopment” and “development that must be sustained at any cost.”

    It’s worth noting that the city NEVER reveals the damage it will do in its nice press kit when it unveils a plan like the quartier des spectacles. (same thing with the surprise new road across parc mont royal from duluth to the arena when it redid the pine-parc interchange.

  2. This makes me so angry and sad. I also remember the joy of seeing those little trees in bloom despite their adverse downtown environment.

  3. J’ai déjà lu que ce genre d’arbre ne dure pas longtemps. Pour une fois, ça ne sert rien à rien de monter au combat, ils n’étaient pas vieux et peuvent être remplacés par des arbres encore plus beaux.

  4. Ils vont en replanter deux fois plus. Et ces arbres là étaient malades! C’est ridicule de blâmer la ville pour un travail qu’il fallait faire.

  5. I walked by there on Friday and was stunned. Somehow I had forgotten that the project included that side of Place Des Arts, I mean, you sort of just assume that a unique park like that will remain intact. I am a jazz festival nut and, yea, that was the nicest location on the whole site. Can’t we do anything right in this city? Does there always have to be some kind of idiotic price?

  6. Yes, I also like complaining a lot :). But don’t forget to research before bashing ;)

  7. Um. They’ve been cutting the trees and digging holes in this square since last autumn! Six months! Please don’t tell me that you’ve only just noticed … and only because it’s spring and you were looking forward to these trees five minutes of fame?

    The trees were not sick, but were susceptible to a kind of leaf fungus that struck them every summer and left them looking really ill and utterly scrofulous by autumn. No one posted about this last October, because no one was missing the trees back in October.

  8. That was the first I saw of it, don’t get downtown a lot these days, heh heh. I don’t know, seems to me that we need our little Utopias wherever we can find them and this was one of them. I don’t think it’s just about the trees.

  9. fran, the trees were still there a few weeks ago and it looked as if they were not going to be touched. I had hopes they planned to integrate this park into their plans, not clear-cut it.

    Obviously I am wrong and I should be glad of the march of progress. Can’t wait to see the fresh new concrete surfaces, then.

  10. What’s with all the hostility? If you don’t like the article than don’t read it! I think it’s sad too they’ve been cut down.

  11. well, I wasn’t being hostile, I was just pointing out that many of these trees (we’re talking about the square bordered by St-Urbain/Ontario/deMaissonneuve, east of Place des Arts, and just to the north of the SPVM headquarters, correct?) had already been cut down last fall. If the article refers to another square, then it does, and I am wrong.

    I was merely hoping that people are a little bit more on the ball than noticing this fact six months after the fact, is all. And also that these trees’ appearance of ill-health in the autumn is a fairly easily regulated problem.

    It is unfair of Kate M. to insinuate that I am somehow looking forward to bare squares of concrete. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  12. …I walked by today and noticed someone has stuck little pink bloom-like bits all over the fences, with a sign saying how sad the trees were cut down.

  13. The trees were cut down first thing on easter monday.

  14. Très bonne idée de replanter de jolis arbres fruitiers aux fleurs roses.

  15. Sans qu’on le soupçonne, ce secteur de Montréal est un des plus anciens à avoir été dévellopé à l’extérieur des fortifications de l’ancienne ville (Vieux Montréal). À cette époque lointaine, ce secteur s’appelait Faubourg St-Laurent qui a donné son nom à un des premiers chemins, traçé du Sud au Nord de la ville, reliant le fleuve St-Laurent à la rivière des Prairies.

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