Save the Main

A feature interview with Eric Paradis, organizer of Save the Main, about the city of Montreal’s plan for Boulevard Saint-Laurent.


  1. You go girls… err… guys!

    Another ridiculous project proposal that completely dismisses Montreal’s nature as a lively alternative and artful city. We already have hundreds of office buildings with coffee shops on the ground floor. Do we REALLY need one more? We only have ONE Café Cléo, and that my friends is irreplaceable.

    I feel that Tremblay is a purist at heart, if this place was anything else than a transvestite/fetish showbar, he’d be the first one to lobby for preservation of Montreal’s cultural heritage. And then maybe not. But I’m sure this doesn’t play in the Main’s favor as it stands.

    Ugh, this is so frustrating. Sign the petition!

  2. “The great divide” this two solitude business is a bit of an archaic stereotype….

  3. I dunno, the only compelling argument that I’ve heard from the Save the Main supporters is that which comes from the queer community: that Café Cléopatra represents a very important lieu of personal transformation and self-affirmation.

    but, M. Paradis calling this area an important ‘cultural pole,’ and comparisons with Greenwich village and such is ridiculous. I used to work in the area: it’s crack houses and hotel/bordellos as far as the eye can see (except of course for the Insta-check and the crappy computer parts store).

    And the MTL pool Room, sadly, is NOT as it once was, rather a pale shade.

    I’m almost always on the side of the small guy, but this time, the ‘small guy’ has no case.

    Renewal is needed.

  4. The Main has to be helped but shoving in more corporate development is not the answer. The place can’t stop having meaning for Montrealers for it would be a huge loss. Just east down the road is the Gay Village, one of the most successful rejuvenations of a neighborhood on the planet! To the west is the new entertainment district. The city just doesn’t have a clue how to connect the dots. Let’s not forget that the Tremblay administration simply has not demonstrated any realistic understanding of this city, it’s culture, it’s history, and it’s neighborhoods with any of the mega projects they have lusted after.

    The video is very informative and I didn’t really know there was such a “Moulin Rouge” character to the Cafe Cleopatra. Really. Worth. Saving.

  5. That the Main is not considered a historic district and one that is landmarked is beyond my comprehension. If Hydro needs new office space, there is a huge parking lot behind its tower and plenty of empty lots around Clark. There is no need for this scope of a project in this place. Why not just build new in between the Monument Nationale and Cleopatra.. it’s called infill development. This tendency to destroy entire city blocks for one project is a bit dated and makes for a boring urban fabric.

  6. @Edward, it actually is “protected” as a historic district. Everything close to the Monument National falls under a special “aire de protection du Monument ÉNational et de son caractère”. Even the proposed 2-22 buildng falls under it. The current administration just made it go through anyways.

  7. This section of the main is so disgusting! Something needs to be done there. I don’t know if this project is the solution but something need to be done NOW.

  8. The interesting thing about this strip is that is seedy and rough around the edges. There is no need to go an bulldoze it entire block to spruce it up. Investments made around the neighborhood and via infill development will do that organically.

    … and Greenwich Village WAS like this many moons ago. Look at it now. How about some nice 10 storey apartment buildings in the area? With retail at the ground floor. That would do a lot more to improve the area than jamming a Hydro-Quebec head office annex on Ste Catherine and St Laurent.

  9. The lack of any vision in this city for the past 30 years is why I chose to leave in 1988. I came back about 6 years ago for family reasons. I look forward to leaving again. There IS life beyond Montreal, cities where there is democracy and vision…dying here.

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