Place des Festivals: Who Moved the Trees?

Lets just say a little bird told me. A little bird wouldnotice that kind of thing: with the Place des festivales nearing completion, where did they put the trees?

This image above shows plans for the Place des festivales released in July 2008. There are three rows of trees planted at the back of the plaza, along Boul. de Maisonneuve. Today’s nearly complete plaza has trees in the Western, grassy slope, but none along the street.

As much as the trees add flourish to the model, they irked festival honchos who dream of packing the QDS with festival-goers from Sainte-Catherine to de Maisonneuve and from Bleury to Clark. Who’d want a pesky tree blocking their once-in-a-lifetime view of the Jazz greats?

First they slashed the number of trees in the design from fifteen to three, and now even those three have been cut…or at least transplanted.

where are the trees?

Paving stones betray the spots where a dozen trees were planned for the plaza

who moved the tree?

In March there were 3 trees on the northern edge of the Place des festivales (left). Now there are none.

And then the little bird raised another question: is it really a good idea for us flightless bipeds to pack ourselves into downtown lots by the hundreds of thousands? I mean, I had only good things to say about being immersed in a sea of 200,000 Montrealers during the Stevie Wonder show last summer…

But how much of our downtown is being designed just for that once-a-year day?


  1. As for beautiful trees + Jazz festival, the Park (Place?) fred barry just NE of Place des arts had the lost lovely tree-lined park in the city that was the best part of the Jazz Festival site (blues stage). Now it’s a treeless wasteland (ok, a treeless designer-styled wasteland. I agree that we didn’t need that autoroute style street, but they absolutely didn’t need to kill dozens of beautiful mature trees in a lovely park. (Designers take note!!!!) From a beautiful place to watch music to now… NOT an improvement, or as we say: EPIC FAIL,

  2. Just a little follow up to the QDS trees!

    Firstly, the trees on the north end of Place des Festivals were removed follwing a decision by the city of Montreal and not the Festivals.

    Unfortunately the trees were planted directly in the middle of the sidewalk and were pushing the public foot traffic into the bike path.

    They were not cut at the request of any of the Festivals, but, yes…without the trees in place the Festivals will be able to install larger stages allowing them to bring in larger acts as part of the many free concerts that they give to Montreal each summer!

    Secondly, the number of trees in the original QDS designs were very low. At the request of the Festivals the number of trees were almost tripled and currently outnumber the trees that were cut for the construction of the QDS.

    For the festivals, the trees are an important visual element. By adding a few lights at the bottom of the trees they become beautiful scenery and truly highlight the Festival site!

  3. @MichelMTL
    It sounds like you are involved in the project and perhaps you have another perspective on this story. However, if the trees were removed in response to concerns about pedestrian safety, why would the city have told La Presse that it was due to pressure from the festival organizers? And why would Spectra not have clarified the situation to the La Presse journalist when they were contacted?

  4. There are so many places in montreal where one can observe a (sometimes large) patch of grass that could use some trees…!!!

  5. My sources have confirmed that it was pressure from Spectra that led to a reducation in the number of trees…and that sadly they couldn’t transplant the 3 trees without removing the paving stones so they were cut (sad for the trees, and also a waste of money – those babies are worth about $5000 apiece)

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