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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

La construction de la nouvelle Plaza Swatow : une histoire de 2007 à 2010

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The new and the old Swatow 長盛
Septembre 2007

Swatow Plaza - May 2008
Mai 2008

Plaza Swatow - March 2009
Mars 2009

Plaza Swatow, 2009-05-29
Mai 2009

Plaza Swatow - December 2009
Décembre 2009

La Plaza Swatow dans le Quartier chinois ouvrira ses portes au grand public le 1er août 2010. Il aura fallu près de trois ans, entre le moment où la pancarte annonçant la construction du centre commercial aux vocations multiples (un resto, un supermarché, du stationnement, des petites boutiques et de l’espace à bureaux) n’eût été posée et son inauguration.

Au fil des années, je me suis interessé à ce projet qui promettait de revitaliser un Quartier chinois aux trous béants et de plus en plus mis au défi par le deuxième Chinatown qui se développe aux abords de l’Université Concordia, loin de l’establishment d’origine cantonaise et hongkongaise.

La Plaza Swatow s’appelle 長盛廣場 (Changsheng Guangchang) en chinois, ce qui veut dire longue prospérité, alors que « Swatow » c’est l’ancienne romanisation de la ville portuaire de Shantou. Au delà des noms, ce centre commercial, qui a bien l’intention de durer, est la première construction majeure dans le Quartier chinois depuis celle du complexe Guy-Favreau et la Place du Quartier en 1983.

Cet article est également publié sur le blogue Comme les Chinois.



  1. Si toute les nouvelles batisses de Chinatown adopte le beige/gris, l’allure du quartier va devenir pas mal ennuyante.

  2. C’est où le plaza? Je ne vois qu’une édifice.

  3. And another building that ruins the scale of Chinatown. Aren’t there any bylaws about building heights ?

    This tower shouldn’t have been higher than 3 or 4 floors, just like it’s neighbors.

  4. Cirrus: It’s not a damn tower, it’s a building a 6 story building end of story.

    Would you really rather have an empty lot? Land is expensive, taxes are expensive, developers need to build property that can produce revenue, a 3 story red brick building that “fits” with the urban atmosphere would have not provided enough revenue to justify the price of the land/the cost of upkeep.

    that’s the definition of tower, a building whose height is larger then it’s width.

    Seriously, I’m all for conserving architectural gems but that was an empty lot and if there’s a possibility to finally build something in it that will attract new tenants and life into the neighborhood I’m all for it. We can’t regulate everything, that’s why we live in a capitalist society.

    I enjoy reading posts on spacingmontreal but sometimes jeez you’d think you guys forgot you lived in a modern world class city, we can’t be bland and fit everything to the neighborhood, we need to be progressive and think outside the box.

    CIrrus, I’m not picking at you specifically I’m just going after your comment, please don’t take this personally.

  5. @D
    Dictionnaire Antidote :
    « Plaza, n.f., Grand centre commercial. [Québec] Nom générique de certains centres commerciaux. »

    Merriam-Webster :
    « Plaza, n., 1.b. A shopping center. »

  6. J’espère qu’il y aura des bons restos chinois là-dedans! Montreal est loin en arrière de la nouvelle vague de la cuisine chinoise qui arrive dans les autre grands pays en Amerique du Nord. (Cependant, il y a quelques bonnes additions recents dans le “deuxième Chinatown”.

  7. It’s not too dreadful, although they might’ve made the façade more interesting and colourful. I’m more concerned about the building directly to the south, which really is an interesting frontage.

    Any details about the actual opening? I hope there will be dragons and fireworks at least.

  8. Cirrus wrote:
    “This tower shouldn’t have been higher than 3 or 4 floors”

    Haha, are you kidding? Wow, i haven’t heard such backward NIMBYism in a long time. 6 floors constitutes a tower now?! This low-rise is just fine at 6 floors. Even 10 floors would have been ok. The appeal of Chinatown is what’s at street-level, not what’s above it.

    This is a city – we build dense and we build high. If you’re intimidated by anything over 3 storeys, i recommend you go live in the countryside.

  9. Cirrus,

    3 stories is not sufficient for central locations. The best sections of the world’s great central cities are near-universally composed of 5-7 story structures. Paris, Istanbul, London — even SoHo in New York. Even Old Montreal. Given the development history of Montreal over the last 20 years, it is the height of irresponsibility to demand that vacant lot-filling projects be downscaled to economically unviable sizes.

    There exists a culture in Montreal that uses the language of Jane Jacobs urbanism to promote, through the bylaws and public consultation projects, a petty, restrictive and unambitious building programme that produces none of the sorts of structures and spaces that defined, say, Jacobs’ Greenwich Village.

    These guys raised $20 million in foreign capital and built a building that will house a vibrant collection of businesses on what was once a vacant lot… and the reaction of some Montrealers is to hope that exploiting some chintzy little bylaw can maybe erase half of of this new activity.

    Desolation angels.

  10. I totally agree, this is not a tower and it adds good density to the area! I much prefer this to a parking lot! Let’s hope it brings back some life into that Chinatown and brings new investors!

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