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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Plage de l’Horloge opens this weekend

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Having grown up on the East Coast, the word “beach” is connected connected intimately to getting into the water to swim and splash around to cool off. This is why I have a hard time connecting these strips of sand on a quay in the old port to an actual beach. However, I’m sure many residents of a city lacking an actual beach (Oka, my favourite beach of any proximity to Montreal, is quite a distance away for many) will take what they can get. Other cities, also far away from natural beaches, have created similar sandy areas that they call beaches such as Sugar Beach in Toronto and the Paris-Plages in Paris (the most significant difference being that those beaches are free). Our “Plage de l’Horloge” is the latest phase of a large redevelopment of the Old Port into a recreation/tourist mecca, as can be seen in the official video above.

Thinking the beach was open yesterday, I went down to check it out. Unfortunately it wasn’t opening until the next day (today) so the photos I took show the beach empty and undisturbed. It’s broken up into two sections, a long strip on the northern side of the quay and a triangle on the eastern point below the clock tower. Along with sand there are a number of adirondack chairs, umbrellas, a boardwalk, a bar, and a few mist stations. According to The Gazette, the cost of installing the beach was $3 million plus another $400,000 for “reception and service pavilions”

The beach opens today and is free for the rest of the weekend. Afterwards, entrance fees vary between $3 and $6. It opens at 10h30 and closes at 19h30 daily until September 3rd when it will only be open on weekends until September 23rd when it closes for the season. Official website.



  1. It’s so stupid that we have to pay. I just got back from Toronto, and they have 2 ‘beaches’ similar to the one here, it’s called HTO Park and Sugar beach. both of them are a lot bigger and nicer than l’horloge, and both of them are free!

  2. in montreal you have to pay twice for everything. Biggest taxes first (like its possible to have good free health care and roads here) and than you have pay again because money was used in shemas of corruption

  3. I wonder how the additional cost of having admission fees (fences, cameras, staff at the fare booth, credit card processing etc.) compares to the revenues generated. Personally I have zero interest in a no-swim beach for 6 dollars.

  4. I can’t put in my two cents because I’m not their target market (I like being in the water itself) but I just hope that their business case for doing this makes sense and it will turn our tax dollars into additional revenues. I don’t know either way but that’s what I hope because I just don’t get this (ok I guess that last part counts as my 2-cents).

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