Archive | Place Ville Marie, icon of the Montreal skyline since 1962

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Archives | Place Ville Marie, an icon of the Montreal skyline since 1962

Place Ville Marie was the tallest tower in Montreal until 1992.

Place Ville Marie was inaugurated 60 years ago , famous cruciform tower in downtown Montreal. As soon as it opened, this resolutely modern construction became an emblem of the Quebec metropolis. Our archives bear witness to its avant-gardism and its evolution over the decades.

“Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Florence, Brunelleschi's dome, Venice, St. Mark's Square, New York, the forest of skyscrapers, and Montreal has its Place Ville Marie. »

— Narrator Raymond Brun

On September 13, 1962, the opening of Place Ville Marie was celebrated with great fanfare. At the time, with its 188 meters, it was the tallest tower in Montreal and even in the Commonwealth. Due to its prestige, it attracts the head offices of the largest Canadian and international companies.

Built between 1958 and 1962, Place Ville Marie occupies the quadrilateral bounded by René-Lévesque Boulevard, Mansfield and Cathcart streets, and Robert-Bourassa boulevard.

Its designer, architect Henry N. Cobb, worked under the direction of Ieoh Ming Pei, the creator of the famous Louvre pyramid. He foresees in his plans that the building will cover the railway line which until then disfigured downtown Montreal.

“Montreal is rediscovering the name and heart of its childhood, Place Ville Marie! »

— Narrator Raymond Brun

Documentary narrated by Raymond Lebrun on the opening of Place Ville Marie and its great innovations.

On January 20, 1963, a few months after its inauguration, a Radio-Canada documentary celebrated this novelty in the urban landscape of Montreal. In this clip from the film titled La Place Ville-Marie, narrator Raymond Brun is full of praise for this modern building complex.

Right off the bat, the narrator announces that “the race is over” between Toronto and Montreal. With Place Ville Marie, he says, the Quebec metropolis wins the game and even takes a 10-year lead over its Ontario competitor!

The documentary then offers a complete tour of the tower, emphasizing its major architectural innovations, in particular the underground garage and the shopping arcade.

This gallery punctuated with shops will give birth to Montreal's underground network, which today has more than 30 kilometers of pedestrian tunnels.

Report by Ghislaine Bouffard on the renovation work at Place Ville-Marie in view of its 25th anniversary. The newsletter is presented by Marie-Claude Lavallée

Over the years, Place Ville Marie has retained its appeal and remained a strong symbol of Montreal. In 1986, on the eve of its 25th anniversary, major renovations were carried out.

On the Montreal tonight October 1 newscast, journalist Ghislaine Bouffard announces that Place Ville Marie will be transformed to the taste of the 1980s. Skylights are added above the food court and a granite covering on the ground aims to give the impression of a commercial street to the network of underground shops. The plaza, entirely covered in concrete, also makes room for green spaces.

Report by Vincent Maisonneuve which outlines the history of Place Ville-Marie on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this building complex.

On September 13, 2012, journalist Vincent Maisonneuve in turn draws up the history of “the great lady of Montreal” as part of her 50th birthday.

At Téléjournal Grand Montréal, he insists on the determining role played by Place Ville Marie in the development of the city center. He also points out that if the building complex remains attractive, it is because of its avant-garde design.

“Even after 50 years, the Place Ville Marie remains the geographical and economic heart of the Quebec metropolis. »

— Journalist Vincent Maisonneuve

Report by Jacques Bissonnet on the giant ring of Montreal, an art installation by Claude Cormier, which will be installed on the Place Ville Marie esplanade in 2022. The news bulletin is presented by Patrice Roy.

More recently, in June 2022, Place Ville Marie acquired a public work of art presented to us by journalist Jacques Bissonnet on the Téléjournal of April 27 2022.

A huge steel ring has been suspended a few meters from the ground above the Place Ville Marie esplanade.

Created by urban designer Claude Cormier, the art installation aims to be a new meeting point for people who live or work in this business district, as well as for tourists passing through the Quebec metropolis.


The Montreal ring, which will be illuminated from September 14, 2022, also aims to revive downtown Montreal and to remind us that its nerve center is at Place Ville Marie.

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