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Design

The Unconventional Beauty of Montreal’s New Bonaventure Expressway

After years of political wrangling, planning, and construction, the new $141.7-million (CDN) Projet Bonaventure is actually pleasant, as far as expressways go.
Now that the expressway is at ground level with a landscaped park in the middle of it, the hope is that the waterfront can finally be unified.
Now that the expressway is at ground level with a landscaped park in the middle of it, the hope is that the waterfront can finally be unified.City of Montreal

Since 1967, off-island visitors to Montreal would swoop in from the south, over the Champlain Bridge, pass the iconic Farine Five Roses sign, and arrive via the Bonaventure Expressway; passing over a derelict no man’s land of factories and slums known as Griffintown before arriving in the heart of the city.

“The idea was to build an elevated expressway to get cars through the area as quickly as possible,” says Simon Pouliot, an urban designer with the City of Montreal who has worked on the team in charge of the new Bonaventure since 2012.