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The Controversial Renovation of Montreal’s Beloved Public Park

Parc-Jean Drapeau’s redesign attempts to balance priceless serenity and outdoor art with profitable festivals. Many Montrealers are skeptical.
Just one Metro stop from the city, the 662-acre park spread out over two islands has long been a reprieve from city life, offering visitors a place to bike, swim, picnic, and to see important works of art and architecture, like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome and the nationally treasured Trois Disques sculpture by Alexander Calder.
Just one Metro stop from the city, the 662-acre park spread out over two islands has long been a reprieve from city life, offering visitors a place to bike, swim, picnic, and to see important works of art and architecture, like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome and the nationally treasured Trois Disques sculpture by Alexander Calder.Parc-Jean Drapeau

Parc Jean-Drapeau is a Montreal gem, but after 50 years of service, it was starting to show its age.

Just one Metro stop from the city, this 662-acre park spread out over two islands is a reprieve from city life, offering visitors a place to bike, swim, picnic, and to see important works of art and architecture, like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome and the nationally treasured Trois Disques sculpture by Alexander Calder. The park, built for Montreal’s Expo 67, is also home to major attractions like the amusement park La Ronde, the Montreal Casino, and the Formula 1 racetrack. Eight million people visited Jean-Drapeau in 2017. (Mont-Royal, the city’s second-biggest park, gets five million annual visitors.)