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Quartier Chinois de Montréal

Opinion en ligne - English

Identity and heritage

The City of Montréal and the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec are proposing to formalize and extend the perimeter of Chinatown. They are also proposing to designate the greater part of the neighbourhood as a sector of “exceptional value.” With that change, the construction, modification or expansion of a building must be carried out in such a way as to ensure its integration into its environments and with the overall character of the sector.

The new territory will also include more areas and shops currently occupied by the Chinese-Asian community. (See the map)


To stimulate your thought process

  • Do you think that expanding the boundaries of Chinatown will be beneficial to its development?
  • In your opinion, what significant elements should be protected and enhanced to strengthen the distinct character of the neighbourhood?
  • What else could be done to protect and enhance the neighbourhood’s heritage buildings and distinctive elements?


Heights and densities

In order to protect Chinatown from real estate pressure and to enhance its distinctive character, the City of Montréal is proposing to limit construction heights and densities in the sector. Note that one storey equals approximately three metres. (See maps)



  • Do you believe that the proposed modifications (the reductions in heights and densities) will help to protect Chinatown’s built heritage? Why?
  • In your opinion, will the changes make the neighbourhood more pleasant to live in or to visit?
  • How do you think the changes in heights and densities will affect the development of the neighbourhood?


Commercial life and economic vitality

Chinatown is characterized by commercial and tourist activity that brings to light its cultural identity. It houses numerous specialty shops, grocery stores and restaurants and Chinese-Asian institutions.



  • In your opinion, how will the changes in heights and densities affect the neighbourhood’s economic development?
  • What measures could benefit commercial activity in the area while strengthening the unique character of Chinatown?
  • What do you think would make people want to visit Chinatown and its shops?


Other opinions

Are there other important elements to consider regarding the proposed modifications?

Opinions récoltées

  1. Opinion présentée par Donny Seto
    Dear Commissioners of the OCPM,
    My name is Donny Seto and I am lecturer in the department of Geography Planning, and Environment at Concordia University. I grew up in Quebec City, where as a child I witnessed first-hand the peak and sharp decline of Quebec City’s Chinatown and its community I am adamant on not witnessing such a loss or destruction anew, hence I am concern about the process that is underway to help ensure that Montreal’s Chinatown endures for generations to come.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed new height and density permissions of buildings situated in Chinatown. I strongly support the City of Montréal’s proposal to lower the height and density allowances.
    I ask that the City of Montréal affirm the heritage designation of Montréal’s historic Chinatown from René-Levesque to the North to Viger to the South, and Rue de Bleury to the West and Sainte-Elizabeth to the East. I also ask the City of Montréal to affirm their proposal to lower the height and density allowances to dampen speculation of this historic environment.
    I am particularly concerned that without these additional measures that developers will eventually reshaping Chinatown to reflect the Central Business District of Montreal and erase this important cultural and community resource of Montreal and force out many of at-risk aging population that reside in the area.
    Beyond affirming the heritage designation of Chinatown and the height and density limits, I join our fellow neighbours and community members in their concerns that the current measures alone will not sufficiently bring about the desired results mentioned above. I hope with the adoption of the proposed changes to the Plan d’Urbanisme, the City of Montréal and the Borough of Ville-Marie will further consider creating a more holistic development plan for Montréal’s historic Chinatown that aims to protect, preserve, and promote the history and culture of its historical populations. This should also include considerations for a better mobility plan to and from this heritage site and a community centered collaborative planning approach to sensitize Montreal’s Chinatown Action Plan.
    I hope you will take this recommendation seriously and continue to use the feedback of residents and community members to develop a holistic plan that values the unique character of Montréal’s Chinatown.

    Donny Seto
  2. Opinion présentée par Anna-Elisabeth Krieger
    I believe that we should make Chinatown a safe area that cannot be bought out or made smaller as it is already so small. The creation of more stores or buildings that are related to Chinese/Asian culture can be a good way to attract people to Chinatown.

    I also think that as a people we should see the beauty of what we already have instead of trying to make everything so "modern". There is true beauty in Chinatown, even if the architecture of the district is not the most recent and it must be recognized for what it is.

    Destroying the district or expropriating it will only destroy lives, and shatter memories and the community.
  3. Opinion présentée par Daniel Belbas
    I agree with the proposal to reduce the height and density limits in Chinatown to limit the pressure to develop, but more needs to be done to ensure the neighbourhood remains an asset for the existing community. I believe there is a great potential for the city to work towards acquiring and holding the land in trust for the community in order to ensure protection from market forces, as preventing highrise development alone is no guarantee to hold off gentrification and the inevitable community displacement.
    If done right, a Community Land Trust (CLT) can ensure the neighbourhood remains affordable, retains its character, and has more public spaces for community uses that aren’t just shops business. There’s already plenty of typically anonymous development taking place downtown to make Montreal feel too much like just another generic North American city, we can do without losing this special place too.
    Rather than building highrise condominiums and hotels, a CLT could allow for infilling some of the existing parking lots with appropriately sized affordable or cooperative housing aimed at the Chinese speaking community, and eventually the construction of a centrally located Chinese Cultural Centre. This would help spur activity in Chinatown as more young people and families coming here means more activity in shops, and more friends being invited to the neighbourhood to visit. A fantastic place to start with the CLT would be covering the last open stretch of the autoroute Ville Marie and rebuilding a part of Chinatown previously destroyed.
  4. Opinion présentée par Louise Makovsky
    Chinatown was zoned by the city and it cut its growth. Businesses need places for people to park. You need English used, often the 2nd language of Chinese people. How about true history told about Chinatown and the people there and beside it. There must be more Chinese shops, groceries, schools, activities. Don't drown them with forced French. Historical pictures everywhere, a centre for culture, Chinese languages, art, dance, music. Lower taxes and do not let the highrises take over. When I was a kid there were Chinese parades, Dragon dances, operas. There needs to be Chinese shows. Promote CHINATOWN. It's one of the oldest Chinatown in northamerica. Have you actually interviewed people there were born in Chinatown. Almost all my family on my mom's side were born in Chinatown and my dad's not far. It was a thriving place until the language laws came in and killed the party. Respect the community, listen to the CHINESE, they need more honest reprsentation. I went to Chinese school as a child, in Chinatown behind the church you have in the picture. Make Chinatown safe, more family oriented Which includes greatly respecting and catering to the older generations. I would love to see more Chinese goods and to have choices of where to shop. Why is the whole info from in French. If you want true answers and history, you cannot ignore the English side of things. Otherwise it's a failure and inaccurate. Why is the formal final section only in French. It is not a proper representation of what Montreal truly is.
  5. Opinion présentée par Jin Fei
    yes, the space is also very important do that cannot be reduced by other constructions like condos. Unique snd traditional products:food,restaurants,tea bar, painting, expo,sports activity...etc will enhance traditioanal culture and features. Complete planning(road zone, commercial zone, pedestrian zone etc) and uinque decoration will help the heritage.

    yes, no need high building, no need high density...we are protecting the history,the special culture. Visitors come here for different experience not for modern high building.They need a traditional and unique Chinese Canadian community which cannot be copied. high building and high density will make it lose its attraction to visitors.

    high building makes people think modern commercial activities only, no more unique. To make it unique, make it traditional, of course, can mixing with modern elements(like modern restroom)... Expo and topic activity can help to develop its commercials. A unique, traditional and modern community make Chinatown a special part of Montreal so that people like to visit, have a cup of tea, have a meal, shop Chinese stuff...
  6. Opinion présentée par Kun Wang
    Opinions on the rectification of Montreal's Chinatown Montreal's Chinatown is a historic and distinctive location. I don’t think there is much to say about the importance of history. This is what governments of any country and region should try their best to protect. I want to focus on what are the characteristics of Montreal Chinatown. To understand this, we must first know the adjacent relationship between Chinatown. It is located in the south by tourist attractions, judicial buildings, government offices and the Convention and Exhibition Center, and in the north by the most prosperous Montreal business district. Montreal is an international tourist city with European French style and artistic and cultural characteristics, and a large number of tourists will definitely visit the area adjacent to our Chinatown, and then they will go to Chinatown to eat and shop. Why come back here for shopping and dining? It's because we have countless small restaurants and small commodity shops with low prices and good quality. Most of these small commodity shops and restaurants are
    self-employed, so their products are diversified and very popular with tourists, which is unmatched by traditional big shops. of. This is also one of our specialties here. Of course, this is also inseparable from the special licenses that our government has given to Chinatown shops, such as unlimited opening times and dates. What are we worried about? Of course, this topic is inseparable from the monuments and features I mentioned here. I hope that the government will not destroy the monuments here in this rectification, let alone destroy such a thriving Chinatown that many of our businesses have worked so hard to create over the years. What if we lost this feature after the rectification? If developers are allowed to build high-rise buildings and lose the current situation of small restaurants and small shops in Chinatown, the future Chinatown will be a historical site with only Chinatown archways. At that time, it was not much different from other prosperous areas. The so-called Chinatown is Just a name. How can we not fall into Chinatown? I think that the rectification plan should be reserved for a sufficient number of small sh...
    Keep Chinatown original is very important
    If it is too high, we will lose the original of Chinatown
    Higher buildings can bring more people to live and bring up the local business too, but if it is too much, I think che original of Chinatown will lose and tourists will lose the interest to visit
  7. Opinion présentée par Sally Zhang
    Yes of course, expansion and extension means more wealth in Chinatown. More commercial stores can promote our Chinese culture objects, more restaurants can promote our Chinese food, more space can promote cultural activities and events

    The height and density do not matter, as long it’s intent is good, as long as the design is good and can promote prosperity in Chinese culture
  8. Opinion présentée par Fiona Fiona

    CCCAE translation :

    The original appearance should be preserved, and the most important thing is to keep it clean
    Hold some events with Chinese characteristics
  9. Opinion présentée par qi lie
    yes, it is bwneficial for China Town.
    it has no impact on China Town.
  10. Opinion présentée par Mei Chen
    Chinatown occupies a central and strategic location in Montreal's tourist areas and business centers. Its revitalization and expansion will provide enchanting cultural, shopping, and cuisine experience to the Chinese communities as well as other residents in Montreal. More importantly, the revitalization and expansion of Chinatown can play an important role in enhancing the multicultural characteristics of Montreal, making our city a more appealing international city for visitors. This, I believe, can foster the development of the economy, particularly the tourist industry in Montreal.

    I believe that expanding the boundaries of Chinatown will be beneficial to
    its development. Besides protecting Chinese architecture and heritage buildings, the city can enhance the distinctive characteristics of Chinatown by adding Chinese-style gardens, pagodas, benches, and green spaces in the neighbourhood. The heritage buildings can be protected by regulating the construction, modification, and expansion of a heritage building as well as its surrounding buildings and environment.

    A key feature of Chinese architecture is its height and space layout.
    Limiting the heights and densities of the buildings in the neighbourhood will help to protect Chinatown’s heritage buildings and sustain the
    architectural style of Chinatown. In addition, the more open spaces in the neighbourhood are more pleasant to live in and to visit, attracting more visitors. More visitors mean more businesses for restaurants and stores in Chinatown. As mentioned before, the reduction in heights and densities will not only enable Chinatown to maintain its distinctive architectural features,

    but also foster the development of the economy in the neighbourhood. Of course, the reduction of heights and densities will pose a limit to
    residential or commercial real estate development, making the real-estate development in the area less appealing. However, I consider this a good thing, because it can better preserve Chinatown.
    As mentioned, the reduction in heights and densities will not only enable Chinatown to maintain its distinctive architectural features but also foster the development of the economy in the neighbourhood. The more unique and attractive the neighbourhood becomes, the more visitors will come to visit, shop and eat.  Adding Chinese-style gardens, pagodas, benches, and green spaces will make the neighbourhood more unique and attractive for visitors. In addition, including Chinatown in all city-sponsored tourist promotions can draw residents and visitors to Chinatown. Limiting the heights and densities of the buildings in the neighbourhood will leave more open space in the neighbourhood, which is more pleasant to live in and visit. More visitors can boost businesses in Chinatown, fostering the economic development in the neighbourhood.

  11. Opinion présentée par Jimmy Chan
    Identity and heritage:

    Chinatown should be expanded towards Saint-Catherine Street, to build more affordable social housing, and to build more commercial properties for Chinatown businesses.
    Many of the old buildings in Chinatown are breaking down. We must keep the Chinatown facades of the buildings, repair the structures and renovate the insides.

    Heights and densities:

    The changes in heights and densities will help prevent high-rises from overshadowing Chinatown. It will allow Chinatown to remain visible. Also, the facades of the new buildings must be designed to have an oriental look, to keep the theme of Chinatown.

    These changes will improve the quality of life of the residents, who will not be able to enjoy views and sunlight in their own homes the area is surrounded by high-rises.

    Commercial life and economic vitality:

    To make people want to visit Chinatown and its shops, weekly scheduled cultural events ( like Lions Dance performances people love ) in Chinatown would attract more visitors and encourage them to explore the restaurants and shops in the area.

    It would be great if the street signs in Chinatown can have Chinese characters underneath the street name. That would give it a nice unique oriental look to Chinatown.

    Also, the creation of greenspace in Chinatown will provide scenic experiences for its residents and visitors.

    It would be great if Chinatown had its own sports center, Cultural center for the elderlies and for everyone, and to have our Chinese cultural museum.

    The homeless population is increasing in Chinatown. We would like to have more homeless shelters built outside of Chinatown so keep the homeless away. The homeless often vandalize commercial properties in Chinatown and often scare away visitors, greatly affecting the businesses in the area as well as affecting the visitors’ experiences.