Before work on the blue line, rue Jean-Talon is revitalized

On August 17, the Jean-Talon East Merchants’ Society (SDC) inaugurated portraits of merchants and a garden in a disused parking lot destined to become a metro entrance. The street, a recognized heat island, has seen its redevelopment postponed since 2018 due to the extension of the blue line.

Élise Riffat is a project manager for the SDC Jean-Talon Est as part of the “Artère en transformation” program of the City of Montreal. This program helps street merchants undergoing major work, in this case the implementation of the blue line.

To energize the street before work begins in the fall – if all goes well – two projects have therefore been born. “The first, the gardens of Léon, is very simple: it is a few picnic tables, flower pots and coloring on the ground,” explains Ms. Riffat.

A place to take a break on Jean-Talon

When she talks about the purpose of this development, Élise Riffat does not hesitate: “we wanted to make a place to take a break”. The SDC then seized the opportunity to convert the parking lot of the former Pharmaprix at the corner of Viau. Given the upcoming start of work to transform this parking lot into a kiosk for a blue line extension station, the installation is temporary.

This place of pause also makes it possible to meet other objectives such as making the street more dynamic and welcoming. Ms. Riffat adds in the same breath that “[la SDC] wants it to be open to everyone.

A more dynamic and welcoming street

The street is also more welcoming with the twelve portraits of shopkeepers on rue Jean-Talon Est, a development inaugurated at the same time. Eight of these twelve portraits are located in the gardens of Léon.

The four other portraits are on Jean-Talon, between L’Assomption and Candiac streets. Those located in the Jardins de Léon will be moved to an as yet unknown location when the parking lot is demolished.

These portraits of traders make it possible to “put a spotlight on them”, according to Ms. Riffat. “The merchants are quite proud and the portraits, taken by a professional photographer, are very beautiful,” thinks the project manager.

Élise Riffat at the inauguration of the gardens of Léon. Photo: Courtesy of Élise Riffat, SDC Jean-Talon East

Leonardo dwellers at the inauguration

“The inauguration was a success”, assures Élise Riffat. The event, which took the form of a small happy hour with snacks, brought together people from the neighborhood, but also people who subscribed to the SDC newsletter.

Élise Riffat also noted the presence of local political figures, including Suzanne De Larochelière, Deputy Mayor, and Dominic Perri, City Councillor.

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