Place des Montréalaises

Lemay + Angela Silver + SNC-Lavalin

The Place des Montréalaises is an evocative public space that will symbolically honour the women of Montreal: 21 women who have experienced great struggles and made great strides for both the past and the future of Montreal will be celebrated. The transdisciplinary project aligns with the city’s ongoing initiative for greater recognition of women through placemaking. They will be memorialized with a grand gesture: an urban perennial meadow that will feature 21 species perennial evolving through the seasons in the city.

The flowery meadow sits on an inclined plane and is the most symbolically important and poetic aspect of the project, while simultaneously being a greening strategy. It acts as a pollinator garden and helps to reduce the great heat island that is the city. The Miroir des Montréalaises, a cylindrical mirrored surface standing on the site, featuring the names of the 21 Montreal women in perforations across its surface, is the next important moment of commemoration. The 21 names appear among the reflections of users standing and reflecting in front of the monument, the city their backdrop. Teams in architecture, landscape architecture and art joined together to design an experiential moment for Montrealers. In embracing the power of these names, and by claiming new territory in the city those names called home, the site is a both powerful act of recognition and a place of serene reflection. Its field of tribute gives value to the history of women, and gives visibility to women—known, unknown, forgotten—in a boldly public way.