Press release (English) – October 24, 2011


Montréal, October 24th 2011 – The artistic creative community of St-Viateur East – located in the Mile End neighbourhood in Montréal – announced today during a press conference their concern over the lack of concrete actions by decision makers to secure creative workspaces for the neighbourhood’s artistic and cultural community. The community demands that the City of Montreal and the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, in collaboration with local actors, to commit themselves immediately in implementing solutions to conserve creative workspaces in central city areas and specifically, in the St-Viateur East area.

Close to 450 000 square feet in the St-Viateur East neighbourhood are presently used by artists (visual, media, sound, interdisciplinary), designers, musicians, artisans and cultural workers of small businesses and non-profit organisations, making it one of the largest concentrations of artists and cultural workers in Canada. Commercial real estate speculation is changing the face of the neighbourhood, an area which was greatly revitalized by artists over the past decade. The fast-paced increase of commercial rents (which are not regulated) is risking the evictions of artists and cultural workers from their workspaces.

As an example, 30 % of the 5455 de Gaspé building’s surface area is currently occupied by artists and cultural workers for their workspaces. This building was bought for just over 8 millions dollars in 2008 and was recently sold for 37.8 million dollars in June 2011. Inevitably, significantly increased rents and evictions are anticipated so as to make a profit on the investment for the new property owners. Evidently, artists and cultural workers renting these spaces will not be able to absorb these significant rent increases. Leases are currently being renewed from month-to-month and many renters remain uncertain of their future in the neighbourhood. These creative spaces are work spaces – spaces that are essential to carrying out professional activities and greatly contributing to the artistic, creative and cultural dynamism of Montréal.

Many cities around the world have developed and implemented solutions to conserve these types of creative workspaces. Since the beginning of the 2000s, Montréal’s creative community has been waiting for an engagement and an enactment of policies by the City to secure artistic and cultural workspaces. Numerous studies (some financed by the City of Montréal) recognize and confirm the importance of these workspaces which contribute to our vision of Montréal, métropole culturelle. The current situation is at a breaking point : there is still an absence of concrete measures and as a result, one of the country’s most dense creative communities is at risk. It is necessary that the City of Montréal and the Ministère de la CUlture work together to implement creative workspace for artists, artisans and cultural workers in the St-Viateur Est neighbourhood IMMEDIATELY.

For nearly two years, Pied Carr̩, its members and partners have been developing solutions that have been the fruits of studies, working groups, research on international precedents, as well as consultations with experts and members of the creative community. The creative community cannot APPLY these solutions by themselves Рan engagement and commitment from elected officials in collaboration with the community and other stakeholders is essential! The City of Montr̩al has participated in discussions, studies, commissions and committees which have yielded a series of recommendations. However, no action has been taken to maintain and conserve these creative workspaces.

On behalf of the creative community, Pied Carré asks the City of Montréal, elected municipal officials, provincial and federal government, economic, urban planning, community and creative sectors to negotiate and act together to realize and put into action solutions immediately. Montréal can not pretend to be a creative city without securing workspaces for its citizen-creators.

Pied Carré is a non-profit organisation that represents creators (artists, musicians, designers, representatives of collective studios, small creative businesses and cultural non-profits) in the St-Viateur East area of Montréal. Working with the community and stakeholders, Pied Carré aims to conserve and maintain creative workspaces by reflecting, recommending and working on solutions for the neighbourhood.

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Source : Pied Carré
Raphaëlle Aubin, coordinator
438.879.4970 /

Documents : des artistes et des travailleurs culturels du secteur St-Viateur Est, Étude sur le développement culturel du secteur St-Viateur Est, photos of the neighbourhood, Pied Carré logos)

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