Esplanade Tranquille: A unique public space in the heart of downtown

Last updated November 23, 2022
Reading time: 2 min

This inviting public square hosts a variety of fun activities. A great place to relax year round. With a refrigerated skating rink in the winter and splash fountains in the summer, the Esplanade is the ideal destination for family outings.

Located west of Rue Clark, between Rue Sainte-Catherine and Rue De Montigny, the Esplanade Tranquille is a lovely addition to the public spaces of the Quartier des spectacles, which include the Place des Festivals, the Promenade des Artistes, the Parterre and Rue Sainte-Catherine.

A lively public square all year round 

The Esplanade Tranquille is a green space that features a large terrace in the summer with relaxing furniture (chairs, tables, mobile hammocks, etc.), fun furniture and a play fountain. In an intimate and friendly atmosphere, designed to look like a “backyard” complete with trees and plants, this multipurpose site is a destination of choice for family picnics or meetings with friends.

The site also comes alive for public events and activities of all kinds. It can hold 5,000 people, and even more when Rue Clark is reserved for pedestrians only.

In the winter, the plaza is transformed into a large skating rink that you can enjoy for free.

The site has a building that is transformed each season.


Tribute to Henri Tranquille

The square is named in honour of Henri Tranquille, owner of the Librairie Tranquille, which stood on that site from 1948 to 1974. A great lover of literature and defender of freedom of expression during the Grande Noirceur (Great Darkness), Tranquille influenced and shone a spotlight on many writers and artists, including Anne Hébert, Réjean Ducharme, Yves Beauchemin, Alfred Pellan and Paul-Émile Borduas. It was in his bookstore that the “Refus global” manifesto was launched in 1948.

Click on the slideshow to view archival photos.

The work on the Esplanade Tranquille was carried out under the Major Projects component of the New Building Canada Fund - Québec.

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