Over the next few weeks, residents are invited to share their ideas and comments on the new Empress. Consult the webpage to learn more about the project and to participate.
The time has finally come to talk about the Empress. Share your ideas, even the most unusual ones, and imagine what that space could be like in the future. From November 3 to December 10, you can provide your input at any time of day.
On March 9, 2020, the Borough of CDN-NDG gave a mandate to the Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM) for a proposal on the rejuvenation of the former Empress Theatre.
There are many significant urban development and heritage protection issues associated with transforming the Empress, but it also constitutes an opportunity to carry out a structuring project meeting a variety of needs.
The aim of the project is to include a mix of uses:
- A residential component with affordable housing to facilitate access to homeownership;
- A cultural component, opening directly onto Sherbrooke, with a multipurpose hall and community activities;
- A commercial component on Sherbrooke that could include a venue for artistic expression (in line with the commercial offering on Sherbrooke St. W.).
Renewal of the Empress: What cultural and community role will the new Empress play for NDG?
In July, the firm AEdifica was given a mandate to conduct a public consultation on the future Empress’s cultural spaces and to draw up a preliminary functional and technical plan with respect to the public facilities component. Now it’s time for the community to be heard!
The Empress is a building dating from 1927 that served at times as a burlesque show venue and at times as a cinema. Although the building does not have heritage status, its Egyptian-style facade is an architectural rarity in Canada.
Confederation Amusement Ltd. was founded in April 1927 by the Lawand and Tabah families, which had the Empress Theatre built the same year. It was the company’s first theatre. The Lawand family would be a major force in the Montréal cinema industry for several decades.
On June 7,1963, the company sold the building to Eastern Exports Limited, represented by Gabriel Richard and Pascal Dimaulo. In December 1964, Richard finally obtained the permits required to turn the Empress into a cabaret to host variety shows inspired by the French cabarets.
In 1964, several leases were granted to Royal Follies, the original name of the cabaret project, which would change several times, such as to Folies Bergères. According to the newspapers at the time, the cabaret operated from April 1965 until January 1967. That year, on October 10, 1967, Cinema V became the owner of the building.
In 1992, a fire resulted in significant damage to the interior of the Empress Theatre, which ceased filling its cultural role at that point. The building was acquired by the Ville de Montréal in 1999, and the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce became its owner in 2011.
Since 2000, several organizations have tried to develop projects to reopen and make use of the Empress Theatre. Unfortunately, these projects never managed to find enough funding to renovate the building. Today, the Empress is inaccessible and surrounded by security fencing.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE ?
Due to COVID-19 and the public health measures issued by the Government of Québec, the public consultation activities will be held online. There are various ways to participate and to be heard on the subject of the renewal of the Empress.
Public participation activities
November 3 | Introduction and participation activity
- Complete the form to share your ideas
December 3 | Final date for submitting ideas
December 10 | Feedback on participants’ proposals
December 11 | Public vote on the proposals
Novembre 3 to December 3
On November 3, do not miss a presentation of the project, the different stages to come and an overview of the results of the co-creation workshops. Time will be allocated for a question period.
Presentation document of the virtual public consultation
View the webinar presentation (November 3)
- 1-30 minutes: Presentation of the Empress project
- 30-45 minutes: Presentation of the virtual public consultation
- 45-1h30: Questions period
- 1h30-1h52: Presentation of the form
Details to come.
Details to come.
You have questions about the project? Contact us: 3-1-1
Download the form and imagine the future Empress. We encourage you to work as a team in order to gather as much idea as possible.
Once completed, send us your form at [email protected]