|Downtown Montreal in survival mode, but what comes next?|
The latest vital statistics paint a grim portrait of Montreal’s once-vibrant downtown core almost a year into the pandemic
Yes, Ste-Catherine has fallen on hard times. And as it goes, so goes the rest of downtown.
The latest vital statistics published last week by the Institut de développement urbain du Québec and the Montréal-Centre-Ville merchants association paints a grim prognosis. Once populated by 300,000 office workers, 100,000 students and 11 million tourists, only a fraction of that crowd goes downtown anymore, slowly starving the once-thriving ecosystem of stores, services and amenities they patronized.
Almost a year into a global pandemic, Ste-Catherine St. is a mere shell of its former self. Almost one-quarter of retail outlets are deserted. A report by the Canadian Urban Institute suggested Ste-Catherine has been the hardest hit among the main streets it compared across Canada, with a stunning 76% drop in traffic and a loss of 18 million annual visitors.