MONTREAL — Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel for people hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown life.
The Place du Canada Park is slated to open to the public by the end of October after a renovation job that’s lasted more than 18 months.
The $9.2-million park overhaul began in May 2014 and is supposed to be finished in the coming days.
A lot of people who live and work in the area think it’s long overdue.
“Since 18 months I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot of crews working very, very hard, long hours,” said Réal Giroux, an engineer who works nearby.
The park has a rich history in this city. It first opened in 1876 and hasn’t been renovated since 1926.
It was the scene of the famous unity rally, bringing thousands of Canadians together on Oct. 27, 1995 to try and convince Quebecers to vote no in the province’s second referendum on sovereignty.
But getting around the park during this long renovation project hasn’t been easy. Peel Street has been reduced to three lanes and many sidewalks are closed to pedestrians.
Some complain the timing is terrible, having lost two consecutive summers.
“Losing a park like this over the summer is also a problem,” said Harry Dikranian, a litigation lawyer whose office overlooks the park. “Creating the traffic that the work on Peel Street has created is not conducive to having people come downtown.”
The park’s twin, Dorchester Square Park, was renovated several years ago. Many people look forward to the Place du Canada Park opening so they can enjoy the two together.