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The Old Port is Getting a Flashy, Vegas Knock-Off, Pyramid-Shaped Club

Just what everybody asked for!


Do you want a very large, neon-tinged pyramidal nightclub and events space in some of Montreal’s most prime real estate? Well, it doesn’t matter, since you’re getting it anyway.

Over the weekend, Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberté announced plans for a new event space and nightclub on the Clock Tower Pier, right in the Old Port, complete with a 25 metre high pyramid structure. Some renderings suggest there will be two pyramids, including one smaller building.

According to Radio-Canada, the $15 million development, named PY1, is well on the way to fruition, with plans to have it ready for next summer.

While PY1 has been billed as primarily a performance or event space so far — or an “emblematic gathering monument” in PR babble — it’s also slated to get into the nightlife game. It will operate as a “new wave” nightclub on weekends, with capacity for 1,000 people. (For comparison, major nightclub Stereo fits around 700 people.)

The whole “pyramidesque major entertainment complex” idea has some precedent elsewhere — the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which is known for its 107 metre pyramid structure. Obviously the Luxor doesn’t have a monopoly on this kind of geometric building, there’s certainly some resemblance: the smooth blackness of both buildings is remarkably similar. Plus, based in early images, it seems that PY1 will have some kind of attention-grabbing lighting set-up, possibly in the form of an upward beam — just like the Luxor.

The Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

While Laliberté’s project is much smaller in size, with Cirque de Soleil having a permanent presence in Vegas, one can’t help but wonder if the businessman spent more than a few minutes gazing out at the Luxor from a lounge at McCarren International Airport, right next door.

Mercifully, PY1 won’t be big enough to dwarf much of Montreal’s skyline, but it will still be around eight storeys high, much larger than plenty of buildings in Old Montreal, which will be immediately adjacent to the new venue. And it’s not like the pyramid is architecturally coherent with its surrounds — Las Vegas’ entire schtick is “let’s borrow monuments from other places”, while Montreal’ not.

After all, every travel writer who visits Montreal for three days fawns over the “European feel”, and not the modern architecture — there’s a reason Place-Ville-Marie isn’t much of a destination. But with the Cirque de Soleil link (and the adherent goodwill around that), it could overcome its own gaudiness to succeed.

We won’t have to wait long to find out — its first performance is scheduled for June 2019 — named Through the Echos, tickets are already available for it.


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