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A Swanky Food Hall Complete With Garden Is Coming to Downtown Montreal

Bringing bars, bistros, and a garden to Place Ville-Marie

A rendering of the central garden section of Le Cathcart
Sid Lee Architecture/Supplied

A major project is in the works for the Place Ville Marie (PVM) complex in downtown Montreal: a 35,000 square foot food hall has just been announced as the new centrepiece of the mixed-use space on McGill College Avenue and Cathcart Street.

The food hall will encompass around 15 businesses, running the gamut from fast-casual counters for lunch crowds through to more formal bistro and bar options, and is set to open in late 2019.

Named Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten, the hall will take the place of the previous, now closed Place Ville-Marie food court, and is likely to be much more of a destination. Le Cathcart is to be built and operated by architecture firms Sid Lee and Menkes Shooner Dagenais Letourneaux, and restaurant group A5 Hospitality (Kampai Garden, Jatoba, Mayfair); chef Antonio Park (Park, Lavanderia) is also a partner.

The food hall will be a major makeover for the space (which has arguably been seen as more of a shopping mall in the past), and it seems that they’ll be elevated in comparison to previous dining options in the building.

A glass ceiling with a view into the basement of Place Ville-Marie on the left, with pedestrians walking at ground level on the right, and downtown Montreal’s skyscrapers in the background.
Le Cathcart from above
Sid Lee Architecture/Supplied

The hall will be near the Cathcart Street entrance to PVM, and entrances from Cathcart and McGill College will be opened up, and the current entrances to the building’s underground parking lot will be shifted elsewhere. It will also boast a 50 by 150 foot glass ceiling, looking out to the plaza above.

“We want to reinvent the offerings, [moving] from a food court towards more of a food hall-slash-beer garden...something that has the ability to start early in the day [and run] through to late at night,” explains Jean Pelland, a partner at Sid Lee Architecture.

A blueprint for Le Cathcart
Sid Lee Architecture/Supplied

The hall will be split into three main sections — one (at the right in the above rendering) will be geared towards faster, casual options: think kiosks and counters that might cater to a lunch crowd from the PVM office buildings above. While the tenants are still to be confirmed, A5’s Alexandre Besnard tells Eater that franchises and chains won’t be on the menu.

A rendering of the proposed fast-casual section of Le Cathcart
Sid Lee Architecture/Supplied

“We want the offer to be unique — possibly getting local establishments, pulling from [established restaurants in] different neighbourhoods, a sampling of Montreal.”

In the centre will be a bar and a café, and the third section will feature slightly more formal bistro dining options — a deli and an izakaya have been floated as possible ideas. Some (but not all) of the businesses will be run by A5 Hospitality.

Physically, it’s going to be a 180 degree change: greenery will be a key part of the decor, and the centre section will be surrounded by a garden, with a wooden deck as the centrepiece (this space could also be used as for events).

Elsewhere in North America, this kind of fancier food hall is having quite a moment of popularity. Montreal has only seen one such establishment, the Marché Artisans, at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel (although it’s centrally operated by the hotel, unlike Le Cathcart, which will have more varied vendors).

On top of that, the announcement for Le Cathcart comes just a few months after British culture magazine Time Out announced that it would bring its food hall concept to Montreal. That project will be situated in the Eaton Centre, and Time Out plans to tap into local talent from established restaurants as it selects vendors for the hall. That one is also slated to open in late 2019.

Both this project and the Time Out one fit into a larger plan by real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge to revitalize a range of spaces in downtown Montreal— the company owns PVM, but also major malls and office buildings such as the Eaton Centre, Place Montréal Trust, and 1000 de la Gauchetière.

Place Ville Marie

Place Ville Marie, Ville-Marie, QC H3B

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