Montreal celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO City of Design

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of this designation, Montreal is paying tribute to the people who shape their city and their everyday lives. Since 2006, more than $6 million has been invested to fund design and architecture competitions and to promote Montreal’s talented people and exemplary accomplishments. Thanks to the creation of the Montreal UNESCO City of Design initiatives – born of a unique partnership between the Ville de Montréal, the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal, the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire and the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal – the number of creative projects has greatly increased in the last five years, with the launch of four urban design workshops, three design idea competitions and 15 design project competitions. Once completed, the resulting projects, including libraries, bus shelters, recycling bins, sports complexes, and various public spaces, will considerably enhance Montrealers’ everyday lives.

A number of activities will take place from May 2011 to May 2012 to mark Montreal’s fifth anniversary as a UNESCO City of Design. The celebrations will revolve around three key periods: June 2011, October-November 2011, and May 2012.

In the wake of the Montreal International Interior Design Show (May 26-28), the celebrations will kick off with the Design Montreal Open House – organized as part of the Agreement on the Cultural Development of Montreal – which also is also marking its fifth anniversary this year. A total of 75 Montreal design agencies, projects and exhibition spaces will be open to the public free of charge on June 4-5. It’s the perfect occasion to learn about the designers behind Montreal’s urban surroundings. To find out more, please visit


On June 4, starting at 10:00pm at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT), the MUTEK digital creativity festival will host a free evening, Designer_Mix, a hybrid party imbued with the spirit of Buenos Aires, Berlin and Montreal, three UNESCO Cities of Design where globetrotting creators from every discipline converge, bringing suitcases stuffed with ideas, images and sounds.

To be launched on June 1, during the Carrément Design benefit evening, the CODE International Poster Competition exhibition (June 2-26) at the Centre de design de l’UQAM, showcases 70 award-winning concepts from the Montreal-driven competition held in each of the seven UNESCO Cities of Design.

From June 4 to September 30, design takes centre stage at Place Ville Marie. A landmark of Montreal modernity designed by famed architect I. M. Pei, Place Ville Marie welcomes nearly 250,000 visitors each week. The summer exhibition presents the talent of Montreal designers and the projects that heralded their success.

The symposium Les politiques des villes de design, organized by the cities of Montreal and Saint-Étienne (France), will take place October 4 as part of the 24th Entretiens Jacques-Cartier. The result of a productive partnership with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Palais des congrès de Montréal, the URBA 2015 conference series, and the non-profit organization Mission Design, this public forum is a meeting of the mayors of European and Asian cities and elected officials from across Quebec to discuss design-related city development strategies.

From November 20 to December 4, the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal will organize a WAT (workshop_atelier/terrain) on an emblematic Montreal site. Representatives of more than 20 universities from five regions of the world are expected to attend in order to work on solving urban design issues that relate to major social, cultural and environmental issues.

Lastly, Montreal will host the Annual General Meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in May 2012, alongside the C2MTL creativity summit.