With construction on Notre-Dame Street West slowly wrapping up, Montreal’s Southwest borough decided to celebrate with a festival that runs through the weekend.
For eight months, much of the busy commercial artery has been impassable due to roadwork, affecting residents and merchants alike.
Now, part of Notre-Dame has been reopened, with the section between Rose-de-Lima Street and Green Avenue set to be free of roadwork by early December.
The festival is called Detour, and is complete with orange cone artwork, orange cone cartoon characters and a human bowling rink.
Borough Mayor Benoit Dorais said that the disruptions to traffic have made it difficult for merchants and citizens to reach Notre-Dame Street, affectionately called “la Dame.”
“I think it was a success,” Dorais said. “But we’ll also learn from the difficulties we had. Other roadwork will be different [in the future].”
Saturday’s events included the inauguration of Place Bonheur-D’Occasion, a space at the corner of Rose-de-Lima and Notre-Dame streets. Dorais said he hopes the new attraction will allow for more “unique” events in Saint-Henri.
Many businesses are hoping foot traffic will pick up now that construction is winding down.
‘It wasn’t always fun’
Ray Silas is the owner of Crossover Comics, a comic book store on Notre-Dame, and he said keeping afloat throughout road closures hasn’t been easy.
“It’s definitely hurt foot traffic. You don’t have anyone wandering in off the street.”
“We’re still a young business, so two years in construction was hard on top of being a younger business,” Silas said.
For some of those living in the area, the construction has been a nuisance since it started last year.
“Every morning at seven — sometimes 6:30 — the noise started every day,” said Julia Kienzle, who lives on Notre-Dame. “It wasn’t always fun.”
She and Charles Lamarche, who live together, said they’re glad to see the end in sight.
“It’s been very long, there were a lot of noises, and now we are very happy it’s coming to an end,” Lamarche said. “We love the street now. It’s so fun.”