A Renaissance, Confirmed

Grand defilé District Central
Grand defilé District Central

Numbers don't lie. Since 2017, District Central has continued to grow in popularity with both entrepreneurs and people looking for recreation. Its growing influence and reputation have also won it the attention of a growing number of public, private and community partners.

A record-breaking year, 2023 confirms the renaissance of this historic district.

A choice for business

Nombre d'entreprises 3% ANG

In one year, the number of businesses in District Central has grown by 3%. Most of them, almost one in two (48.2%), have a place of business in the Chabanel sector, followed by the Saint-Laurent (18.4%) and L'Acadie (17.1%) sectors. Design has the largest number of entrepreneurs, with nearly 800 companies based in the District. Wholesalers (501), urban manufacturers (439) and retailers (388) follow close behind.

The popularity of the neighbourhood has had an effect on the number of vacant units. The amount of space available has fallen by 10.1% compared to 2022. At the end of 2023, the vacancy rate, estimated at 13.1%, was the lowest recorded in the area in five years. Over the same period, on the other hand, the percentage of vacant commercial premises in the Greater Montreal area was on the rise. The diversity of the rental offer and its highly competitive nature, combined with the efforts made in recent years to revitalise neighbourhood life, explain these results.

taux d'innocupation ANG
Comité aménagement du territoire
Comité aménagement du territoire

Attracted by the rental offer and the area's geographical proximity to major highways, the business community is also well served in terms of services. In 2023, 86.6% of the sums invested by the SDC District Central were devoted to projects or services of benefit to local businesses. These include: the continuation of the Connector of Opportunities project and the Builders Programme. In addition, an online Urban Mobility Toolbox has been developed, as well as a shared parking initiative. The Connector of Opportunities project alone has led to the creation of 110 business connections in the space of a year.

Champs de tournesol à La Prairie Louvain

A destination of choice

Among the initiatives launched to enhance the area's appeal, of note are the 66 public activities organised in 2023 alone, including La Prairie Louvain and its 10,000 sunflowers. This ambitious natural space, developed on a vacant lot, has helped to make the district a popular destination for everyone. The number of people taking part in activities in the District Central in 2023 was almost 55,000, three times more than the previous year.

activités grand public ANG

This record figure had a direct effect on the number of pedestrians recorded. This too reached a peak, with around 3 million people in 12 months, equivalent to 8,059 pedestrians a day. This represents an increase of 25.6% compared with 2022.

Le tournesol sur la façade de l'aéroport de Montréal

The district's high media profile, due in particular to the originality of the summer programme on offer, largely explains the increase in visitor numbers. In one year, the number of mentions of the District Central in the media jumped 157.1%, from 39 in 2022 to 109 in 2023. The scope of the coverage also widened.

In addition, we entered into new partnerships with Tourisme Montréal and YUL Aéroport de Montréal, including the promotion of La Prairie Louvain on the welcome screens for international passengers at the airport.

A key player

The area's growing reputation is strengthening its influence in the Montreal ecosystem. In 2023 alone, the SDC District Central represented the interests of the neighbourhood's entrepreneurs and residents on ten major issues, including the development of the vacant lot at 50-150 Louvain West, the sustainability of affordable creative spaces in Montreal, and urban delivery issues.

Vacant lot at 50-150 de Louvain West
Vacant lot at 50-150 de Louvain West
La Gare Chabanel
La Gare Chabanel

The efforts of the past year, combined with those of previous years, have resulted in some notable gains. These include the extension of the Special Urban Planning Program for the Ahuntsic and Chabanel stations to cover the entire territory, and the deployment of phase 1 of District Central's Signature Intervention Plan. Added to this is a prodigious 520% increase in subsidies obtained from the various levels of government in five years, and some 47 active partnerships with businesses and organisations from a wide range of sectors.

The territory is also featured in six major policy documents for the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, such as its 2023-2027 Economic Development Plan. It is also included in five major documents for the central city, including the recently published Plan d'urbanisme et de mobilité 2050.

These gains are underpinned by the ever-increasing involvement of the business community and the general public in SDC District Central initiatives. Not only are there more players involved, but they are also more varied.

This will definitely establish the essential character of the territory for years to come.



Article by Guylaine Boucher

La Presse Extra recently published "Un quartier en pleine effervescence, chiffres à l'appui", describing the economic and urban regeneration of the neighbourhood.  Read the article here >>


Collaborative circles: Strength in numbers


  In keeping with its mission to humanize the business world by building bridges between the different communities working in...

Lire la suite

Active Mobility at the Heart of a United Vision


The implementation of an active mobility project in the District Central did not come about by chance. In recent years,...

Lire la suite

Cansew, a thread in the neighbourhood’s history


As part of the District Central’s series on “local pearls”, the SDC is shining a light on the design hub...

Lire la suite