JobsYour future career is here →

Design concept and principles

Société du parc Jean-Drapeau Management Plan

The physical diagnostic and condition of the sites on the Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame islands land resulted in some major findings which reflect the various observations on the current state of Parc Jean-Drapeau and shed some light on the main problems and challenges regarding its future.

The four major observations set out in this chapter served as a base in the thought process which led to the drafting of seven design principles. Along with actions, these principles are linked to our four physical diagnostic themes and serve as guidelines for Parc Jean-Drapeau's 2020-2030 Management, Conservation and Design Plan.

4 major observations

Context and history

Under-promoting the Parc's landscapes: The insular nature of Parc Jean-Drapeau isn't promoted, nor is most of the built legacies which are a part of its heritage.


Fragmentation of the ecosystems: The Parc's islands boast flourishing eco-systems linked to its broad vegetation diversity and the omnipresence of water. But their fragmentation, due to the many roads and infrastructures, prevents the fulfillment of the ecological corridors' vast potential.


An event footprint that is too heavy: The over-emphasis on the event vocation detracts from the actual public park experience and leads to many inconveniences for users. These disruptions are attributed to the lengthy amount of time of setting up and dismantling, the vast storage spaces, the circulation of many vehicles, the permanent fencing and the presence of many vacant spaces.

Mobility and experiences

The presence of too many automobiles: The current mobility offer isn't tailored to the scale of the Parc. It encourages vehicular traffic, to the detriment of active and alternative transportation, which explains the proliferation of parking spots over the two islands. The predominance of the automobile affects the users' experience.

Design principles and actions

The 7 design principles are a set of rules defining a thought and action process about the area which has an influence on anything pertaining to design. These guidelines address the main problems and challenges raised by the physical diagnostic and the condition of the sites.

Principle 01

Position the Parc on a metropolitan and regional scale

Principle 02

Celebrate the Parc's insular nature

Principle 03

Promote the rich patrimonial heritage

Principle 04

Showcase the aquatic landscapes and their ecosystems

Principle 05

Promote the diversity and connectivity of the ecosystems

Principle 06

Ensure the continuity of the Parc's landscape experiences

Principle 07

Emphasize the mobility experiences to discover the Parc

Design concepts

Developing the design principles resulted in achieving three major initiatives intended to address the problems islands-wide and exploit its full potential. Overall, these three actions comprise the design concept.

Celebrating Parc Jean-Drapeau's great insular park through the consolidation of its riverbanks and the core of Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame islands.

Linking the cores of the two islands

As a result of this major design action, the cores of the two islands are linked by the new landscapes. By promoting the islands' core through the design work and conservation, it enabled the exposure of their outstanding attributes and positioning them in the forefront as the Parc's historical, patrimonial and ecological centres.

The creation of an ecological corridor between these focal points of biodiversity, where wildlife and plant-life are especially abundant, is a major initiative which shows the willingness to restore the connectivity of the ecosystems in the Parc. The gesture also completely redefines the correlations between Mont Boullé and the canals' sector.

The riverbank promenade

The riverbank promenade consolidates the shoreline walkways on Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame islands by providing a continuous, 15-kilometres-long circuit. It enables the discovery of the riverbank landscapes and panoramic views of the Saint Lawrence River and beyond.

Passing through the Cosmos walkway and Expo-Express bridge, the enthrall of the promenade accentuates the presence of the Le Moyne channel and multiplies the material and immaterial links to the two islands. Wherever possible, there is sloping to provide direct contact with the water, thereby strengthening the ties between the river and the islands.

The connections between the riverbanks and cores

This major design work is closely tied to the riverbank promenade experience and the Parc's historical and ecological centres. The connections include moving down some of the landscape features, enabling a freeing-up and connecting of the enclosed landscape objects while giving the Parc a unique identity experience.

This series of timely and consistent links over the two islands offers new insights on the forgotten treasures and the river landscapes, while creating new interchanges between formerly isolated sets. The connections also enable an ecological linking of the interior habitats with the riverbanks and river areas.