Founded in 1642, Montréal is the largest metropolis in the Province of Québec, Canada, with a population of about 1.9 million. The city is also the world’s second-largest French-speaking city. In 1991, Montreal became the first North American city to create the position of a design commissioner, dedicated exclusively to the development and promotion of design and to raise awareness among private and public sector stakeholders of the benefits of good design.
Montréal is definitely a “city of designers”: Over 25,000 professionals work in this lively field that is responsible for 34% of the overall economic impact of the cultural sector. Strategies have been developed over the years to highlight Montréal’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design, such as ensuring better recognition for designers, improving access to public commissions for designers, raising awareness of the talents of Montréal designers and architects, and developing their markets. Efforts to broaden the use of design and architecture competitions have resulted in multiple calls to creative practitioners aimed at increasing design quality for buildings and public spaces.
The city also boasts a significant number of venues for the presentation of design, along with well-known organizations that highlight the creations of designers and architects from Montréal and elsewhere. These include the Design Centre of Université du Québec in Montréal, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and the Maison de l’architecture du Québec.
Montréal is home to a host of renowned educational institutions, including some 20 college-level teaching institutions and more than 50 research chairs, including the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal and four others with a design focus.
As a Creative City of Design, Montréal envisages:
- contributing extensively and actively to the coordination and development of the Network through various means, such as the coordination of the CODE Project for the UNESCO Cities of Design; the organization of international colloquiums in partnership with Saint-Étienne or Montréal’s status as Guest City at the 2015 Designmonat in Graz;
- organizing international competitions and giving access to grants, such as the annual contribution of the $10,000 Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant to a young professional Montréal designer for a project in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network; and
- expanding its position as a cultural metropolis, which includes the city’s active membership in United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the World Cities Culture Forum.