Port of Montréal Tower, a visual landmark for visitors like a lighthouse

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The Port of Montréal Tower, designed by Provencher_Roy, is the highlight of the extensive renovation of an aging infrastructure complex, transforming it into a stunning public landscape. The tower stands tall at 65 meters, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and the river. It serves as a visual beacon for those arriving by boat, akin to a lighthouse, and marks the entrance to the Port.

“We tend to forget, as Montréalers, that we live on an island. We had a fantastic opportunity to create a place that celebrates our two natural icons: the majestic Saint-Lawrence River and Mount Royal,” explains Sonia Gagné, Architect, Principal Partner, and Lead Designer.

Port of Montréal Tower

The 65-meter tall tower boasts daring cantilevers, making it a remarkable landmark in Montreal, attracting tourists and locals alike to the Grand Quai. As one of the tallest structures in the area, it serves as a signal for the quay and a new public space for pedestrians and visitors who arrive by cruise ship. The tower’s location creates a visual point of reference that connects the raised esplanade, cruise terminal, and new public space at the tip of the quay, which slopes down to the river, known as the Place des commencements.

“We wanted to make a statement to attract Montréalers to the end of the pier thanks to quality public spaces, beautiful views from the Tower, access to the river, and a space for citizens,” explains Sonia Gagné.

Beyond lending the building its distinctive silhouette, the cantilever also opens up 360-degree views. From the top, visitors can see landmarks in all directions, including Habitat 67, Silo No.5, Basilique Notre-Dame, the Saint Lawrence River, and Mount Royal.

Port of Montréal Tower

The design of Port of Montréal Tower is inspired by the industrial heritage of the site, which was originally home to four large wheat-storing hangars before being transformed into a cruise terminal. The tower’s proportions are taken from the low-slung port buildings but are vertically oriented, resembling a grain elevator. The steel structure and the structural concrete frame and core are visible through the glazed façade, paying tribute to the monumental industrial forms that previously defined the port. The core and frame work together to give the tower’s elevation a unique sense of depth.

“We chose to let the Tower’s structure be visible behind a curtain wall to celebrate the site’s industrial heritage. Adjacent to the pier stands the Tour des Convoyeurs, which was used to unload grain from ships generations ago – it’s a reference to it,” adds Sonia Gagné.

“The strategy was to create an understated landscape that preserves the significance of the site’s exceptional industrial history, while creating an inviting new destination for pedestrians. Simple gestures were carried out on a grand scale to blend in with the industrial context,” explains Josée Labelle, Landscape Architect, Partner and Founding Member of NIPPAYSAGE.

Project Info

Client: Administration portuaire de Montréal (AMP)
Year: 2013-2023
Surface Area: 38 000 sqm
Architect: Provencher_Roy
Structure: NCK
Electromechanical: Pageau Morel
Maritime Infrastructure: WSP Group
Structural Glass: Elema
Lighting: CS Design
Consultant: Arup
Builder: Pomerleau
Photo: James Brittain, Stephane Brügger, Olivier Blouin, Nanne Springer

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