“Talking about Montreal is my passion,” Vincent Gagnon immediately enthuses.

“We have a love for Montreal and its development,” adds Xavier-Alexandre Courcy.

The two thirty-somethings speak in their own name while their three acolytes prefer to use a pseudonym due to the nature of their work. All are seasoned members of Agora Montréal, a discussion space dedicated to the urban development of Greater Montreal.

“We want to see what the future of Montreal looks like,” summarizes Mathieu.

If the quintet communicates practically on a daily basis on the Agora forum, they met for the first time in the flesh at our request. The meeting was set at the Grand Quai of the Port of Montreal, for its splendid view of downtown Montreal.

Agora Montreal was born in October 2020 as an outgrowth of another forum (mtlurb). There are 1350 members, approximately 100 on a daily basis and 500 active users each month. On the forum, each topic is listed according to different categories. Transportation and real estate projects (ODEA, the Mansfield condos, Symphonia VIU) are discussed extensively.

“I love Montreal and the best way to share it is through urban development with other people who care as much,” says Vincent, who works in the health field.

“It feels good,” adds Xavier, who is an accountant. Many people still bash the city while abroad, we hear what a wonderful city Montreal is. »

Xavier lives in the Village, a neighborhood in Montreal that has its share of challenges. “It’s good to be able to talk about what we experience on a daily basis with solutions and nuances without falling just into negativity and cynicism. »

“We are optimists for Montreal. We see what the orange cones will bring next,” says Mathieu, who works in IT.

Beyond transportation and real estate, discussions are underway on the forum about a host of topics: environment, public art, parks, social housing, catering and even the return of Expos. “At the end of the day, we’re talking about society in general,” emphasizes Elliot, a professional in the field of public transportation.

In the days preceding our meeting, the death of Claude Cormier had fueled discussions, as had the pedestrianization of Mount Royal. “It was a very divisive subject, but the discussions were interesting with good arguments for and against,” says Martin, the youngest of the group, who is 19 and studies computer science.

A member of the forum made bus routes and calculated journey times. Another suggested the return of the funicular. And why not autonomous shuttles like on rue Saint-Hubert?

One thing is certain, elected officials consult Agora Montréal. It was also a member of Agora Montréal, Dashiell Friesen, a graphic design student at Concordia, who affixed stickers to facilitate signage between the Bonaventure metro and the REM station at Central Station after the confusion following the implementation service.

During the last biennial exhibition of Montreal of the Future, members of Agora Montreal provided a map which, thanks to 3D models, allows us to imagine the landscape of the Montreal of tomorrow.

A hot topic over the next few years will be densification, Elliot points out. Just from the Grand Quai, 200-meter towers – roughly the height of 1000, De La Gauchetière – Elliot has six under construction, including 900, Saint-Jacques and the new head office of the National Bank. “15 years ago, none were being built. And there are now 30-story towers in Repentigny and Terrebonne,” he adds.

“What will define the coming years are the projects in large sectors,” adds Vincent Gagnon. New neighborhoods will be born with the projects of Bridge-Bonaventure, the former Molson brewery and the Blue Bonnets racetrack.

Another reason to go to the Agora Montréal website? Photos shared by its members, including those of Martin from the perspective of the South Shore from the Seaway breakwater. “My favorite place in the world. » According to him, Montrealers should be able to take greater advantage of their insularity with greater access to water.

Martin praises the richness of the Agora Montréal forum as a “database” with newspaper archives, access to information requests, master’s theses or old metro extension studies. “Hours and hours of research offered for free,” he says.

For his part, Elliot challenges us to find another city in the world as “diverse, vibrant and affordable” as Montreal. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” he concludes.