MONTREAL -- Montreal is lifting parking fees in the downtown Ville-Marie borough in an effort to encourage people to do their holiday shopping in the city centre.

"We hope that many Montrealers will come and support our downtown merchants for their holiday shopping," said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante. "Our merchants give the city its special colours and flavours. After another year marked by the pandemic, they need our support more than ever."

It's good news for merchants, who have struggled since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"The downtown area was hit hard by the pandemic and this measure is in addition to a series of initiatives aimed at promoting economic recovery," said Glenn Castanheira, general manager of SDC Montréal centre-ville.

Some upcoming attractions downtown include the Great Christmas Market at the Quartier des spectacles and Montréal en fêtes.

Parking will be free from Dec. 3 to Jan. 2 on weeknights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., as well as on weekends.