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Iconic restaurant atop Montreal's Eaton Centre set to open later this year

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The restaurant at the top of the Eaton's Centre, a jewel of Montreal's architectural heritage, is making a comeback.

After more than 20 years of being closed, the heritage landmark in the heart of downtown, is set to reopen.

"I just didn't think I'd see the day it would be open. I can't stop smiling," said Sandra Cohen-Rose, president of Art-Deco Montreal

The Eaton Centre's ninth floor, which was open to the public between 1931 and 1999 was described by many as a beacon of luxury for its time.

"It was a place that French women and English women got together, and if you wanted to meet someone for tea, you would say, well, let's meet there!" Cohen-Rose said.

"Or if you had a visitor from out of town, you always said well, let's go to Eaton's 9th floor, it's so spectacular!"

The project is being taken on by the building's owner Ivanhoé Cambridge and EVOQ Architecture. The main priority is making sure the site meets today's standards while preserving its heritage.

"That means a lot of transformations that have to be discreet or done in a way that feels coherent so that people walking into the new neuvième feel like they're back in the neuvièmebut at the same time they might discover new elements in there that somehow make sense in the space and that don't steal the show," said Georges Drolet, an architect at EVOQ.

They'll re-imagine the use of the space to accommodate more than 500 people.

"We want to make sure that we will have profitability with the space because we want it to be around a long time," said Annik Desmarteau, vice-president of Ivanhoé Cambridge.

"So if we just open it without looking at profitability, we won't be able the space open for a long time."

Heritage Montreal has been collaborating with Ivanhoé Cambridge on how to protect the value of the site for years.

"When you deal with memories, sometimes you deal with the past, but when you're dealing with heritage, we're interested in the way it's going to be there 25 years from now in the future," said Dinu Bumbaru, a Heritage Montreal spokesperson.

Bumbaru is confident that the project will reflect the site's history and is also reassured that the ministry of culture is supervising it.

The revamped ninth floor will include a restaurant, a venue for shows, and private events. It's expected to be open by the end of this year.

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