One of Montreal's largest and most popular parks is getting an overhaul.

Construction will soon start on changes to Jeanne-Mance Park. After the controversy over demolishing the softball diamond at the north field, the city plans to build a new splash pad, fix the wading pool, and add a permanent dog run.

"There's going to be – at last, after many years of waiting – a fenced dog run of a decent size," said city councillor Alex Norris.

The south softball field currently serves as a makeshift dog park in winter, but pet owners say it's not ideal.

 "There's no door, so any dog can run out if there's a squirrel. We don't have enough trash cans also," said dog owner Valerie Cusson. "After this baseball field turns into a summer baseball field, what do we do?"

One of the most significant changes is closing a portion of Duluth Avenue between Park and Esplanade Avenues.

"The first step will be the pedestrianization of Duluth," said Coun. Norris. "That will be this year."

Doing that will connect the two portions of the park, he said.

In addition to the softball diamond and wading pool, the park also boasts volleyball and tennis courts, a football field and a playground.

"We saw during the pandemic the pressure on our parks. Most people in this area don't have backyards. They rely on parks for green space," said Norris.

The changes will start this year, but completing the work could take up to a decade.

"This is a heritage site – this is a provincially designated heritage site – and we have to respect the views of the mountain and the views from the mountain," said Norris.