MONTREAL -- Even as festival season approaches, and Montreal inches towards lowering COVID-19 restrictions, the city is still likely to miss out on the $2 billion generated by American tourists every year.

Instead, the city is looking for more local traction, with a $25 million plan to bring residents back downtown.

Montreal is planning 11 special sites across the city centre offering weekly entertainment. Some terrasses will be expanded, and there will be sidewalk sales.

But opening the city up for increased foot traffic downtown means some roads will be closed to drivers.

Crescent Street will be pedestrian-only between de Maisonneuve and Rene Levesque Boulevard from June until the end of October.

Peel will close to southbound traffic between de Maisonneuve and Saint-Catherine starting Friday until mid-October.

Also starting in June, Saint-Catherine street will be pedestrian-only on weekends between Metcalfe and Guy Street. That is, except for one weekend, where the city hopes to close the street all the way to Atwater for Labour Day weekend if public health agrees.

"What we're hoping for is obviously not back to normal because our borders are still closed and people aren't flying,” said Glenn Castanheira of SDC Montréal centre-ville, “but for Montrealers and all Quebecers to re-appropriate downtown. It's our downtown.”