Urban planner wants "masterpiece" art deco restaurant to reopen
MONTREAL - Twenty years after it closed, there is a push to re-open the L’Ile-de-France restaurant on the 9th floor of the former Eaton’s store.
A petition started by urban planner Gerald McNichols Tetreault is asking the building’s owner, Ivanhoe Cambridge, to bring the space back to life. “Like so many Montrealers of my generation I knew the 9th floor from when I was a kid... I came with my mother and my aunts,” he said.
Opened in 1931, the restaurant was a shining example of Art Deco architecture. It was modeled after the dining hall on luxury ocean liners. Architect Jacques Carlu went on to design the Palais de Chaillot in Paris in 1937 and the NATO headquarters in 1957.
Cambridge told CTV News it would require a $15 million investment to bring the space up to code. If a restaurant would be viable it would require a “strong and sustainable business plan.”
The former restaurant is a protected heritage space so all the original furniture, decoration and cutlery cannot be removed or destroyed. Heritage Montreal says the current re-development of Sainte-Catherine street could help the petition’s cause. “This whole area is under re-development, there’s huge amounts of money invested here. The REM will have a station so there will be a big draw in this area,” said policy director Dinu Bumbaru.
“The 9th floor is not just a piece in a history book of architecture of Canada but it’s something that we’d like to be alive,” he said.