Introduction

Since 1992, there have been many attempts at salvaging the Empress Theatre / Cinema V – some  more successful than others. A few of these efforts have managed to restore parts of the building, however, a colossal task remains today. The Friends of the Empress are a group of concerned citizens (not affiliated with Cinema NDG or the Empress Cultural Centre) who believe that the current state of inaction of the file will make it all the more challenging to restore or even salvage the building before it’s too late.

The Friends of the Empress believe that Montreal belongs to Montrealers and that the quality of life of its neighbourhoods depends on the mobilizing force of its residents. Ongoing inaction will only ensure that developers from the exterior looking in will impose their vision and their values on our Empress heritage. Instead, by exchanging and talking amongst ourselves, we can find a community consensus around the best ideas that will offer a cultural public space, open to all.

To put it simply, we’ve run out of time. Pictures taken only a few years ago and now of the Empress Theatre show the severe deterioration of the building. As well, from the outside, the façade of the building itself shows signs of erosion and many of the sculptural details are fading. Following the microburst on August 22nd, 2017, the Western most top window of the front of the building exploded and landed squarely onto the sidewalk. Neither the shattered window nor the hole in the building have been fixed.

The Friends of the Empress are mobilizing in order to raise support for:

  • A public consultation process to engage all residents;
  • A survey on the future of the Empress;
  • A PORCH EMPRESS TRANSITION PROJECT in collaboration with La Pépinière which will provide residents a look inside the building in a safe environment and reenergize any future Empress project.

 

Public Consultation

The NDG community needs a project which will be transparent and will involve residents in its elaboration without being paralyzed in bureaucratic red tape. The Friends of the Empress are looking to raise funds in order to conduct a series of public consultations starting in early 2018.

Survey

In order to get an immediate sense for where residents stand on the issue of the Empress and its future, we ask that you fill out our in depth survey here.

Join the Friends of the Empress

Join The Friends of the Empress and be part of a citizen movement that will change the face of NDG and ensure that this project sees the light of day.

News

The Empress Theatre Returns to the Main Stage

Montreal, October 4th, 2017

Since 1992 at least four attempts have been made to save the Empress Theatre from a slow and constant decay. The theatre, inaugurated in 1927, has seen its fair share of history, tragedy and it once shaped the cultural lives of NDG. With no road map for its revival and no clear indications from the Côtes-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, The Friends of the Empress, a group of concerned citizens, pose the critical question: is it time to truly engage or disengage from creating an innovative cultural project? 

Since the microburst of August 22nd blew out a window onto the sidewalk, there has been a gaping hole on the front façade of the building. Rain water and, soon, snow will continue the relentless destruction of this architectural gem, a building whose Egyptian-style art deco is one of the only remnants of its kinds in North America. 

The Friends of the Empress are here today not because we have answers but rather because we are seeking answers and those answers should come from the community. We are asking the population what should happen to this building and are the residents of NDG genuinely committed to supporting a new project.

As a group of concerned citizens, we are encouraging others to join us. We are offering the community three things: an online survey in which we wish to understand if residents and Montrealers genuinely wish to see an Empress revival, a series of public consultations set to be launched in 2018, and a transitionary Empress Porch project that would be piloted by ephemeral placemaking experts La Pépinière. 

Perhaps a porch is what this community needs as it likes to discuss things with its neighbours in a physical space and to evaluate the good and the bad before going ahead with a decision. Some of our best times we have had in this neighbourhood are gathering on porches. The Empress Porch project will offer a chance for residents to get a glimpse inside the building in a safe and secure way. 

For The Friends of the Empress, it does not matter that the last movie shown here was 25 years ago and it does not matter whether this building becomes a beacon for arts and culture, a modern entrepreneurial hub or an organic microbrewery, what matters is that we get it right, not for us, but for future generations. 

Please visit empress.planeteb.org for more details. 

The Friends of the Empress are mobilizing in order to raise support for:


– A survey on the future of the Empress;
– A public consultation process to engage all residents;
– A PORCH EMPRESS TRANSITION PROJECT in collaboration with La Pépinière which will provide residents a look inside the building in a safe environment and reenergize any future Empress project.

Find out more online through our website: empress.planeteb.org or contact Luca Palladino at 514-815-9256, luca@planeteb.org