Curbing the sin in Montreal's red-light district
A plan to scrub the peep and porn from the lower Main threatens the city's identity, some say
From Monday's Globe and Mail
MONTREAL — It has the names of two saints in it, but the intersection of Ste. Catherine Street and St. Laurent Boulevard is about the most unholy spot in the city of Montreal. Hustlers, strippers, runaways, ladies-of-the-night -- they've been parading at the crossroads of Montreal's two most famous streets for more than a century.
The streets form a gateway to Montreal's legendary lower Main, a seedy, neon-lit strip known for activities that range from mainstream to outright illegal.
Now, city officials have the strip earmarked for a makeover. The city has just cleared a legal hurdle to expropriate a building at the intersection that houses a peep show and other "adult" businesses. It wants to demolish the property and replace it with a $20-million cultural centre sheathed in glass and lights, a move the city hopes will take some of the XXX out of Montreal's traditional red-light district and help launch a reborn entertainment district in its place.