Montreal takes a major step towards its first-ever inter-borough library

15 May 2024


Go back to NewsMontreal takes a major step towards its first-ever inter-borough libraryAffleck de la Riva architectes/Coarchitecture

Continuing the modernization of the Bibliothèques de Montréal network and the deployment of the Maisons de la culture network, the Ville de Montréal is proud to award a $34,185,000 contract to Magil Construction Est du Canada inc. for the construction of the Cœur-Nomade library and cultural space. This will be the very first inter-borough library in Montreal, serving the boroughs of Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Montreal-North.

The project involves building and fitting out a new 4,193 m2 facility, which will combine the functions of a library, cultural space and socio-community space for cultural mediation, learning, creation and amateur and professional artistic practice. Through its programming, the new facility will actively encourage and support intercultural dialogue and intergenerational exchange. It will play a special role in improving the quality of life in the area, becoming its cultural and community hub. It will also have to meet the specific needs of a diverse clientele representing the most vulnerable populations, notably by facilitating social and digital inclusion.

The future building will be erected on a vacant lot at the corner of Henri-Bourassa Boulevard East and Oscar Avenue, at the confluence of the Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Montréal-Nord boroughs. This location, on the city's most important east-west artery, is also close to schools, day-care services, seniors' residences, public parks and bicycle and pedestrian networks.


Cœur-Nomade is a reference to an expression from Dany Laferrière's novel Vers d'autres rives. At once inspiring, poetic, evocative and unifying, it also refers to the title of the exhibition organized in the Quartier des spectacles by the City of Montreal to mark the 35th anniversary of Mr. Laferrière's career.

The name evokes a place that is the beating heart of the two neighborhoods served by the new installation, a place that breathes vitality and movement into it, as well as an inclusive place of passage where people from diverse cultures and backgrounds converge.

This name was chosen on the recommendation of a joint toponymy committee formed by the two boroughs, following a call for proposals from the population of both sectors. Lastly, it makes a link with Café de DA, a social space in the Ahuntsic library, named after Mr. Laferrière's grandmother, who lives in the borough.

Architectural concept

Affleck de la Riva architectes/Coarchitecture in collaboration with ARUP, Martin Roy et associés, François Courville Paysage and Espace Mushagalusa are the architects selected. Their project, entitled L'arbre qui marche (The Walking Tree), is in keeping with the Coeur-Nomade's philosophy of a dynamic, inspiring and welcoming place.


“The Coeur-Nomade library and cultural space is an important project for making culture accessible to all. It's a new cultural offering in the neighborhood, and I can't wait for the population to be able to benefit from it. This is exactly the kind of initiative we want to see under the cultural development agreement with the Ville de Montréal,” said Mathieu Lacombe, Minister of Culture and Communications, Minister responsible for Youth and Minister responsible for the Outaouais region.

“The Cœur-Nomade library and cultural space represents a significant and concrete improvement in the services offered to the Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Montréal-Nord communities. As the first inter-borough library, this joint project testifies to our administration's commitment to broadening access to culture and local services throughout Montreal. We're proud of this important step, which will provide an ideal place to strengthen community ties, foster a sense of belonging and offer free access to a wide range of services,” says Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal.

“The awarding of this contract is a further step towards the realization of a major project for our two boroughs. Located close to the communities it will serve, the Coeur-Nomade library and cultural space will play a key role. It will act as a driving force for integration and social cohesion. It will also act as a lever for tackling the social and cultural inequalities experienced in the north of Montreal. The Cœur-Nomade library and cultural space will be a success from every point of view,” enthused Émilie Thuillier, Mayor of the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville.

“This project is the fruit of a major design and co-construction effort by our central services administrative teams, under the impetus of those of our boroughs of Montréal-Nord and Ahuntsic-Cartierville. Every day, the citizens of Montréal-Nord demonstrate the importance they attach to culture, as the average per capita rate of use of our local libraries ranks our borough 5th in the metropolis. The Cœur-Nomade library and cultural space is a project eagerly awaited by the population. It will strengthen our service offering and promote access to culture for our population, while showcasing the work of a great Montreal author, Mr. Dany Laferrière, member of the Académie française", noted Christine Black, Mayor of the borough of Montréal-Nord.

The Coeur-Nomade library and cultural space project is funded under the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal between the Ville de Montréal and the Government of Quebec, and through the Programme de rénovation, agrandissement et construction (RAC) des bibliothèques and the Programme de soutien aux équipements culturels municipaux. A public information session for local residents, organized by the two boroughs, will be held on Thursday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m., in the multi-purpose room of Marie-Clarac high school (3641, boulevard Gouin Est).