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Montréal Casino, former France Pavilion and the Québec Pavilion, Canada by Jean Faugeron

Written by:
Brian Wolf
Casino de Montréal

Located on Notre Dame Island in Jean-Drapeau Park, the Casino de Montréal is not only one of the most spectacular casinos in Canada but also among the best Canadian casinos in the online gambling industry. It’s owned and operated by a subsidiary of Loto-Québec, Société des casinos du Québec, with all profits going to the provincial government. The LeafletCasino team, experts in the field of offline and online casino industry research, has collected some valuable information for you to explore the unique architecture of the venue and the excitement of gambling in Canada by visiting this incredible establishment.

France Pavilion and Quebec Pavilion for Expo 67

The first World Exposition in 1851 was held at London's Crystal Palace. Montréal hosted the World Fair in 1967, which attracted global attention. Expo 67 celebrated Canada's 100th anniversary and welcomed 50 million visitors to 90 pavilions. It opened on April 28th. The theme was “Man and his World,” which originated with Antoine de Saint Exupery’s book, “Terre de Hommes.” Today, the author is a familiar name thanks to the novella, “The Little Prince.”

Many countries participated and showcased their products. Each of the 62 nations had its own pavilion. It's no surprise that many encouraged their architects and designers. In 1964, France invited architects Jean Faugeron and Andre Blouin. They designed one of the grandest expo buildings. The France Pavilion was massive, with 8 stories, made of concrete and steel, and had tall aluminum fins.

In contrast, the Québec Pavilion took a more minimalist approach. Its Avante-Garde design was the work of the Swiss designer Gustave Maeder. The building, with its straight lines and glass walls, wholly surrounded by water and with a footbridge for access, was almost the polar opposite of what Canadians of the time were used to. It represented a sharp contrast to the more conservative and traditional-looking structures that were commonplace in the province back then.


Though the Expo proved a considerable success, the whole exposition site fell into disrepair once over. Between 1985 and 1987, the majority of pavilions were demolished, with the only remaining structures being the skeleton of the Buckminster Fuller Dome, which is today's Montréal Biosphere, the Habitat 67 housing, and the interconnected France and Québec pavilions, which presently form the Montreal casino. Apart from the building in 1993, another major redesign of the former Quebec and French pavilion took place in 2013.

Rebuilding for Casino Needs in 1993

Between 1992 and 1993, the French pavilion, which housed the Palais de la Civilization, underwent renovation and restoration. This was to convert it into the province's inaugural casino. Materials and structural changes had become necessary with the original structure dating from 1967. During the 10-month-long rebuilding phase, asbestos was removed and substituted with safer materials. New high-speed elevators and escalators and new electromechanical and management systems were installed. These were now compatible with the updated building.

Another Redesign in 2013

In 2013, architects Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes and interior designers Provencher_Roy were commissioned by Loto-Québec to improve exterior and interior circulation and the quality of the recreational and dining areas. Additionally, the project needed to respect the original character and materials of the former French pavilion.

The numerous entrances to the pavilion were streamlined into one focussing on the reception. At the same time, a complete interior redesign of all common areas took place. These included restaurants, gambling areas, and the VIP section. Both pedestrian and automobile traffic were directed to new access points.

A playing card color identifies today's gambling floors. Furthermore, every recreational zone entrance has a colossal hanging mannequin, portraying different card figures and greeting guests as they enter. Gambling floor spaces are separated from recreational areas by laser-chiseled chrome pipes. The administrative offices were relocated outside the building to unify the gambling floor. Moment Factory built and programmed a massive media display. It spans five floors and allows for a permanent multimedia showcase.


The latest project won a number of architectural awards, including:

2014: Projet de l'année - Architecture, Grands Prix du Design.

2014: Prix d'architecture, Catégorie Hôtel - Aire commune - Espace récréatif et exposition, Grands Prix du Design.

2014: Mention honorable - Architecture, Asia Pacific Design Awards Centre (APDC).

2014: Prix Design - Catégorie Institutionnel, Canadian Interiors' Awards - Best of Canada.

2013: Prix Espace public - Architecture, Grands Prix du Design.

2013: Prix Surface - Architecture, Grands Prix du Design.

2013: Prix Espace commercial récréatif - Espace public, Grands Prix du Design.

Casino de Montréal Today

Situated on the aptly named Avenue du Casino, the massive structure is Canada’s most prominent gambling establishment with more than 500,00 square feet of gaming floor space. It hosts more than 3,200 electronic games and approximately 115 table games at any time of the day or night. The gaming floor is split into three parts, including “The Zone,” an interactive gaming area. Players are expected to wear smart/casual despite no specific dress code. The minimum age for entry is 18.

As with online casinos, slot machines are the most popular games, with over 3,000 machines. These cover all types of genres, styles and colors. Not only are they as affordable as those at online casinos, costing just C$0.20/C$1/C$2 per bet, but a selection covers classic 3-reel fruit machines to modern 3D touchscreen games. In addition, there are 5 progressive jackpot slots. Among them, the Powerbuck slot offers prizes of C$1M.

The Zone gaming floor is an interactive gaming experience. Here a player can discover a selection of games played on an electronic table. These can be found on the ground floor of the Pavillon du Québec. It’s open daily between 1 pm and 2 am on Sunday and an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays. The casino's electronic gaming tables feature 8 casino games, including Blackjack, American Roulette, Baccarat, Craps, English Roulette, Video Poker, and Sic Bo. To add to the excitement, a lively host reads the scores in real-time on a giant TV. Plenty of table games are also available. These consist of Mississippi Stud, 3-Card, and Ultimate Texas Hold'em. In Québec, the language of the table games is French. English-only speakers must know that Kings are “R” for Roi, Queens are “D” for Dame, and Valet is Jack.

Hungry players have plenty of top-notch dining options. Whether choosing burgers and chips at L’Instant or Le Montreal's tasty seafood and grill, there’s something delicious for everyone. Of course, there’s a generous buffet, Pavillon 67, which offers a massive selection of dishes from around the globe. Bars comprise the friendly Bar Le Roi de Pique and La Dame de Cour. For a different vibe, Bar Valet is in the center of a large dance floor, surrounded by a multimedia wall and a stage for live concerts. However, for live shows, the pièce de résistance is the Cabaret du Casino. This multi-function room hosts exceptional events. It was the first hall in the province equipped with 3D surround sound for an impressive atmosphere.


When was the Montreal Casino built?

The buildings of the France Pavilion and the Québec Pavilion were built to hold the World Fair in 1967. In 1993 the former was rebuilt to transform into a casino venue.

How many floors does the Montreal Casino have?

The Montreal Casino (also known as the Casino de Montréal) main building vaunts six floors, and the secondary construction has four floors. 

Does the Montreal Casino have a dress code?

The Montreal Casino doesn’t have a strict dress code. That means formal attire is acceptable. While visitors are not allowed to wear shorts and jeans, they can have an office look with jackets, blouses, shirts, pencil skirts, and pants. At the same time, many visitors confirm they saw others in casual outfits in summer. 

Does the Montreal Casino have a hotel?

The Montreal Casino doesn't possess a hotel. However, you may find lots of them in Montreal's downtown if you take a free shuttle from the casino area. 

By Liliana Alvarez

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