Look down, Montreal unveils new manhole cover design

The City of Montreal unveiled its new design for manhole covers that mirror the new coat of arms design, which includes representation of French, English, Irish, Scottish and Indigenous people. SOURCE: Ville de Montreal

Look down Montrealers, and you may see a new design on top of sewers as the City of Montreal unveiled a new design for its manhole covers on Sunday.

"The manhole cover revitalization is a great opportunity to showcase Montreal's artistry and history in places where you wouldn't expect it," said executive committee vice president Sylvain Ouellet in a news release. "From now on, Montreal will distinguish itself with an original visual and will transform a utilitarian and common object into a Montreal signature."

Ouellet added that Montreal is following Boston, Cologne, Toronto and other cities that have transformed manhole covers to canvases.

Artist Luc Melanson developed the concept that, like the city's coat of arms features the French fleur-de-lis, English rose, Irish shamrock, Scottish thistle and white pine in the centre of the design to represent the Indigenous communities in the region.

"From a utilitarian and safe vocation, Montreal's manhole covers are now becoming true works of art that are part of urban exploration, a practice in vogue around the world," said Tourism Montreal vice president Manuela Goya.

The new manhole covers can be spotted on Peel St., Wellington St. and in the new streets at the Universite de Montreal MIL campus in Outremont.

They will gradually replace current covers across the metropolis over the next few years, the city says. 

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