35 years of history

As seen in the February 28th edition of LaPresse+ (French only) iPad or Web version


Since 1983, the Palais des congrès de Montréal has been actively contributing to the city’s international reputation by hosting conventions, exhibitions and other events. These big gatherings have had a major impact on the history and development of Québec, generating billions of dollars for the economy, not to mention an incalculable amount of intellectual wealth. The topics discussed here have been many, from global issues to technological breakthroughs, and celebrations of excellence have abounded as well.

1975

A major study is released touting Montréal’s tourism potential, prompting the idea of building a convention centre.

1977

Construction of the Palais des congrès begins.

1983

The Palais des congrès is inaugurated, welcomes its first events.

1985

The Ambassadors Club is established and the Palais opens an office in Paris – both initiatives are intended to fast-track the development of the convention market.

1991

Another office is set up in Washington to capitalize on the potential of hosting conferences by U.S. organizers.

1998

The Palais des congrès is converted into a shelter for victims of the ice storm.

1999

The Québec government invests $290 M toward expanding the Palais des congrès to twice its size.

2002

In December, the Palais unveils its new contemporary, friendly and unmistakeably global minded venue.

2011

The Ambassadors Club and Aéro Montréal join forces to create a taskforce focused on attracting major aerospace events; also, the Palais begins the process of greening its rooftops.

2012

The Palais goes state-of-the-art and becomes an event technology leader.

2014

The Palais hosts a record of number of conventions, with 48 major events.

2015

The Palais generates record tourism revenues: $242 M.

2016

The Palais Urban Agriculture Lab is inaugurated.

Key events

1983

The VIII International Congress of Plastic Surgery is the first international event held at the Palais. The city would go on to become a bustling hub of life science activity and events!

1984

The Journées dentaires internationales du Québec conference is held at the Palais for the first time, triggering an annual tradition set to last until at least 2023.

1989

Hosting the 5th International AIDS Conference elevates Montréal onto the world stage.

1993

The Dalai Lama visits, gives a beginners workshop on Buddhist techniques.

1994

World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics (13,000 convention-goers). The Palais’ role as a global life sciences hub keeps growing.

1996

The first of many Canadian Cardiovascular Congresses (until 2025) is held at the Palais.

1999
2000

The Palais continues to host major events in the midst of all the expansion work, whose noise level is successfully kept to a minimum.

  • Global Conference on Ageing – 1,500 delegates
  • American Helicopter Society – 3,000 delegates
  • 12th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists – 6,000 delegates
  • 17th World Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition – 2,000 delegates
2002

First Montreal International Auto Show at the Palais.

2003

14th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf (3,500 delegates); Palais employees learn basic sign language for the occasion.

2005

The Palais welcomes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP11), a centrepiece event in the history Palais.

2008

Once again, the Palais team adapts to welcome 1,800 delegates with special needs for the 9th International Conference on Low Vision.

2009

20th World Diabetes Congress, an international conference of major importance for the medical community.

2010

The Palais is awarded a major congress for 2031, i.e. 21 years ahead of time, marking the longest interval from winning to hosting an event in the convention centre’s history!

2012

The Palais hosts several conferences deemed marquee events in their respective fields:

  • IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium – 9,000 delegates
  • International Polar Year Conference – 2,900 delegates
  • World Cancer Congress – 1,835 delegates
  • World Congress on Information Technology – 1,624 delegates
2015

First exchange forum jointly organized with the Fonds de recherche du Québec as part of a partnership agreement.

2017

Two keynote speeches draw huge crowds! Barack Obama delivers an address in June before 8,000 people, while 11,700 people gather to hear the Aga Khan in November.

2018

Michelle Obama delivers a speech in front the biggest crowd ever assembled in one room at the Palais.

SOME NOTEWORTHY FIGURES - 1983 to 2017
7,600 events
19,850,000 participants
6,200,000,000$ in economic benefits for Montréal and Québec
5,250,000 hotel room nights

Plus significant intellectual wealth for the Québec of today and tomorrow.