City Hall turfing long-time kiosks in Phillips Square as part of redesign

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City Hall turfing long-time kiosks in Phillips Square as part of redesign

Ludmila Zoueva has owned the flower stand in Phillips Square for a year, but now she says the city is telling her to close up shop.

This week, the two kiosks in the square — Zoueva's and one that sells maple products — were told they have until the end of 2018 to clear out of the historic downtown space.

​Montreal will be spending more than $130 million over the next several years revitalizing parts of Ste-Catherine Street West, including Phillips Square. Construction is slated to begin in January.  

The new plans for the square don't include space for the two long-standing kiosks. The flower stand that Zoueva bought has been in the same spot, right across from The Bay, for 30 years.  

"I'm devastated. That's the word," Zoueva said.

"I'm a young entrepreneur and I see my dream crushed. I wanted this business to evolve, to grow. I had a lot of hopes."

Despite the order to leave the square, Zoueva is fighting to be allowed to stay permanently. She's hoping the city's new mayor — who campaigned on a promise to be more sympathetic to businesses affected by construction — will back her cause.

Zoueva has launched a petition that's already garnered 600 signatures, many from loyal customers.

"It's crazy, the amount of love we get. This is why I love this place," she said. "It's not just a flower shop. We are always communicating with people. It's an energy. It's a life. These two shops and markets, they bring life."

The City of Montreal did not respond to CBC's request for comment.