CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL is an original concept developed by the Ville de Montréal’s Bureau du design that promotes Montréal creativity to public- and private-sector institutional buyers and general public through a catalogue of gift items evocative of the city, selected following a call for proposals to Montréal designer-producers and publishers.

This initiative promotes Montréal creativity to public- and private-sector institutional buyers and the general public by way of a catalogue of gift items emblematic of the city. The items are selected through a call for proposals from Montréal designers, producers, and distributors.

The catalogue was launched in 2010 and has grown every year since. A downloadable version is also available. The catalogue is intended for:

  • Institutional buyers, who are invited to work with designers directly, either to customize existing objects with their logo, create branded packaging, or develop a product that uniquely  represents them.
  • Convention or event organizers wishing to offer attendees a selection of gift items by Montréal designers. Pop-up stores staffed by catalogue designers give visitors an opportunity to discover the city’s breadth of design talent and take home original souvenirs from Montréal.
  • Merchants interested in offering distinctive products for sale, who can acquire a licence agreement for the CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL trademark, which showcases products by local designers. By joining the CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL network, merchants also benefit from Bureau du design brand-promotion initiatives and appear on the Design Montréal Map showing all shops and points of sale where CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL gift items can be purchased.

The catalogue thus makes it easier for buyers to procure products emblematic of Montréal, UNESCO City of Design to give as corporate gifts, promotional items, and souvenirs.

“CODE” is an acronym for City Of Design and represents a city’s unique nature. Copyright of Raban Ruddigkeit of the Berlin agency ®Ruddigkeit Corporate Ideas. 


Profile of CODE items

The items evoke a memory of Montréal and personify the city in visitors’ minds. They leave a representative and recognizable imprint of the city and its identity through a shape, graphic design, material, technique, or usage. Items are fun, original, of a quality worthy of a UNESCO city of design, and tell a story, either of the object itself or of its creator.

The items must be:

  • easy to carry (by hand or in a suitcase);
  • lightweight and fairly small;
  • indicative of Montréal’s design expertise or emblematic of the city (its energy, cultural identity, or geographical/architectural/heritage attributes);
  • customizable with institutional or corporate logos;
  • identified with at least the name of the designer, producer, or creator and with the signature “Montréal Ville UNESCO de design” (Montréal, UNESCO City of Design);
  • universal;
  • functional;
  • well made (manufacturing and finishing);
  • sustainable, environmentally responsible, and, whenever possible, locally made.

Items are selected by a committee of experts, following a call for proposals.

Profile of eligible designers/producers

The call for proposals is open to any designer, producer, or distributor who meets the following conditions:

  • Is already in the gift items market and has, at the time the proposal is submitted:
    • a production and distribution network for an existing item(s) or a newly designed item being submitted, and
    • a website or other distribution platform that presents the product(s) and leads to an e-commerce site or point of sale
  • Is the creator of the gift item(s) being submitted
  • Agrees that submitted gift item(s) may appear in a publication and can be ordered by buyers
  • Agrees to the commitments required by the City as stated in the Call for Proposals document
  • Operates primarily from a head office located in Montréal at the time the proposal is submitted

Designers and producers who wish to be informed about the next call for proposals should subscribe to the Bureau du design newsletter.

Profile of donors and receivers

Institutions such as the Palais des congrès de Montréal, Montréal International, Tourisme Montréal, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal, the city’s own administration, and Montréal-based universities and cultural institutions distribute souvenir items year-round. Recipients are a varied group: they include citizens, elected officials, dignitaries, convention attendees, international organizations, business executives, investors, and donors.