It's an embarrassing symbol of a $300-million fiasco masterminded by the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) that nearly drove the school into bankruptcy.
The nine steps of the escalator are located inside a bus terminal that UQAM had planned to turn into a campus space, student residence and mall.
The plan fell apart in 2007 amid massive cost overruns and a budget shortfall.
Quebec bought the building and finished the ground floor while leaving eight upper levels unfinished.
The escalator immediately turned heads when the terminal opened two weeks ago.
Nine immobile steps are visible, leading into the wall. The escalator continues on the other side of the wall, completely inaccessible to the public.
The province's lands corporation, which manages the building, says the escalator was walled over for "safety reasons."
Spokesman Martin Roy tells QMI Agency that initial plans called for the escalator to lead to shops on a second-floor mezzanine, but the plan was abandoned. The agency decided to build the wall to block off access to the potentially dangerous structure.
"We did not want people access to a place that is not finished and will not be finished in the short term," said Roy.
Taxpayers might eventually be off the hook. The building is for sale again and future owners will decide what to do about the stairway to nowhere.