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5 November 2017

2017 municipal elections: Montreal elecs a new mayor

Heritage Montreal extends its warmest congratulations to Valérie Plante who, on November 5, 2017, became the first woman to be elected mayor of Montreal.

Heritage Montreal also wishes to salute ALL the candidates who ran and to congratulate those who were elected.

We look forward to working actively during this new mandate with the new mayor and the members of her team so that we can move forward on important files that were already under discussion with the members of the outgoing administration. In particular, last August, the municipal council adopted a brand new heritage action plan that we hope will be implemented in the near future. Heritage Montreal would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of strengthening consultative bodies in order to encourage a culture of “working together,” Montreal style. During Ms Plante’s mandate, many key issues will be on the agenda, including updating the urban plan and implementing Bill 122.   As we noted in our open letter published in Le Devoir, the challenges are great and it is crucial to bring together all of Montreal’s players in order to meet them with creativity and intelligence!

Lastly, we salute all those who were elected in the greater metropolitan area. They too must tackle heritage, landscape and territorial issues. Indeed, we recently had the opportunity to work on different files with the city representatives of Laval and Longueil and hope to pursue this collaboration with the elected officials and representatives of the cities of the greater Montreal metropolitan area.

1 November 2017

The Parc Frédéric-Back

With its 1200 green spaces, 18 large parks and 2000 planted hectares, Montreal stands out for its network of trees and green spaces. The Frédéric-Back Park, designed as one of the legacies of Montreal’s 375th anniversary and integrated into the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex (Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough), two sections of which were inaugurated on August 26, 2017, is one of the last components being developed as part of this natural and landscape heritage. Indeed, now one of the metropolis’s four major parks, alongside Mount Royal, Jean-Drapeau and the 3rd Summit, this new 153-hectare green space is already considered one of the most ambitious environmental rehabilitation projects ever undertaken by the City of Montreal, in addition to being unique and innovative in a number of ways.

Like many parks in Montreal, it is located on the site of an old limestone quarry, the Miron quarry. Opened in 1925, for many decades it was the work site for the immigrant population—largely Italian—living in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood. Starting in 1968, the craters resulting from the limestone extraction were used as garbage landfill. Over the years, the relief of the site was transformed, with its mountains of waste and open pits. Far from attractive, the quarry-turned-dump became a source of opposition from the residents of the area, starting in the 1970s, due to the noise and odour.  This led to discussions in the 1980s on how to rehabilitate the site, and Montreal acquired it in 1984. During a public consultation organized in 1989, the idea to create a park emerged, with reconversion and development of the site.

While the idea of a park started to take root, the unveiling of a master development plan of the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex in 1997 threw up a number of challenges. In particular, how to go about completely containing the waste that had accumulated to a depth of almost 70 metres in some places, over a total area of 72 hectares, and managing its decomposition? A sustainable development approach was adopted, with the implementation of an underground system to collect the biogas produced from the decomposition of the waste, composed of 300 wells linked by 21 km of pipes connected to an electricity generating station.

Beyond the green space, the Frédéric-Back Park is set to become a pivot in the cultural, social and environment development of the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough, as well a site of innovation in technological research, and an exercise in metamorphosing a site that was unloved for so long. Its evolution will continue over the next few years, with a slated completion date of 2023. In the meantime, you can go discover for yourself the vestiges of limestone that tell the story of the site by following the series of biogas collection wells that light the way as night falls and seem to keep an eye, like fireflies, on a landscape that links the past with the future. Or, you can share you vision of the ideal park on this site.

23 October 2017

Olympic Park: A Heritage Site?

On September 29, 2017, Docomomo Québec released the results of its heritage study on Montreal’s Olympic Park installations, commissioned by the Régie des installations olympiques (RIO) and led by France Vanlaethem, professor emeritus at UQAM’s École de design and founding president of Docomomo Québec.

The fruit of a research initiative that began in spring 2015, on the heels of a report by the Comité-conseil sur l’avenir du Parc Olympique, the study sheds light on four aspects of the Olympic Park’s heritage value:

  • Historical value related to the historical importance of the events that were held on the site, in particular the 1976 Olympic Summer Games of the XXIst Olympiad;
  • Architectural value based on the unique character of the Park’s installations, with its exceptional and innovative concept from a technical perspective, and on the renown of its designer, architect Roger Taillibert;
  • Urban value created by the unique recreational quadrangle of the Park in Montreal’s east end and its role in rebalancing the city’s development in this district;
  • Emblematic value characterized by the Stadium and its tower as a visual and symbolic landmark today.

This publication, which provides a wealth of knowledge and recognizes the heritage value of the Olympic Park, restates the recommendations that came out of the public meeting on Olympic heritage sites and their modern uses (“Le patrimoine olympique et ses fonctionnalités contemporaines”). The meeting, held on November 6, 2016, and organized in partnership with the RIO, addressed the need to designate the Olympic Park a heritage site, under Quebec’s Cultural Heritage Act, and to create a management plan to ensure that all of the site’s heritage features are taken into account.

You can consult the heritage study  here.

21 September 2017

The Van Horne-Rosemont Overpass: Opening up new perspectives

Long seen as a suspended barrier between the Mile-End and Petite-Patrie neighbourhoods, the Van Horne-Rosemont overpass is about to be transformed into a lively pedestrian promenade as part of Viaduc 375, an event that will be held from October 3 to 8. In support of this revitalization initiative by local organizations Amis du Champ des possibles, Mile End Memories and the Société de développement environnemental de Rosemont (SODER), Heritage Montreal participated in a roundtable on September 10, 2017, to discuss the future of what is already being referred to as Montreal’s High Line.

In 1972, the overpass was built over the Canadian Pacific railway to link the Plateau-Mont-Royal and Rosemont-Petite-Patrie boroughs, and served as a footbridge between Rosemont Boulevard and Van Horne Street. Integrated into the existing urban fabric and rooted in the sector’s industrial and railway history, the overpass is still bordered by the former Saint-Louis rail yard (today’s Field of Possibilities), the Capitol industrial building, home to both the casting industry and artists’ studios, and the former Van Horne warehouse. All emblematic sites deserving of more than a quick glance from drivers as they race along the overpass.

Alongside Éric Bourrely, executive director of SODER, André Lavallée, former mayor of Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, and Nicole Valois, professor at the École d’urbanisme et d’architecture du paysage of Université de Montréal and vice-president of the Conseil du patrimoine de Montréal, our policy director, Dinu Bumbaru, took the floor to promote the revitalization potential of the overpass. Highlighting its heritage features, he pointed out a series of views of the church steeples visible from the overpass-lookout. Considering the 15 steeples that can be viewed from the height of this road structure, why not call it the “steeple promenade,” as a nod to the omnipresence of Montreal’s built religious heritage? The unhindered views the overpass provides of the Van Horne warehouse, a remarkable building in the way it is integrated into the irregular urban fabric of this sector, Mount Royal in all its splendour, and the street life of neighbourhoods down below are all further elements that add to the landscape value of the overpass, as underscored by Nicole Valois. Its artistic value, incarnated in the murals and graffiti, and the architectural value of this major technical structure, add to the distinctiveness of this stretch of road. But above all, it is the sense of ownership by citizens and the valuable ways in which they put it to use—as a promenade, music festival venue, and so on—that make the overpass an atypical and inspiring site, conducive to gatherings, creation and the emergence of a poetic vision of the city.

The Viaduc 375 event will be an opportunity to explore the vitality of this overpass and refresh our perspective on the surrounding railway heritage. The program also features history walking tours. We are looking forward to this event and to seeing you there! In the meantime, why not try to spot those 15 steeples Dinu identified!


5 September 2017

Master’s program in heritage conservation at Université de Montréal

Over the last few days, the future of the master’s program in heritage conservation at Université de Montréal has been the subject of articles and comment pieces in newspapers. Heritage Montreal has a particular interest in this issue since the program was founded in 1987 in partnership with Heritage Montreal. In fact, it was the first program of its kind in Canada and one the first in the Francophonie.

To get a clear picture of the situation, we went right to the source and met with authorities at the Faculté de l’aménagement and the École d’architecture. Unlike what one may think based on the information published to date, we are now reassured and even encouraged about the future of this heritage training program. On the one hand, if the program is indeed suspended due to low enrolment, there is no question of abolishing or eliminating heritage training at Université de Montréal. On the other, discussions are underway on how to adapt the program to current heritage challenges in terms of a collective project, rather than simply an architecture or urban planning project, and to make it more relevant to the personal or professional paths of those interested in this issue.

Heritage Montreal plans to monitor this initiative closely and to actively contribute to it with university decision-makers. This is all the more important given that municipalities, including Montreal and Quebec City, are being given new responsibilities in the area of heritage, and Quebec is poised to renew its cultural policy. In all of these cases, the issue of jurisdiction is key to the successful outcomes and a genuine future for built, urban and landscape heritage.

7 August 2017

The Soul and Sense of Promenade Fleuve-Montagne

Culture Montréal, Heritage Montreal and Les amis de la montagne rarely issue joint public statements despite our routine collaborations. But we feel we must do so now given the strong reaction to the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne’s inauguration.

First, we commend the City of Montreal’s initiative to develop a network of urban promenades. The idea of highlighting the founding monuments of this city and its neighbourhoods by taking the cultural appreciation of territory and heritage and combining it with what is perhaps the best means of active transportation – walking – seems to us to be the way of the future.

The first of these promenades, recently inaugurated, begins on the very site of Montreal’s foundation – Place Royale in Pointe-à-Callière – and ends at the Peel entrance of Mount Royal Park. Though some may disagree, we feel this route is entirely appropriate.

A path rich in history

A number of critics argue that there was no particular reason to select this specific route. Just as a walk along Boston’s Freedom Trail helps one better understand the American Revolution, a walk along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne helps us better understand our city’s past and its present.


The St. Lawrence River and Mount Royal are really all that is left of our city’s origins. They are what Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne-Mance saw when they arrived in New France. When Jacques Cartier dropped anchor in Hochelaga in 1535, the first thing he did was climb up the mountain to get his bearings. Incidentally, he is the one who gave it the name “Mont Royal”. In 18 years we will be commemorating the 500th anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s visit to Hochelaga. In a society as young as ours, half-century milestones are few and far between.

A good start with strong potential 

Symbolically, the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne represents the ascent of the first explorers and their native guides who, starting from the river’s bank, climbed up to the mountain’s peak. This is why we believe that the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne should not stop at the foot of the mountain, but continue up to the Kondiaronk Belvedere – named in honour of the chief of the Huron Wendat Nation who, together with Hector de Callière, was the architect of the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701 – a site that offers an unparalleled view of Montreal and its surrounding area.

The Promenade Fleuve-Montagne could be a wonderful way to teach Montreal citizens and visitors alike about Hochelaga, the founding of Ville-Marie and its subsequent transformation. Thanks to the magic of “augmented reality” or old-fashioned guided tours, the Parliament of the Province of Canada, the Beaver Hall Group, the business boom on St. Catherine, and the battle waged in the 1980s to preserve the view of the mountain from McGill College Avenue can all be brought back to life. These examples, and many others, are already part of the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne, just waiting to be discovered.

All of us at Culture Montréal, Heritage Montreal and Les Amis de la montagne invite you to walk along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne. We are convinced that its immense potential could be unlocked if it is given soul and sense.


Valérie Beaulieu         Robert Turgeon        Sylvie Guilbault
Culture Montréal     Heritage Montreal    Les amis de la montagne

18 July 2017

The Rodier Building: A new vocation for this iconic structure in the heart of the Quartier de l’innovation

Some years ago, Heritage Montreal began expressing concern over the fate of the Rodier Building, an emblem of the new Quartier de l’innovation in Sud-Ouest Borough. It was therefore with great interest that we attended the July 18 unveiling of the Le Rodier project, which will see the building become the focal point of innovation and entrepreneurship for Montreal’s cultural and creative industries. The project—presented by La Piscine, in partnership with Gestion Georges Coulombe, a real estate promoter known for restoration and management of heritage properties, Rhizome, and the Quartier de l’innovation—is designed to be a bridge between built heritage and the expression of cultural innovation in the city.

From threatened site to innovation and entrepreneurship incubator for the arts & culture sector

Completed in 1875, the Rodier Building is among the last remaining links to Chaboillez Square, once a major gateway to the city centre, across from the former Bonaventure train station. Today the site is occupied by access points to the Ville-Marie Expressway and the former Dow Planetarium. Linked to Charles-Séraphin Rodier, a noted real estate promoter in the area in the 19th century, the building is a significant landmark along Rue Notre-Dame: it sits on a triangular lot, which is unusual for Montreal’s street grid, and has stone-framed architecture.

After the closing of the Baron Sports store, a tenant for several decades, the Rodier Building stood vacant until its purchase by the City of Montreal in 2010 as part of the project to redevelop Rue Dalhousie. At the time, the plan was to demolish part of the building to allow conversion of Rue Dalhousie into a reserved lane for buses serving the South Shore via the Bonaventure Expressway.

In 2012, in response to that threat, Heritage Montreal added the Rodier Building to its list of endangered emblematic sites. In 2013, the City withdrew the bus-lane plan. In consideration of the building’s heritage value and its still-uncertain future, however, we kept the building on our list of monitored sites.

More recently, in the spring of 2016, we learned of a new threat of expropriation looming over the Rodier Building as well as New City Gas, another emblematic building on our list, resulting from the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s electric light-rail project (known as the REM). Heritage Montreal asked the Caisse to make all necessary efforts to ensure these iconic buildings would not be affected. Eventually, the rail plans were redrawn and the buildings saved.

Support for revitalization efforts

Heritage Montreal will follow the progress of the planned project closely and with keen interest. We hope that this initiative and the related investments will encourage other players in the real estate ecosystem to move forward with promising projects, of a quality matching the heritage value of the sites in question. We also remind the governments and the City of the importance of supporting property owners and investors via funding measures to help them hire the proper experts and meet the challenges of conserving, presenting and revitalizing our heritage.

If you appreciate everything that Heritage Montreal does to preserve and showcase our rich Montreal heritage, help us increase those actions by supporting us financially! Please donate via this link.


6 July 2017

Relocation of the Molson brewery

With the replanning of Radio-Canada’s vast complex, the lauded acquisition of the former prison and classified heritage site Au-Pied-du-Courant, by the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and Télé-Québec, and Molson’s relocation, the Centre-Sud neighbourhood will be undergoing major redevelopment over the next few decades.

On July 5, Molson-Coors publicly announced its decision to build a new brewery rather than modernize its existing facility, which opened its doors in 1786 on Notre-Dame Street. The Molson Brewery complex is undeniably a heritage site, not so much in the sense of an architectural work but rather as an ensemble characterized by the juxtaposition of various eras.

The Molsons are known for their profound attachment to Montreal and, beyond business considerations, they seemed concerned about the emblematic presence of the brewery on Notre-Dame Street in the metropolis’s heritage and distinctive landscape, between the river, the bridge, Old Montreal and even the mountain beyond.

Heritage Montreal believes that the protection of this emblem of Montreal’s industrial heritage depends on an innovative revitalization project that will not cost it its soul. A collaborative process between the City, the Molson family, citizens and, of course, Heritage Montreal is crucial. As always, we will offer our full cooperation in helping to find the best options for revitalizing this important emblem of Montreal’s industrial heritage.

12 June 2017

The Notman Garden dossier: Status report

On Saturday, May 27, the Citizens’ Movement for the Preservation of the Notman Garden held a public gathering to demand the protection of this heritage garden threatened—once again—with destruction by a real estate project that apparently conforms to municipal regulations.

Despite national recognition of the heritage value of Notman House, over 35 years ago, and the benevolent words of various Quebec ministers of culture, the Mayor of Montreal and other elected officials of the City and the Plateau Mont-Royal borough, these kinds of projects continue to surface due to confusion around the precedence of the heritage issues pertaining to this extraordinary site over the regular application of municipal urban planning regulations. Read more.

9 May 2017

Inauguration of the Mount Stephen Club Hotel: Heritage Montreal visits the site

Built in 1882–1884 by W. T. Thomas—the architect who designed Shaughnessy House—Mount Stephen Club building, located in the heart of downtown, is a unique heritage building, by virtue of its history, architecture and remarkable interior decor. In recent years, after having long housed a private club, it underwent work and was converted into a hotel. In early 2016, the media would then report that the structure of the house had been seriously affected by the work, and that major cracks had appeared in its grey stone facade. This raised concern among heritage experts, the Minister of Culture and the Mayor of Montreal.

In response to this alarming situation for the building, which everyone had agreed on the importance of preserving, particularly the hotel owner and promoter of the project, Heritage Montreal:

– called on the Minister of Culture, the City of Montreal and the building owners to urgently meet with recognized independent experts in order to rally around Mount Stephen Club to preserve the building and its unique interior decor; 

– through a resolution by its General Assembly, called for skills specific to heritage conservancy to be recognized and required, much like in the field of medicine, both for the design and the execution of work, particularly in the case of high-value and highly-sensitive buildings like Mount Stephen House; 

 – shed light on the issues and challenges of enhancing rich heritage interiors, such as that of Mount Stephen Club, in a context where efforts have so far focused on building exteriors, during the City Talks lecture in conjunction with the McCord Museum.

Stabilization, repair, and restoration work on Mount Stephen Club building are now complete. This heritage jewel proudly sits at the heart of the hotel, which was inaugurated on May 1st, 2017. On May 3, Heritage Montreal accepted an invitation from the hotel manager, Antoine Naoum, and the specialized architect who was hired by the owners following the events of 2016, Jean-Pierre Grémy, to tour the house.

 Essentially, Mount Stephen Club has now regained its heritage integrity. Most of the structural distortions have been corrected by work that was described to us as exceptional by virtue of its scope, complexity and the number of experts that were brought on board —architects, engineers, conservators and specialized craftspeople. Despite concerns, we voiced one year ago, the house’s remarkable interior woodwork was meticulously taken apart, reassembled and reinstalled. The emergency interventions even led to some discoveries underneath the 1920 additions.

 All the while conscious that certain corrections remain in this very complex dossier, Heritage Montreal is very pleased to see that the actions it posed to ensure the integrity of this rich heritage house were successful. This experience should be used to provide Montrealers—as well as Quebecers and Canadians, given that the building has been recognized by both levels of government—with an understanding of the major challenges of this project, particularly preserving the jewel that is Mount Stephen Club, and that from the perspective of the owners and the experts themselves. We have already proposed to co-organize a public roundtable on this subject with the hotel administration.

 As you read these lines, Heritage Montreal finds it important to remind you that the Quebec government is currently preparing its new Cultural policy and is outlining bills 121 and 122, which will provide a new legislative framework for municipalities and for Quebec’s metropolis.  At the same time, the City of Montreal is working on the adoption of its Heritage action plan. We truly hope that these initiatives will reflect the lessons learned from the crisis that touched Mount Stephen Club, and will encourage all stakeholders to work together, rather than in opposition, thus ensuring promising, high-quality projects that reflect the value of each heritage site. Specifically, building owners and investors must receive the expertise and creative support needed to meet the challenges of conservation, enhancement and revitalization of nineteenth- century heritage.

 As always, Heritage Montreal will continue to offer its full collaboration.

6 April 2017

A New Executive Director For Heritage Montreal

The members of Heritage Montreal Foundation’s Board of Directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Turgeon as Executive Director of the organization. His mandate began on April 3, 2017, he succeeds Marie-Claude Landry, who held the position for the past three years.

President of Heritage Montreal’s Board of Directors for almost 10 years, Mr. Turgeon was the natural choice for the position. With his solid experience in management, strategic planning and marketing, as well as an in-depth understanding of the organization and its future challenges, his mandate will include implementing the organization’s new strategic plan.

Before joining the Heritage Montreal team as Executive Director, he was Director of Development for seven years of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), Université de Montréal. His career path also led him to the Laurentian Bank of Canada, where for close to 15 years he held a number of key positions including Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. Over the years, his leadership skills combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the field of philanthropy have allowed him to perfect his skills as a manager, to successfully lead national advertising campaigns and to implement various fundraising programs.

A member of Heritage Montreal’s extended family since 2006, Mr. Turgeon has accepted his new duties with great enthusiasm and is ambitiously planning the next few years. “I feel privileged to be able to contribute on a daily basis to the evolution of Heritage Montreal,” states Mr. Turgeon. “Heritage Montreal is a key player in Montreal’s ecosystem and our goal is to put heritage at the heart of the development of our cultural metropolis.”

The members of Heritage Montreal’s Board of Directors strongly believe that Mr. Turgeon’s experience and leadership will enable him to implement promising projects for the future of the organization.

22 March 2017

Behind the scenes of major projects

As you know, Heritage Montreal is at the heart of many of the major projects that animate our metropolis. Our team regularly works behind the scenes to protect and promote Montreal’s heritage. Heritage Montreal will be very busy in the coming weeks with several public meetings and consultations on major heritage issues on the agenda. Here is a brief overview of our recent and upcoming interventions.

On March 20, 2017, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal presented its long anticipated proposal to redevelop the site of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital. Since the future of the City’s large hospital complexes has been an issue of particular concern to us for several years now, we prepared a brief for the occasion. To consult the document (in French) we’ve presented, click here.

On March 23, 2017, the policy proposal on cultural development for 2017-2022 will be presented to the Commission permanente sur la culture, le patrimoine et les sports, and Heritage Montreal will be there to voice its position. The recommendations will be publicly adopted by the Commission on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

The planned consultation around the adoption of the Heritage Action Plan is also on the agenda for May 1, 2017. What speaks to us the most in all of these dossiers are the connections that exist among them. As always, Heritage Montreal advocates coherence and the importance of collaboration. We hope this perspective will serve to guide the master plan, the Cultural Development Policy, the Heritage Action Plan, the economic development plan and the social development plan. To be continued…

Lastly, on March 28, 2017, the Parliamentary Commission has invited us to share our thoughts on Bill 121 – An Act to increase the autonomy and powers of Ville de Montréal, the metropolis of Québec.

These are all opportunities for us to voice civil society concerns on major provincial, metropolitan and local dossiers.

23 February 2017

Notice of classification of the Maison Alcan Complex

On February 23, 2017, in the presence of the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, the founder of Lune Rouge, Guy Laliberté, our Policy Director, Dinu Bumbaru, and the President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Michel Leblanc, the Minister of Culture and Communications of Québec, Luc Fortin, announced the signing of the notice of classification of the Maison Alcan complex.

Today, we are celebrating the positive outcome of this dossier, which we have been working on for more than one year. You will recall that back in summer 2015, an urban densification project of this innovative architectural ensemble was announced. The proposal presented was in direct contradiction to the exemplary vision of the late business leader David Culver—then President of Alcan and recognized as a Great Builder by Heritage Montreal—both in terms of his view of heritage and this complex of buildings along a section of Sherbrooke Street. In order to preserve the integrity of this gem of Montreal heritage, Heritage Montreal formulated a request for classification submitted to Hélène David, then Minister of Culture and Communications of Quebec, who, on November 5, 2015, responded positively by issuing a notice of intent to classify Maison Alcan. The definitive decision on its status was supposed to be rendered within one year, following a series of consultations and an opinion from the Conseil du patrimoine culturel du Québec.

On the basis of an exemplary consultation process, which we hope will serve as a model for the years to come, recognition of the national value of Maison Alcan shows that economic forces can indeed play a role in Montreal’s renaissance and strike a healthy balance between heritage and development.

Here are the main elements Heritage Montreal highlighted at the time of this public announcement:

– We thanked the Minister of Culture, Mr. Fortin, for the personal attention he paid to the Maison Alcan file. Quebec has several heritage files, many of them very complex. In this particular case, the Minister took the innovative initiative of convening the interested parties—Lune Rouge, Heritage Montreal, the City of Montreal and the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal—to participate in a dynamic process of developing a shared commitment to ensuring the recognition and renaissance of Maison Alcan. The Minister’s powers and responsibilities under the Cultural Heritage Act were put to work in favour of a process that illustrates the desire of Montrealers to move forward together.

– This process was an exceptional example of collaboration. We hope it becomes the new way of doing things or, at least, the hallmark of an approach based on joining the metropolis’s forces, rather than dividing them. Just as Maison Alcan harmoniously and creatively brought together buildings both old and new, it is important to bring together all stakeholders, public and private, citizen and institutional, to continue to breathe life into and enrich Montreal’s distinct architectural and urban heritage.

– We are delighted with the leadership role that Mr. Laliberté and Lune Rouge Innovation are playing in this file. It is surely one of the most encouraging developments and constitutes the passing of the torch from Mr. Culver and his original vision to these new giants who are bringing hope of a revitalized Maison Alcan that will be as inspiring as the one in 1983.

– This new status represents, for us, recognition of a renaissance in heritage; a challenge to the current generation of business leaders to pursue, in the 21st century, this vision of development à la Montréal.

As always, Heritage Montreal will continue to be active on this file.
To see the press release issued in response to this public announcement, click here.

6 February 2017

Heritage Montreal’s tribute to David M. Culver C.C., O.Q.

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of David M. Culver, former president and CEO of Alcan and the visionary behind the Maison Alcan complex.

A businessman driven by a deep passion for the arts, architecture and Montreal, Mr. Culver chose to break from the dominant concept of development, founded on widespread demolition of heritage in favour of short-term private interests, to create a new head office comprised of rehabilitated heritage buildings, new contemporary architecture and indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Inaugurated in 1983, Maison Alcan ushered in a period of optimism and confidence in Montreal as well as in Québec and across Canada, inspired by a more human and cultural approach to urban development. To the great benefit of the city and Montrealers, Mr. Culver’s determination proved that heritage and development can go hand in hand and, better yet, be mutually enriching. He helped our society evolve and offered a concrete and inspiring model for Montreal and the entire country.

In January 2016, Heritage Montreal awarded Mr. Culver the title of Great Builder in recognition for his exemplary leadership and key role in the creation of Maison Alcan, and for his deep affection for Montreal and its heritage. His visionary commitment was also recognized in the notice of intent signed in November 2015 by Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications, responding to Heritage Montreal’s filing of a request to have Maison Alcan declared a listed property.

Heritage Montreal offers its condolences to Mr. Culver’s family and friends. We salute his exceptional contribution and his recognition of heritage as an element in Montreal’s development. We hope that his model will inspire other economic players in their contribution to the growth of our metropolis.

17 January 2017

Launch of the architectural competition for BAnQ Saint-Sulpice

On January 11, 2017, Luc Fortin, Minister of Culture and Communications and the Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, and the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, announced the launch of an architectural competition to revitalise the Saint-Sulpice library.

On January 31, 2016, then Minister of Culture and Communications, Hélène David and Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre, announced that the former Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice, whose sale in a classified ad on the Ministry of Transports’ website had been suspended, will be returned to the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. They announced that the library would be restored and returned to its original vocation in addition to becoming a meeting and creative space for adolescents.

Classified as a Heritage Building, the library is located on Saint-Denis Street, in the heart of Montreal’s Quartier latin. Its doors will reopen in the winter of 2018-2019 under the name BAnQ Saint-Sulpice.

The jury will be composed of Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal, Pierre Corriveau, architect, Pierre Thibault, architect, Sophie Charlebois, architect for the City of Montreal, Max Roy, electro-mechanical engineer, Éric Therrien, librarian at the Institut Canadien de Québec/Bibliothèque de Québec, and Christiane Barbe, Chief Executive Officer of the BAnQ.

Consult the official press release for more information (in French).

25 November 2016

Neighbourhood of the week: NDG

Heritage Montreal and Urbania are joining forces to celebrate Montreal’s architecture and unique heritage through the eyes and writings of those who live it daily. Our collaborators will take us on a journey of discovery of their neighbourhood—buildings, churches, parks and public spaces—sharing their own prize list of favourite heritage sites.

For Camile Bédard’s architectural favourites in NDG, click here. To view the original post (in French).

25 November 2016

Neighbourhood of the week: Côte-des-Neiges

Heritage Montreal and Urbania are joining forces to celebrate Montreal’s architecture and unique heritage through the eyes and writings of those who live it daily. Our collaborators will take us on a journey of discovery of their neighbourhood—buildings, churches, parks and public spaces—sharing their own prize list of favourite heritage sites.

To discover Myriam Laabidi’s best kept secrets in Côte-des-Neiges, click here. To view the original post (in French).

11 November 2016

Neighbourhood of the week: Verdun

Heritage Montreal and Urbania are joining forces to celebrate Montreal’s architecture and unique heritage through the eyes and writings of those who live it daily. Our collaborators will take us on a journey of discovery of their neighbourhood—buildings, churches, parks and public spaces—sharing their own prize list of favourite heritage sites.

This week discover Isabelle Corriveau’s architectural favourites in Verdun. To view the original post (in French).


2 November 2016

Neighbourhood of the week: Maisonneuve

Heritage Montreal and Urbania are joining forces to celebrate Montreal’s architecture and unique heritage through the eyes and writings of those who live it daily. Our collaborators will take us on a journey of discovery of their neighbourhood—buildings, churches, parks and public spaces—sharing their own prize list of favourite heritage sites.

This week discover Sarah Freyss and Lyna Bourget-Vecchio’s architectural favourites in Maisonneuve. To view the original post (in French).


25 October 2016

Neighbourhood of the week: Villeray

Heritage Montreal and Urbania are joining forces to celebrate Montreal’s architecture and unique heritage through the eyes and writings of those who live it daily. Our collaborators will take us on a journey of discovery of their neighbourhood—buildings, churches, parks and public spaces—sharing their own prize list of favourite heritage sites.

This week discover Ève Lemieux’s architectural favourites in Villeray. To view the original post (in French).


17 October 2016

Classification of the Ernest-Cormier Studio

Good news for our heritage! On October 6, 2016, Minister Luc Fortin announced, in a press release, classification of the Ernest-Cormier Studio! The protection applies to the interior and the exterior, as well as the land. Back on November 5, 2015, then Minister of Culture and Communications, Hélène David, issued a notice of intent to classify the Ernest-Cormier Studio. The final decision on classification had to be rendered within one year, following consultations and an opinion from the Conseil du patrimoine culturel du Québec.

The studio had already been listed on the H-MTL platform by Alexandre Paré, in collaboration with Martin Bérubé.

For more information on this building and its heritage value, consult the directory of Quebec cultural heritage.

1 September 2016

Renewal of Quebec's Cultural Policy

On August 25, 2016, at the public consultation meeting for the Montreal region, Heritage Montreal presented a brief to the Minister of Culture, Luc Fortin, regarding the renewal of the 1992 cultural policy.

The meeting was an opportunity for us to encourage the Minister to move from the defensive model of the 1970s towards a more active and mobilizing model. We emphasized the fact that this shift requires a more coherent relationship between Culture and Heritage as well as a fiscal and financial ecology that includes new tools.

We reminded the Minister that Québec is lagging far behind in terms of fiscal measures, and we stressed the need for collaborative mechanisms to remedy the state of heritage, while monitoring and ultimately improving it.

Public consultations at a national level ended in Sherbrooke on August 29, 2016, after 18 sessions were held across the province. We hope that this large-scale undertaking will lead to the creation of a new cross-sector tool that will ensure the much-needed recognition of the importance of heritage and the development of the territory in keeping with Quebec’s identity and cultural development. Heritage must no longer be seen as a constraint, but rather an asset. Indeed, Heritage Montreal has been waiting decades for a genuinely Quebec-made policy on heritage, which was the intended objective of the 2003 Arpin report.

At the moment, it is difficult to assess the impact of our intervention, but we believe that it has been successful and welcomed by the Minister and his team. Stay tuned…

To consult our brief (in French), click here.

To consult all of the briefs submitted during this vast public consultation, click here.

20 July 2016

Redevelopment of Rutherford Park

Rutherford Park is the green space covering the McTavish reservoir. It is located within the perimeter of the Mount Royal Heritage Site, which as been protected by the Quebec government since 2005. Under study for several years by the Ville-Marie borough, with a grant from the Quebec government, the project to transform Rutherford Park into a multipurpose sports field with light towers to allow for night-time use made headlines over the last few days following the adoption, on July 6, of the borough council’s decision to award the contract for this work and to authorize the signing of an agreement with McGill University for the financing of the project and the use of the field, an agreement that was not made public.

In July 2015, the borough had agreed to present the project to us as well as to Les amis de la montagne and the Conseil régional de l’environnement. However, it did not formally request the opinion of the Conseil du patrimoine de Montréal. The day after the Council’s decision, the director and those in charge of recreation for the borough presented the project to us as authorized by the Minister of Culture last May. The differences between the 2015 and 2016 versions were minor. Furthermore, the project still includes the installation of four giant light towers measuring 30 metres (about 10 storeys high), of unknown design, in a panorama that the City plans to promote at considerable cost as part of the Fleuve-Montagne promenade, a major 375th anniversary legacy project.

This unfortunate outcome for Montreal’s heritage starkly illustrates the risks of political decisions, without any genuine consideration of the impact on heritage and landscape. The case of Rutherford Park clearly shows that guarantees of conservation, even of a heritage site as renowned as Mount Royal, are precarious and that there is often a conflict of interest between public authorities’ duties to project and their powers to promote.

In fact, at our annual general meeting on June 2, 2016, the members of Heritage Montreal adopted a resolution calling on the Quebec government and the City of Montreal to adopt transparent, intelligent and independent mechanisms for monitoring the state of heritage, including landscapes.

For more information on our 2016 Heritage and Development resolutions, please click here.

16 June 2016

Four new resolutions for 2016

At its annual general meeting, held on June 2, 2016, at the Jacques-Parizeau Building (formerly the Centre CDP Capital), close to 60 Heritage Montreal members met to take stock of 2015, which marked our 40th anniversary. We took advantage of our members’ presence to identify various heritage challenges to consider in the future and adopt resolutions that will guide our actions over the next year.

These are the four resolutions that were adopted:

  • Underscoring actions with significant contributions to heritage development in Montreal and the metropolitan region
  • Regarding governance in matters of heritage and landscape protection and development
  • Regarding recognition of competency and specific expertise in heritage protection and development
  • Regarding consideration of the impacts of public-sector projects, programs and investments on heritage and landscapes

To read the entire texts, please click here.

In addition to the resolutions proposed by Heritage Montreal, the members in attendance shared their concerns about the absence of any historical or heritage dimensions in the festivities for Montreal’s 375th anniversary. To find out more, read the article (in French) that appeared in Le Devoir.

25 May 2016

Les amis de la montagne and the City of Montreal award the Prix du Mont-Royal to Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal

Heritage Montreal is delighted to announce that its policy director, Dinu Bumbaru, C.M., was awarded the Prix du Mont-Royal, on the 140th anniversary of the inauguration of Mount Royal Park. The award, presented by Réal Ménard, member of the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal responsible for sustainable development, the environment, large parks and green spaces, and Peter A. Howlett, C.M., President of Les amis de la montagne, highlights Mr. Bumbaru’s commitment and contribution to the protection and enhancement of Mount Royal, one of the most important historical and natural emblems of our metropolis.

Mr. Bumbaru’s actions include his role in developing the first Plan for the Conservation and Restoration of Mount Royal (1992), and updating it six years later. A few years later, he actively participated in the process that led, in 2005, to the adoption of the Quebec government’s by-law to create the Historic and Natural District of Mount Royal, then to Mount Royal as a heritage site when the Cultural Heritage Act came into effect in October 2012. He also sits on the Table de concertation du Mont-Royal, which brings together key players in the protection, territorial enhancement and harmonious development of the Mount Royal heritage site.

Robert Turgeon, President of Heritage Montreal’s Board of Directors, enthusiastically welcomed this important recognition: “For the last 35 years, Dinu Bumbaru has been working tirelessly to preserve and enhance Montreal’s built, urban and landscape heritage. His internationally recognized expertise, his passionate commitment to the cause and his many accomplishments have earned him great esteem among the players in the field, as attested by this Prix du Mont-Royal. At Heritage Montreal, we are extremely proud to be in the company of this man who watches over heritage, here and elsewhere with such intelligence and creativity.”

Dinu Bumbaru has worked for Heritage Montreal since 1982. He is also involved in many other organizations in addition to playing an important role on the international level with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a nongovernmental organization that advises UNESCO on cultural heritage. This important recognition is one of the many honours Mr. Bumbaru has received over the years.

18 May 2016

2016 Annual General Meeting: Notice – Meeting and Candidates for the Board of Directors

A second notice is hereby given that Annual General Meeting of Members of the Héritage Montréal Foundation will be held on Thursday June 2, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Centre CDP Capital located at 1000 Jean-Paul-Riopelle Square, in Montréal, Room B1.01, for the following purposes:

  • Receiving the financial statements for the year ended on December 31, 2015;
  • Electing the Board of Directors;
  • Appointing auditors and authorizing the Directors to fix their remuneration;
  • Approving and confirming all by-laws, acts and proceedings done and performed by the Directors of the Corporation; and
  • Adopting resolutions and transacting such other business that may properly come before the meeting.

Proposed list of individuals for the election of the Board of Directors of the Heritage Montreal Foundation at the Annual General Meeting on June 2, 2016:

Carole Deniger
Nancy Dunton
Robert Girard
Hugo Girard-Beauchamp
Hélène Godin
Mary Leslie-Aitken
Bruce McNiven
Anthony O’Brien
Marie Senécal-Tremblay
Pierre Taillefer
Michel A. Tremblay
Robert Turgeon

A cocktail reception will follow the Annual General Meeting.

Guided tour prior to the Annuel General Meeting

From 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., you are invited to take part in a guided tour of the Centre CDP Capital with Dinu Bumbaru our Policy Director.

Departure at 4:00 p.m. from the street level lobby of the Centre CDP Capital (1000 Jean-Paul-Riopelle Square). Places are limited. R.S.V.P. is mandatory.

R.S.V.P. before Monday, May 30, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.:

Robert Turgeon
President of the Board of Directors


18 May 2016

Mount Stephen Club

Last week, the Montreal Gazette published the results of an in-depth investigation into the causes that led to the alarming situation at George Stephen House, a jewel of Montreal’s heritage as well as our national heritage. In recent weeks, Heritage Montreal also tried to probe into how a renowned and protected historical monument could fall victim to such damage, requiring urgent intervention and the dismantling of part of its facade. There are a great many causes.

The Gazette’s investigation revealed major holes in our heritage’s safety net, at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. It is not enough to take comfort in the idea that proper procedure was followed. In order to restore confidence and prevent this kind of crisis from recurring, authorities responsible for heritage, in particular, the Ministère de la Culture and the City of Montreal, are analyzing the situation with the help of outside experts, universities and independent organizations like Heritage Montreal. It is essential that the true state of heritage must be at the heart of decision-making. Stay tuned…

Mount Stephen Club’s structural problems date back at least 15 years
Culture officials initially opposed hotel tower for Mount Stephen Club
Editorial: Preserving the Mount Stephen Club


22 April 2016

The Old Montreal Works Building: Another Loss For Montreal’s Heritage

Over the last few weeks, Montreal’s heritage made headlines several times but, unfortunately, not always for the right reasons: the fire that ravaged three vacant heritage buildings of the Faubourg aux Récollets, which were then demolished, the Snowdon Theatre fire, the demolition of a building belonging to the Griffintown housing co-operative, the announcement that the dismantlement of the façade of the Mount Stephen Club has begun…

We also learned last week of the imminent disappearance of another building: the old Montreal Works munitions factory in the Chabanel district.

On April 11, 2016, in a last attempt to save the factory and defend our built heritage, the Société d’histoire Ahuntsic Cartierville (SHAC) filed an appeal before the borough council of the decision of the borough’s demolition council to authorize the demolition of the building owned by the municipality. In December 2015, SHAC, supported by Heritage Montreal, the Association Québécoise pour le patrimoine industriel and Action Patrimoine, mobilized to try to save and revitalize this building, calling on the City to show coherence and creativity.

The meeting came to a disappointing end with the unanimous vote by elected officials to demolish the building. They promised that a commemorative mention would be integrated into the future municipal public works project. This slide from conservation to commemoration and “remembrance” is very disturbing. As pointed out by Marc-André Carignan in a recent column in the newspaper Métro: “Conservation is still the best way to celebrate a place.”

29 March 2016

Strategic forum on major real estate projects: revitalizing our heritage and emblematic buildings

Organized by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the 10th Strategic Forum on Major Real Estate Projects brought together some 400 decision-makers and influential players from our metropolis on March 21, 2016, including our President, Robert Turgeon, our Executive Director, Marie-Claude Landry, our Policy Director, Dinu Bumbaru, and Anthony O’Brien, a member of our Board of Directors.

For Heritage Montreal, the forum was an opportunity to address the relationship between heritage and real estate projects at a roundtable with Dinu Bumbaru, Alan Macintosh (Notman House) and Phil O’Brien (Viger Station). We took advantage of this forum to remind major promoters of the importance of addressing the issue of heritage, right from the outset of a reuse process, and to proceed with curiosity and urbanity. We also pointed out that, today, heritage is defined by new combinations: economic and civic values/profitability and identity. This evolution occurs through the reuse of existing buildings and a more active form of urbanism that is less technical and more collaborative. This forum was also an opportunity for us to publicly reaffirm the importance of developing a guide for promoters on heritage reconversion.

In the meantime, as we wait to see how things evolve, we would like to acknowledge the quality of the discussion led by the various participants at this event, in particular, remarks by Michel Leblanc, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Board of Directors of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, who emphasized the importance of heritage in the economic and cultural development of our metropolis.

8 March 2016

Seeking Volunteer Guides

Do you want to share your passion for the city and its heritage? Would you like to contribute to the awareness, enhancement and protection of this heritage? Join Heritage Montreal’s team of guides and enjoy a rewarding volunteer experience. We are currently recruiting volunteer guides for the 2016 edition of ArchitecTours to be presented in August and September.


If you are interested in joining a dynamic team of volunteers and being a part of the training procedures to become a guide for our walking tours, send us your resume and a cover letter before 5pm on March 24th, 2016 to the attention of Amélie Renouf, Head – Programs and Activities, by email at

1 February 2016

Mount Stephen Club: Under close watch

Heritage Montreal is keeping a close eye on the situation of Mount Stephen Club, an exceptional heritage building by virtue of its architecture and interior decor that has garnered the recognition and protection of the authorities. Work is underway on this former residence on the Square Mile as part of a hotel development project. The work affected its foundation and required emergency stabilization measures, raising serious concerns among the public and experts.

Right now, the priority is to safeguard and restore Mount Stephen House by enlisting the best possible expertise. Heritage Montreal has advised Minister Hélène David, the City of Montréal, and the property owners to call on independent experts, recognized for their “diagnostic” knowledge of heritage buildings from this period. Once the house has been safeguarded and revitalized to reflect the integrity of its heritage value, we will be able to learn from this experience in order to prevent another crisis like this one. In the context of heritage buildings of this value and sensitivity, we have already recommended that the authorities ensure the quality of the experts retained by owners, from the outset of the project right through to completion.

Mount Stephen Club in peril
Mount Stephen Club facade damaged by construction work
Problems plague Montreal’s historic Mount Stephen Club
MCCQ Press Release (in French only)

1 February 2016

A new vocation for the Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice

On January 31, 2016, Minister of Culture and Communications Hélène David and Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre, announced that the former Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice, whose sale in a classified ad on the Ministry of Transports’ website had been suspended, will be returned to the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The library will be restored and returned to its original vocation in addition to becoming a meeting and creative space for adolescents.

Heritage Montreal would like to congratulate the City for this creative solution and thank the consulting group, co-presided by Michelle Courchesne and Claude Corbo, for their invaluable contribution. The group also made a recommendation on the overall issue of government heritage buildings. We sincerely hope that the government will follow suit, since intelligent mechanisms are needed to avoid repeated crisis situations that stir widespread indignation.

Historic St-Sulpice Library to be repurposed
Courchesne-Corbo Report