Buildings Should Be Inclusive Spaces

“I think it’s inevitable that the condos were coming. We saw it in Vancouver. We saw it in Toronto, as you said. It came to Montreal. As a result, I did, in fact, lose three buildings. Two of them have been knocked down, one for the Ville-Marie. I cycled by one today that’s not there anymore, with the expansion. It’s inevitable with new urban planning and change, we’re gonna lose part of our patrimoine and our history.

I also believe in projects like this building (Complexe Dompark) or Saint Ambroise buildings, how they get repurposed. I saw this in Griffintown with the Lowney Chocolate building, which has been turned into condos. There’s a positive takeaway when we value our history. Being someone who’s interested in history, showcasing or highlighting stories around the people that worked in there, the laborers, themselves, or the industry and what if offered to the community.

Because a lot of these buildings, let’s put it this way, without the Lachine Canal, for instance, you wouldn’t have any of these communities. You wouldn’t have Saint-Henri, you wouldn’t have Burgundy, you wouldn’t have Griffintown. The industry brought the people and the people came to work in those factories. Now, the idea of what you do with those buildings after, it’s kind of at the hands of the Ville de Montreal and developers, people who have a vision like this place, where they turn it into something multifunctional.

Because the sole use in the industrial areas, you had a building that made leather works or made glass or metal. And to divvy them up into condos is one thing, but to, like you said, to hang on to the cultural aspect of the building or the historical aspect and use them for meeting places. Going down to McKiernan’s for lunch today, how fantastic that is. These are the commons that all good, thriving societies have. I know Jane Jacobs talked quite a bit about this in Toronto, that to have multilevel incomes is essential to a healthy territory, healthy community.

What we’re seeing now is build it, they will come scenario. That’s what we’re seeing. Now we’re seeing the cafes and the restaurants and stuff. We hope that there will be a better plan moving forward for these kinds of urban scenarios. It’s finding the tax base to pay for all the luxuries and all this stuff, that’s important. Social housing, low-income housing, affordable housing and condos should all be inclusive. That’s my opinion, my take on it.”