Slated for renewal – Grain Silo No. 5

Montréal's Grain Silo No.5

Montréal’s historic Pointe-du-Moulin and Grain Silo No. 5 has recently been purchased by the Canada Lands Corporation, and I for one am rejoicing, as this is a major step towards seeing a major renovation of several large properties in the Griffintown/Cité-du-Havre area. The CLC’s plan can be found here – this would be one of five sites destined for renovation. As iconic as this building is, the space is generally dead, and the South-Central re-development, which began in earnest ten-fifteen years ago in the Sault-aux-Recollets neighbourhood, needs to be propelled West to assist with the transformation of Griffintown, and later, Pointe-St-Charles. But I would hope that every effort is made to integrate Pointe-du-Moulin with the rest of the urban core, so public transit to this area will need to be ameliorated, if it is to become an extension of the city, as opposed to a segregated wasteland. Moreover, such a location seems ideal for a major tourist destination, and I know the idea of a multi-purpose museum (including ‘traveling’ exhibits from the city’s principle museums – I’m glad this didn’t go too far) at the site was batted about a few years ago. Spacing Montréal provides some analysis and some great shots of the complex, and Héritage Montréal has considered the site to be threatened for some time – I think it’s pretty clear the prominence of the site, and our fascination with the rugged beauty of it, the juxtaposition of an island of rusting industrial calm surrounded by the polished facade of the Old Port – a dark and quintessentially modern Montréal aesthetic. In sum, I’d hate to see condos here, but what’s for certain is that a massive industrial ruin is far from ideal given it may impede development around it. However, if it was a functioning building that retained the aesthetic of an industrial ruin, well, I could certainly live with that. For the time being, the CLC could do the city a favour and allow more access to the site. Public consultations next year won’t be worth much if the people don’t have a good idea about what’s feasible here, and what this space is like, up close and personal.

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