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Humble workers' houses in St. Henri. Nineteenth-century facades on the Lower Main. A stone convent on René Lévesque Blvd. E. A working stable and an abandoned foundry in Griffintown.

 

Not all are architectural monuments in their own right, but they are part of disappearing landscapes that give Montreal its unique flavour.

 

Héritage Montréal unveiled the city's top 10 endangered heritage sites at a press conference Thursday.

 

From a monumental church in Hochelaga Maisonneuve to a crumbling Queen Anne-style mansion in the Golden Square Mile, all the landmarks bear witness to a past being erased by relentless pressure to turn property into profits.

 

Plans for the wholesale demolition of the Lower Main, an iconic district and National Heritage Site of Canada, are among the most distressing situations, said Dinu Bumbaru, policy director of the preservation organization.

 

"This is shocking," Bumbaru said of plans by the Angus Development Corp. to bulldoze buildings on the west side of St. Laurent Blvd. between Ste. Catherine St. and René Lévesque Blvd.

 

There are no definite plans to replace them, so the land could stand vacant for years, he warned.

 

The fate hanging over the Lower Main is reminiscent of waves of demolition in previous decades that left large swaths of the city pockmarked with parking lots, Bumbaru warned.

 

In addition to the 10 endangered sites, Héritage Montréal said it is keeping a close eye on six other sites, including the 1880 Mount Stephen Club, an opulent Italian-Renaissance-style mansion on Drummond St. that closed last year.

 

The organization is also monitoring the fate of the 1845 Louis Hippolyte La Fontaine house, home of the father of responsible government in Canada.

 

The fate of Montreal's municipal bathhouses, like the Art Deco Schubert baths on St. Laurent Blvd. at Bagg St., are cause for concern as budget shortfalls force boroughs to slash services, the heritage organization said.

 

THESE 10 ICONIC SITES ARE ENDANGERED

 

Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus Church, 1465 Desjardins St.: This massive 1903 church was long the heart and soul of the working-class Maisonneuve district, known as the Pittsburgh of Canada a century ago. The presbytery is now a bustling community centre but the soaring Byzantine-style church, with its famous Casavant organ, closed in 2009 and the fire department declared it dangerous in 2010.

 

Hôpital Miséricorde, 970 René-Lévesque Blvd. E.: One glance at this neoclassical stone convent built between the 1850s and 1940s is enough to convince you of the dominance of religious orders in Quebec until the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. The Misericordia Sisters took in the most stigmatized members of society - unwed mothers. Now, the Jacques Viger chronic-care hospital, which has occupied the site for decades, is moving out, leaving the vast complex to an uncertain future.

 

Empress Theatre, 5560 Sherbrooke St. W.: The story of this 1927 Neo-Egyptian cinema facing Girouard Park in N.D.G., vacant since the 1990s, is a seemingly endless saga of dashed hopes and local bungling. The city has called on the community for proposals to recycle the building but is not guaranteeing its survival.

 

Griffintown Horse Palace, Ottawa St. between Eleanor and Murray Sts.: Calèches ambling along Ottawa St. bring a country atmosphere to Griffintown, once Canada's oldest industrial neighbourhood. In the 1960s, city policy turned the district beside the Lachine Canal into a wasteland by pushing out residents. Now, condo towers threaten to push out surviving remnants of the Griff like the 150-yearold stables.

 

Cadieux Forge, 815 St. Paul St.: Another relic of Griffintown's past, this modest three-storey building houses a foundry that closed in the 1980s. Used occasionally as a movie set, the industrial building still has a furnace and other equipment, but real-estate development and the redesign of the Bonaventure autoroute threaten its future.

 

St. Laurent/Monument National City Block, 1190-1220 St. Laurent Blvd.: Designated a federal historic site in 1996 for its iconic role as a destination for generations of immigrants, the Lower Main appears in transition from red-light district to vacant lot. Owner Angus Development Corp. kicked out occupants and now the city plans to demolish the surviving Victorian buildings north of the Monument National in the spring, citing safety concerns. No project is currently slated for the site.

 

Bonheur d'Occasion Workers' Houses, corner of St. Ambroise and St. Augustin Sts.: Author Gabrielle Roy made working-class St. Henri famous in The Tin Flute; now condo development near the Lachine Canal threatens to make these humble dwellings a thing of the past.

 

Rodier Building, 32 Notre-Dame St. W.: Since 1875, this landmark triangular building has stood sentry over Notre Dame St. just outside Old Montreal. Now, it is threatened by controversial plans to reroute South Shore commuter buses onto narrow Dalhousie St. from the Bonaventure Expressway, slated for redevelopment.

 

Redpath House, 457 rue du Musée: This once-proud mansion built in 1886 in the city's ritziest district is the poster child for the evils of demolition by neglect. Vacant for decades, it is the victim of a waiting game by owners Amos and Michael Sochaczevski, who plan a highrise on the site, and the city.

 

Viger Square, between Viger, Berri, St. Antoine and St. Denis Sts.: People love to hate the modernist cement thing this park became in 1981, when artist Charles Daudelin redesigned the historic square. But the site's faults - noisy traffic and ventilation towers for the Ville Marie Expressway - weren't Daudelin's fault, says Héritage Montréal, which decries plans to demolish his oeuvre.

 

SOME SITES ON THE WATCH LIST

 

- Municipal baths (in different city districts)

 

- Eatons' 9th floor restaurant, 700 Ste. Catherine St. W.

 

- Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine House, 1395 Overdale Ave.

 

- Mount Stephen House, 1440 Drummond St.

 

- New City Gas Complex, Between Ottawa, Dalhousie, Wellington and Ann Sts.

 

- Dow Planetarium, 1000 St. Jacques St. W.

 

ST. GEORGE'S TO GET MUCH-NEEDED FACELIFT

 

One of the most historic churches in downtown Montreal is getting a facelift thanks to a $425,000 federal subsidy.

 

Parks Canada announced Thursday it will pay half the cost of rebuilding the portico of St. George's Anglican Church at Peel and la Gauchetière Sts.

 

The 1869 Gothic Revival church was designated a national historic site in 1990. It is the only survivor among five Protestant churches that once ringed Dorchester Square, formerly called Dominion Square.

 

The repairs are necessary to shore up crumbling masonry on the historic structure, which dates back to a time when the neighbourhood was mainly residential.

 

http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/this+architectural/6201759/story.html

Edited by jesseps
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What is interesting, that one newspaper showed that Monument-National is considered "endangered" when really it is the buildings connected to it that are slated to be demolished.

 

I do hope someone does something with the Restaurant in the Eaton Centre. It would be nice to have a classy place in the city.

Edited by jesseps
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