Saint-Henri's Famous Canada Malting Building Could Become A Community Village & Museum
A citizen group is fighting against condo development on the historic site.
- A community group in Saint-Henri has proposed a community-based project for the Canada Malting site that sits on the Lachine Canal.
- The proposed project includes 200 social housing units and an industrial museum which highlights the working history of the neighbourhood.
- Take a look at photos of the proposed plan below!
A community group in Saint-Henri is now advocating for a 100% community-based project to take over the Canada Malting site as opposed to a development of 700 condos that was initially proposed. On March 3, the group called "À nous la Malting!" presented early renderings of what the site could look like if reserved for a community-based project. The discussion of what to do with the Canada Malting site began as early as 2013, when over 2,000 residents opposed the condo development project.
The next year, a Community Planning Operation was established to "determine the priorities and needs of the western part of the neighbourhood, which includes the Canada Malting site."
Discussions then began around social housing, heritage preservation, new employment areas, and local business. In 2017, the À nous la Malting! Collective was borne and last year they received financial aid from Centraide and the Sud-Ouest borough to develop this "100% community-based business plan" for the site.
The vision unveiled for the site focuses on " fair, sustainable, ecological and democratic urban planning." The intention is to reuse as much of the industrial building for housing projects, food production, heritage enhancement along with rental space.
Here you can see the initial rendering of the proposed community-based plan unveiled by the À nous la Malting! Collective on March 3.
In a press release, the group explains that "among the major innovations put forward are the construction of more than 200 housing units."
Another large facet of the project is the restoration and reuse of buildings on the Canada Malting site.
À nous la Malting! explains that aspects like the terracotta silos on the site, which are "the last of their kind in Canada (built in 1907)," represent a high heritage value that is worth preserving.
Another key goal of the project is to "meet needs expressed by those most affected by gentrification in Saint-Henri."
The picture below, taken at the presentation of the project at Saint-Henri library, shows how far the grassroots group has come in legitimizing their proposed project.
Still, whether built with paper and glue or rendered digitally, the plan is clear: a community space built by the community, for the community.
The group is hoping that featuring social housing and a historical project will make it doubly desirable for both community members and elected officials to get behind.
The tweet above from Fred Burrill, a resident of St-Henri and a founding member of the collective, reads, "The proposed project includes 200 social housing units and an industrial museum which highlights the working history of [Saint-Henri] and the Lachine Canal."
You can learn more about the proposed project and the À Nous la Malting! Collective, as well as sign their open letter in support of the project at their website here.