What is the future for the building of the deaf-mutes on the rue Saint-Denis?

Photo: Jean-François Nadeau On Duty
Topped by an imposing dome, the edifice planted in the heart of the rue Saint-Denis is home to a chapel and old cans of elegant woodwork.

Several agencies worried about the future of the huge building of limestone rocks, which sheltered for over a century, Saint-Denis street in Montreal, the Institute of deaf-mutes, and where she lodged, until its dissolution in 2015, the Agency of health and social services of Montreal. Since then, its future appears uncertain.

 

Topped by an imposing dome, the edifice planted in the heart of the rue Saint-Denis is home to a chapel and old cans of elegant woodwork. The place is of serious concern in the last few months.

 

For the Company business development rue Saint-Denis (SDC), the issue that represents the future of this building is immense.

 

“It is an architectural monument and it is beautiful, said first Caroline Tessier, the director-general of the SDC. This building should satisfy social and cultural issues, in a purpose to combine the vocations. There could be social housing, creators, artists… To the rue Saint-Denis, that would be great. The increase of the daily volumes would help us enormously to create a trade of proximity. “

 

The Committee on housing in the Plateau Mont-Royal, the town hall, the borough, the Society for the history of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, the mna Manon Massé, the architectural firm Rayside Labossière, the Atelier habitation Montreal and a few other groups have all decried the silence that surrounds the pending status of this building. They are interested in a reflection of public serious conduct to the big day so that this majestic building can continue to be dedicated to social functions in keeping with its past.

 

Architect Ron Rayside insists that a reflection of urgent work is necessary to define “a long-term vision for this grand ensemble” of more than 27 000 square meters. “It is time to act before it is too late,” judge said.

 

The Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI), the spokesman Martin Roy said that no decision has yet been arrested for this building which ” we think “.

 

The building, however, has been the subject of a search broker property to be sold. The approach has finally been arrested. “We look at the scenarios to see if there are no other uses for government, but our mandate is to house offices and agencies of the government. That is all. “

 

What is the SQI to promote the reappropriation possible by the citizens of this colossus ?

 

“You think about it,” simply respond to the spokesperson.

 

Heritage value ?

 

In a text published in the Bulletin of the Society for the history of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, the policy director of Heritage Montreal, Dinu Bumbaru, considers that this building planted in the heart of one of the most important streets of Montreal has an ” exceptional heritage value “.

 

Despite a strong community interest in this building, and the favourable opinion of several experts as to its cultural and historical value, the government of québec, the owner of the building, does not wish to protect under heritage legislation.

 

Following a formal request for classification of the building made by the Society for the history of the Plateau-Mont-Royal (SHP) and supported by the mayor of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, Luc Ferrandez, the ministry of Culture and Communications responded that it “does not consider that this monastery complex designed by the architect Joseph Michaud stands out on the architectural plan” compared to other places.

 

The SHP is returned to the charge, stressing the unique place that has had this building in the lives of thousands of young girls in North America. A new letter from the ministry, dated 9 march 2017, said they could do nothing since the interest of the building ” are located at the local and regional scale and not at the national level “.

 

The Duty, the ministry of Culture and Communications, explains that ” other religious houses erected at the same time and are located in Montréal and elsewhere in Québec stand out more in the scale of Quebec “. To justify its decision, the Ministry added that other sets, ” the oldest and most high-quality […] are not protected under the Law on cultural heritage “.

 

Yet, according to the” statement of heritage interest “in the City of Montreal consulted by The Duty, this building form” a homogeneous of a high quality of composition “. In addition, ” the interior spaces of the three lodges, the oldest of the Institution present a state of remarkable authenticity “. The site is in the eyes of the City as a ” great historical value “.

 

To the director-general of Action heritage, Emilie Vezina-Gold, ” it’s a great opportunity for the State to demonstrate its exemplary work in the preservation of the common good. And this is a great opportunity to ask questions about the desire for the preservation of the public property to render justice to the building and the legacy of social that it embodies “.

 

According to Vicky Langevin, coordinator of the Committee for housing in the Plateau Mont-Royal, ” the vocation of the building for social purposes should be preserved “.

 

Place of interest

 

The place is attracting a lot of interest. A meeting of citizens held on 12 October, attended by about fifty people representing various groups, including the deaf and dumb, representatives of the long tradition of social services offered in these places.

 

The Institute of deaf-mutes was in operation from 1864 to 1978. Here there will also be tenants, of which one of the most prominent was the national poet Louis Fréchette. The building will be sold in 1979 to the Corporation d’hébergement du Québec. Today there is still some social services, including a daycare centre, the Institut Raymond-Dewar for the deaf and dumb, and services related to the reception of immigrants.

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