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Citizen alert

Former Allion school and annex

55-65, 5th Avenue, LaSalle

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Published on : October 14 2021

Last modified on : October 14 2021

The former Allion School and its annex, two buildings built between 1932 and 1939, have been vacant since 2007. The site, poorly maintained and secured, is gradually becoming an urban wasteland with a deterioration of the integrity of the buildings’ structure and several visible signs of vandalism (broken windows, torn security grills, graffiti, etc.)

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Ancienne école Allion

Source: Laurent Lavoie

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Ancienne école Allion et son annexe

Source: Laurent Lavoie, 2021

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Montreal architect Napoléon Beauchamp designed the Allion School, as well as three other nearby buildings: the Church of Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur, the current Henri-Lemieux Cultural and Community Centre (former Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur School) and the residence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. According to the evaluation of the urban heritage of the borough of LaSalle (in French), carried out in 2005 by the services of the City of Montreal, this sector of the district is “exceptional for LaSalle because it groups together five institutional buildings built by the same architect.” (p. 28) The report adds that it is even more exceptional because it “provides an eloquent illustration of an architect’s practice spread over fifteen years for a single site.” (id.)

For 10 years, projects to renovate or demolish the two buildings have been considered and then abandoned. In 2011, it was a project for residences for autonomous or slightly frail seniors that was submitted, proposing to renovate the existing buildings and build two more on the courtyard lot, totaling about 100 housing units. According to Karine Joly, a journalist for the local media Nouvelles d’ici (in French), the citizens of the neighborhood mobilized to obtain “the opening of a register in September 2011 with 202 signatures”, leading this project to a dead end.

According to the same article, in 2013 the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board submitted an “urgent request for funding” to the Ministère de l’Éducation, des Loisirs et des Sports (MELS) to acquire and demolish the old Allion School in order to rebuild 15 classrooms and a gymnasium in a rapidly growing neighbourhood. A second request in this sense was made to MELS in 2018, still with the objective of demolishing the old school, but this time with a project of 30 classes.

But the citizens of the neighborhood are very mobilized around the future of the former Allion school so that the site is reinvested and meets the needs of the local population. In this sense, the citizen committee “Allions-nous” was formed and has been very active despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, they held a virtual meeting on November 3, 2020 to allow citizens to express themselves on the history of the site, but also on what it could become. Many ideas were proposed by participants, grouped “around a central theme: the need for a multi-use, multi-generational project.” (Nouvelles d’Ici, in French)

  • Municipality or borough

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    LaSalle borough

  • Issues

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    Mechanisms for protection

    Urban Development

  • Owner(s)

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    Public: provincial government

  • Threat(s)

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    Vacant

    No upkeep

    Demand for land, speculation

    Demolition

    Vandalism

  • Conception

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    Napoléon Beauchamp, architect

  • Manager(s)

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    Lester B. Pearson School Board

  • Categorie(s)

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    Institutional

  • Construction year

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    Around 1932-1939

  • Recognition status

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    Located in an area of exceptional heritage value – Institutional complex of Village des Rapides (Bronx)

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