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Priority site

Van Horne Warehouse

1, Van Horne Avenue

1602

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Héritage Montréal, 2022

History of the site

The iconic Van Horne Warehouse was built in 1924 on the narrow rectangular lot between the Canadian Pacific Railway and Van Horne Avenue, facing St. Lawrence Boulevard.

It was built by Wilfrid Duquette for his warehousing company, the St. Lawrence Warehousing Company, which owned the building until the early 1960s. Thereafter, several owners and occupants succeeded one another, but the warehousing vocation remained, notably Docu-Dépôt and Docudata.

Since the 1990s, the sector has undergone a major transformation, particularly with deindustrialization. Large industries are leaving the area, and new uses are appearing. Along Van Horne, under the viaduct and near the railroad, citizen initiatives are also appearing, aiming to invest these places that were closed to the population for a long time. The Champ des possibles, Kabane 77, the multifunctional track (since 1994), and the skatepark are all initiatives that allow citizens to transform urban life near the railroad.

 

Gabor Szilasi, 1981, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

Specific characteristics

A landmark in the Montreal landscape, the Van Horne Warehouse is characterized by its minimal fenestration in rows. Indeed, the brown brick envelope is pierced only by a few narrow horizontal windows, testifying to its continuous use as a warehouse. Also noticeable is the exposed concrete structure, which gives rhythm to the building’s facades.

The painted signs on the building recall its former uses and owners.

Finally, the iconic water tower that tops the warehouse is a major landmark for Montrealers. Visible from afar, it is a reminder of the area’s industrial past – being the last one in the neighborhood.

 

Le Devoir, 2022

Threats

The Van Horne warehouse is located north of Mile End, in the Plateau-Mont-Royal. It is an area in transformation, as seen in the redevelopment of the area under the Van Horne overpass and the development of the bicycle network. Just north of the building, the Mile-Ex / Marconi-Alexandra sector is also a rapidly developing area. Many are therefore interested in the transformation of the former Van Horne warehouse.

It is in this context that a first transformation project was presented in 2013. The new owner then attempted to deploy a mixed commercial and residential redevelopment project where the facades would be almost entirely glass. The project did not materialize, thanks in particular to the intervention of Héritage Montréal, which placed the Van Horne Warehouse on its list of 10 sites to watch for the year 2014.

Then, in January 2023, a new owner proposed a mixed-use project combining retail, offices and a hotel. The project would transform the entire building, including the addition of numerous windows on the facades.

The project is subject to a public consultation with Montrealers, who can express their attachment to this emblematic building, but also their vision for the neighbourhood. The results of the consultation will be presented in the spring of 2023.

Actions of Heritage Montréal

In 2014, Héritage Montréal placed the Van Horne Warehouse on its list of 10 sites to watch for the coming year.

In 2023, in the wake of the presentation of the new project and the ensuing public consultation, Héritage Montréal sent a letter to the elected officials of the boroughs concerned (Plateau-Mont-Royal and Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie) as well as to the local historical societies in the area (Mile End Memories, Société d’histoire du Plateau-Mont-Royal and Société d’histoire de Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie).

 

Héritage Montréal, 2022

  • Municipality or borough

    Plateau-Mont-Royal Borough

  • Issues

    Mechanisms for protection

    Urban Development

  • Owner(s)

    Private : Rester Management

  • Threat(s)

    No upkeep

    Lack of knowledge

    Demand for land, speculation

    Inappropriate/incompatible use

    Vandalism

  • Conception

    Duquette and Patenaude, building contractors

  • Manager(s)

    Owner

  • Categorie(s)

    Industrial

  • Construction year

    1924

  • Recognition status

    Inventoried : Témoin architectural significatif (TAS)

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