FROM BALCONVILLE TO CONDOVILLE? THE POLITICS OF URBAN CHANGE IN POST-INDUSTRIAL MONTREAL

I was sent this article by a friend who knows of my love for Montreal, and my interest in the living style of the now and then and the history in general of Montreal.

When I saw the title “From balconville to condoville…” I knew this would be interesting, I found it interesting enough in sharing the article with you. It speaks of the urban changes of Pointe St-Charles since 1945. The research project is ongoing and maybe you could exchange with the COHDS in making the audiowalk of the neighborhood. I find these type of projects inspiring we need to remember our past to understand the future challenges better and not redo the same errors.

Here is a link to their web site: O POST/INDUSTRIAL MONTREAL

Pointe_St-Charles_Montreal_1967_Gabor_Szilasi

FROM BALCONVILLE TO CONDOVILLE? THE POLITICS OF URBAN CHANGE IN POST-INDUSTRIAL MONTREAL

Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Canada Research Chair in Oral History, Centre d’histoire de Montréal and Parks Canada – Lachine Canal National Historic Site 2012-2014

“From Balconville to Condoville? The Politics of Urban Change in Post-Industrial Montreal” examines urban change in Montreal’s Pointe-Saint-Charles district since 1945. A team based at COHDS is currently interviewing residents of this neighborhood in order to develop an audiowalk and cultural in situ interventions.Do-Art_Foundation_Robin_Hood_St-Henri

This oral history and new media research project, From Balconville to Condoville: The Politics of Urban Change in Post-Industrial Montreal, examines urban change in Montreal’s Saint-Henri, Côte-Saint-Paul, and Point-Saint-Charles districts since 1945, as well as the transformation of the Lachine Canal itself. The area, now part of the Sud-Ouest borough, was once evocatively described as the “City Below the Hill” by late 19th century urban reformers. Working-class and immigrant neighbourhoods coalesced around the industrial district that emerged along a five mile stretch of Montreal’s Lachine Canal. One 1868 observer wrote that “A walk along the banks of the Lachine Canal and the Saint-Gabriel Locks, will convey to the observer a forcible impression of the extent and importanceof the factory interests of the City.” A similar walk today would leave a very different impression. The mills and factories have been demolished or converted into posh condominiums and the Lachine Canal is now a recreational zone operated by Parks Canada. The few remnants of the industrial past that remain provide seeming confirmation that we now live in a post-industrial age.

The combined impact of deindustrialization, suburbanization and the building of super-highways has ravaged the working class districts that adjoin the Lachine Canal, resulting in population decline, unemployment and other social problems. Redpath Factory, active, abandoned and in condo state - Do-Art Foundation 2013  It also inspired community mobilization and resistance. Pointe-St-Charles in particular has become synonymous in Québec with place-based activism. This fierce solidarity stands in sharp contrast to neighbouring Côte-Saint-Paul. Saint-Henri, for its part, consists of various contiguous neighbourhoods. We are particularly interested in Little Burgundy, the historic home of the city’s West Indian population, and Griffintown, once a vibrant Irish working-class community. Both have undergone hard times and controversial attempts at renewal. Zones of affluence have likewise emerged with gentrification and the adaptive re-use of old industrial sites. Public spaces like Atwater Market have been similarly transformed, as has the canal. Montreal’s post-industrial “City Below the Hill” thus represents an opportunity to examine urban change in all of its complexity.

From Balconville to Condoville

 

We at Condo Montreal Blog would love to share the stories of your neighborhood and its history. Please do send us your comments and we will be very happy to share them with the general public. The COHDS would also I am certain be grateful to have more information from the various aspects and anecdotes of your neighborhood.