During most of the 20th century, the Canadian Pacific Railway factory was the lifeblood of the neighborhood, employing 12,000 locals. The industrial buildings were once guarded with a closed entrance, and employed the many families that lived in the homes built around it. As the train transportation industry declined after the 1970s, the neighborhood became more and more sparsely populated, and the factory finally closed its doors in 1992. Renovation of the neighborhood began in the early 1980s by the Rosemont Housing Committee, who focused on creating a socially mixed residential area.
Since the factory and its buildings were such an important part of many Montrealer’s history, the industrial site was redeveloped to respect as much of the original complex as possible. The main factory was repurposed into an office complex, housing mostly technology companies. The interior still has the industrial windows and catwalks that workers looked up to each day one hundred years ago.
Loblaws, a popular supermarket chain, located a giant superstore in the CPR Angus Locoshop. The parking lot which connects the Loblaws with the office complex is encased in the walls of a former factory building. The brick enclosures, rising three stories high, are supported by steel buttresses and pay tribute to the history of the site.
Keeping in the vein of adaptive reuse and sustainability, any new building that is developed on the site must meet LEED certification at the highest level possible.
The new neighborhood of Rosemont offers a comfortable neighborhood for low to moderate income residents, while preserving an important and sentimental park of Montreal’s industrial past.
Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat