780 Saint Remi

Now almost famous building at the heart of the expropriate and demolish issues at the core of the government’s Turcot plan. Couple of articles in French discuss the building and it’s occupants here and here. I really like how Kate over at Montreal City Weblog summarized the situation, “…the kind of folks the city likes to pay lip-service to in discussions of creative capital, but moves aside easily when big projects come along.”
I have been lucky enough to visit the building on a number of occasions and have met a lot of the residents. There are many interesting people living in 780. Maybe it takes a special type to live so close to a freeway, the Turcot wilderness beckoning from beyond the ramps stretched out in it’s vastness, an alternate universe to the endless elevated hum of vehicles rushing to places elsewhere, anywhere but here, the sounds of industry and another time echoed by freight trains passing through and the energetic ding ding ding of the street barriers further down Saint Remi, but it is also a community.
I participated in a one day photography exhibition along the walls of the first floor corridor last June. It was pretty cool. And that might make me a little biased, but you won’t find more creativity living in one building, not in Pointe Saint Charles, not even in Griffintown! 780 Saint Remi is the western tip of the (Griffintown) Cultural Corridor which runs through the SudOuest burrough.
Here are some views from the roof.

Village des Tanneries. The street going towards downtown on the left is Cazelais, the left side of which was to be demolished under the original plan, though it now appears that most may be saved. Sadly, that construction tower is putting up an 8 story building that will just block this view.

Train going in to Dead Dog Tunnel. This was taken on a Saturday and those ramps were closed to traffic while some work was being done. There is always work being done at Turcot.

According to this page not a lot is known about the history of the building.
Two of my favorite pictures I have taken of 780.

Montreal needs to save this building for all kinds of good reasons. The MTQ wanting to build a dysfunctional freeway that will hurt the city is not a good reason to lose a treasure such as 780 Saint Remi! I urge everyone who reads this to go for a visit, take in the surroundings, and be amazed!

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