Big-Box stores were a new sight for me when I moved to North america. I was used to the chaotic beauty of an indian bazaar and was getting familiar with glass encased malls as well. A Big – box store is exactly what its name suggests it to be it is a big store in a box shaped building. I was recently surprised by this little gem tucked away in a small corner of the city. It is not a big box designed to be a store, it has a bit of history behind it !
Montréal’s Angus Shops were opened by Canadian Pacific Railways in 1902 to maintain trains and locomotives. During World War II as many as 12,000 people worked on the site. Working class neighborhoods grew up around the Angus Shops. In the early 1970’sC.P.R. began to close all its maintenance shops.
I am sure it falls under the category of Urban redevelopment (not sure if it can be called adaptive re-use). Former industrial or commercial land, brownfields, blighted or properties owing back taxes, all present opportunities to redevelop sites. Redeveloping sites enables the provision of affordable housing because of the increased density and the use of existing infrastructure.
Today was perhaps not the best day to be out and about with the camera but I was in the area and did not want to miss out on the opportunity.
The wall makes for a very grand entry into the shopping area.
As is common practice , there is an open space with some informative panels about the history of the area.
I think it means something similar to ” reminder of the place and function of the railway company…..Canadian Pacific Railway enabled development of the Rosemont quarter by building Angus factories early in the century”. Please let me know if you can translate it for me.
During World War II as many as 12,000 people worked on the site.
In addition to the commercial area, over 2,500 units of housing were developed over a 10-year period starting in 1984. The neighborhood is a mixed, integrated community of people from different social and ethnic backgrounds. The planned environment respects the traditional Montréal city block, and the scale and architectural design lend a homogeneous quality applicable to both market and social housing.
Weather wise it was not a great day for photography but it was a treat for the architect in me. To see a big- box store with a little bit of history brought a big smile to my face. For additional information on this development please click here.