For the last few years, St- Henri, in the southwest of Montreal has slowly become the place to live for twenty-somethings, with a seemingly endless array of new bars, cafes, and restaurants popping up. But the closer you get to the Lachine Canal, which runs at the lower part of the neighbourhood, the closer you get to the area’s roots. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this area of St-Henri was home to several industries including tanneries, textile and malting factories. Though many of the old buildings have since been destroyed and others converted into lofts and condos, one that remains is the abandoned malting factory on St-Remi street.
Completed in 1904 and abandoned since 1989, the malting factory (and its giant Silos) is an eye-sore for some, but for others, myself included, it’s a prime example of how urban decay can prove interesting. It’s fenced off for safety reasons, but it’s not uncommon to see people milling around the gates, trying to get a good picture of the graffiti, broken windows, or the building itself. I like to look at it and wonder what it and the surrounding area used to look like in all of its former glory. The city is talking about making a few changes to the district, but hopefully they’ll leave this heritage site untouched.