Historic stone wall on Hôtel-Dieu site demolished without permission, city says


The City of Montreal is asking the Center hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) to rebuild – at its expense – part of a 157-year-old historic wall that was demolished without authorization last fall.

The city said the demolition was carried out without permission from the Ministry of Culture and Communications, which contravenes section 201 of Quebec’s Cultural Heritage Act.

The wall, located between two parking lots on the Hôtel-Dieu site between avenue du Parc and rue Saint-Urbain, was pulled down on September 16, 2017.

The part of the wall that was destroyed can be seen here in red. (Google)

Although the city has declared not to authorize the demolition, the CHUM maintains that the city knew as early as May 2017 that it would take place.

The hospital added that since the city owns the property, it was up to the City of Montreal to obtain the necessary authorization from the Ministry of Culture.

The wall was 47 meters long and almost five meters high.

The hospital said it knocked down the wall because it showed signs of weakening.

“It was a safety issue for patients and visitors to the CHUM. We couldn’t wait, ”said Frank Pigeon, director of technical services at the hospital.

He added that rebuilding the wall in the original style will be a challenge, as the original stones have not been preserved.

“They were collapsing when we took them out,” Pigeon said.

The city asked the CHUM to rebuild the demolished portion of the wall at its expense, which could be difficult since the original stones have not been preserved. (FRIEND)

Heritage advocates have criticized the move, saying it should have gone through the proper channels.

“There is a total lack of respect for the identity of this property,” said Robert Turgeon, General Manager of Heritage Montreal.

“We are talking about the beginnings of the French presence in North America with the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal,” he said.

“This goes against the protection and enhancement of heritage,” added Christine Gosselin, member of the City’s executive committee responsible for heritage and culture.

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