Odd things around the Darling Foundry

Everyday, on my way to work, I bike by the Darling Foundry. Being a rather eclectic arts centre, it’s not surprising that the area around the building features some very odd things. The first of which is the street in which the building itself is on. Last month, the last block of Ottawa Street between Prince and Queen was shut down to traffic and turned into car-free public space. Picnic tables have been installed and long narrow gardens jut out from the sidewalk. A sign explaining the project was on the side of the building for a couple days but quickly disappeared and there doesn’t seem to be anything on the website so I don’t really know what’s going on with this project. The mock-up on the sign showed the gardens on the street meeting up with the grass they grew on the wall last year but so far nothing more has been done and the website seems to make no mention of it. Hopefully, the project will be finished as this has the potential to be a great public space in an area where there is little.

Around the corner from the foundry, in an empty lot on Queen, stood this very mysterious structure:

A sign by the door (it had been removed when I took the picture above) said simply “Musée Lumière 24/24”. The inside of the chipboard box was pitch black save for the three “exhibits”, all of which used light in some way or another. The first was a combination lock inside a strange glass casing which was lit up by the light outside. Around the corner was a window holding a transparency with a picture of a graffiti covered door further down on Queen. Written on the photo was an excerpt from the website of a condo development being built nearby that described their windows. Around the last corner, the final exhibit was what a friend described as a camera obscura that reflected the image of a building across the street onto the soles of two pair of upside down shoes held up on metal bars. Surprisingly, this even worked at night.

What I liked most about this “museum” was its mystery. It was more or less in the middle of nowhere and had no insignia describing who built it, or why. It was nice having it around as I always had a little museum down the street I could take visitors to for free anytime I wanted .

I took the above picture last Friday and when I went back on Sunday to take a couple more photos, I found this sad sight:

Unfortunatley, the museum has finally been dismantled after being in the same spot for about six months. I’m kicking myself now for not writing this post months ago while I watched the snow beneath it slowly melt away from under it.

Lastly, in the environs of the Darling Foundry, is the Plan Large project. Three billboards (the website shows a fourth but I think it’s since been taken down) have been used to display, instead of advertisements, photography, such as this one:

It’s refreshing to see random and artistic signs lit up along the Bonaventure rather than another ad trying to push another useless product on passing commuters. Two of these signs are on the roof of a building on Duke and another is in front of the New City Gas Building on Ottawa at the corner of Dalhousie.

Many more things can be found around the foundry such as some very eclectic graffiti as well as some interesting public art put up be the foundry or by the city. The Darling Foundry is at 745 Ottawa Street in Griffintown.


  1. Dunno if it’s interesting to keep the mystery, but I happen to know the artist behind the Musée. His name is Paco, he’s from Portugal, and he was in Mtl – living and working in the foundry – as part of an exchange program. He left that installation when his program finished and he moved on to spread his art to other continents.

  2. I think the Darling Foundry is a nice example of how just one multi-functional arts space can generate a lot of creative energy in the surrounding neighbourhood. The same thing happened in Mile End when there was a mass influx of artists in 2002 after they were displaced by downtown development.

  3. D.Foundry is super interesting…
    the fact that international artists are living/working there..rotatin every couple of months (i think its usually 6…)

    The closeness to Griffintown…ohhh, i love that area of the city….it has SO MUCH potential.

    spontaneous, semi-planned, pic-nic outside D.Foundry anyone???

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