Photo du jour: Parc Avenue Eyesore

parc ave abandoned building

Abandoned building on Parc Avenue and Van Horne, August 1st, 2010.


  1. It’s not an eyesore when it’s photographed like that! It’s beautiful!

    I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before it becomes condos, although the length of time that it’s been abandoned I’m guessing there’s some sort of zoning issue, or it’s been annexed by the city for some sort of development perhaps dealing with the tracks… or something to do with the right-of-way of the tracks.

    Anyways, great photo!

  2. This spot, along side the train tracks, overlooking the grey of the city, basking in the crimson hue that is sundown, is the most romantic spot in the city.

  3. Eyesore? Really? That place is one of the more beautiful buildings along the train tracks I’ve seen in town. Aren’t there more worthy buildings out there you could pick on, like some post-war soviet style blocks, or “brutalist” concrete slabs? In my opinion, those cause much more sore eyes. Not something with as much character and colour as that.

  4. This building sits right next to the train tracks, and it is one of a string of (semi) abandoned commercial structures. I don’t know how easy these would be to convert into condos or social housing because they tend to be very deep – you would need to cut some kind of atrium into the middle and have a donut-shaped building. I have no idea what state structurally they are in either.

    It would be cool if they could be converted into parking structures if nothing else – imagine people coming in from the north (or people living in Mile End) could park their cars in one of these things and then take a tram or a bus the rest of the way into the city (or across to Beaubien metro station).

  5. the building isn’t abandoned. there’s a sign from the Rosdev Group on the top corner, the owner. if you go to the Rosdev Group’s website they have a promo photo and basic details about developing the site into office and retail. i believe they’ve started work on part of the lot, but i’m not sure.

    anyway. according to the photos of the proposed development, they’re keeping the bones of the building (brick, windows, foundation) and adding some glass and some extensions. not a completely horrible revamp, all things considered.

  6. I had assumed it was held by speculators, but maybe it’s tied up in court. Enough little tidbits come up that an actual journalist — me, I’m barely even a former imaginary journalist — might be able to make an interesting story out of it.

    According to the rôle d’evaluation, the building is owned by a numbered company, 9180-3304 Quebec Inc. That company has a dispute about real estate currently before the Supreme Court, and the other party is a guy named Cal Moisan. Moisan seems to have been involved in a long and bitter legal wrangle over his family’s stake in a paper-box company that had been sold to Norampac a few years ago — and it does indeed look like Norampac operated out of the building until a few years back — that got into the papers when Lucien Bouchard was dragged into it. 

    Lastly, there is a blog post that outlines how the building has changed hands between a string of numbered corporations. While its conclusions are pretty hysterical, it should be easy enough to check out the transactions in the public record:

    So a bit of googling comes up with impenetrable thickets of lawerly intrigue surrounding a building that used to quietly house cardboard boxes. For now, it’s an eyesore whose only current purpose is to generate graffiti and billable hours.

  7. Thanks DC for this interesting research. No, I suppose it isn’t officially abandoned, but it is certainly being treated as though abandoned at the moment. I have a soft spot for the “forlorn behemoth” aesthetic, but I’m sure this is the kind of scene that sends some folks scurrying to the suburbs…or at least keeps them there. Perhaps that’s their loss…

  8. there’s still a few windows left to break, for those who like to interact with architecture.

  9. Does anyone know if the smaller (2 story?) building in front of it that was torn down (a couple of years ago?), on the Van Horne side, basically enlarging the de facto parking lot, was part of the same holding? When they did that, I thought for a bit that the whole lot might be about to be redeveloped, but besides clearing out some space, nothing else seems to have come of it.

    Along its base there used to be my favorite grafitto, which was sandblasted off some months before the building itself was demolished (in retrospect, why bother?), but was still faintly visible: “HILLBILLIES CALL ME PAT!”

  10. Thanks for the story. Pity that these lawsuits take so long. There ought to be a law. This building has too many brothers and sisters around the city.

  11. Thanks for the wonderful picture Alana, and thanks DC for the fascinating research. If that little section is redeveloped, I really do think that it could become mixed use space – at least for artists. I would hope that somehow the industrial ‘character’ of the buildings could be preserved.

    There was an industrial building on Van Horne a bit farther west (corner de L’epee?) which was converted into condos a few years ago. They basically kept the massing and added another level or two and some other extensions, but they completely covered over all of the original facade! In my opinion, the original building had far more character.

  12. Kaï in CDN: Indeed, the smaller building on the Van Horne side was the heating plant for this one. They had an exterior connection through an angled chute, as well as a shared basement.

    I love the idea of turning this into space for artists to work — something like the Belgo, but with fewer commercial galleries and more studio spaces. More and more Mile-End artists are trying to use the Cuir Dimitri building across the street from this one for this purpose, but it is in terrible shape and has all sorts of infestations. And now that the heating plant is gone, the gravel pit in front would form a lovely park/plaza for socializing and outdoor exhibitions…

  13. Speaking of that building where Dimitri leather is, does anyone know the history of it ? I LOVE this edifice. It’s so cool learning the history of these places and which architect designed it.

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