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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Photo du Jour – Maison Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine

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Maison Louis-Hippolyte-Lafontaine

Once the residence of Prime Minister Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, this house was declared a historical monument in 1987 which effectively saved it from being demolished along with the rest of the overdale neighbourhood.

Heritage Montreal wants to see it made into  some kind of museum commemorating the rocky beginnings of the Canadian Parliament. (After Lafontaine passed a bill granting amnesty to the leaders of the 1837 rebellion against British authorities, Loyalists burnt down the National Parliament – then located in Montreal – and attacked his home in 1849.)

But the owner isn’t interested in turning his property into a history project and the government’s not coughing up the funding, so the building is likely to be “preserved” in its current state of abandonment and decay for the foreseeable future.



  1. Even if it doesn’t become a museum, it would be great to see it at least restored to some degree as a residence.

  2. Edward, I completely agree with you. Heritage designations are such a mixed blessing In this case, while it saved the building from senseless destruction à la Overdale, it also limits and complicates renovation or adaptation of the building, and thus “preserves” it in an unusable state.

    At least the urban exploreres seem to be enjoying the sapce…

  3. Funny how the city never expropriates these types of properties in the name of heritage, but will allow a whole neighborhood to get bulldozed down in the name of progress.

  4. Yes, that was really a pity. I took part in the Save Overdale demonstrations back then. A lot of people who had backed the RCM became deeply disappointed in Mayor Jean Doré over that.

    It was such a charming little neighbourhood, nestled just below René-Lévesque, above the railway line.

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