Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Milk Bottle getting saved .maybe the Cows are coming back two or (too)

Montreal's iconic Guaranteed Pure Milk bottle, currently covered in rust and graffiti, is about to get a makeover, thanks to Heritage Montreal and several soon-to-be-announced sponsors.

Scaffolding is going up around the bottle and work is expected to start by the end of the month on cleaning and repainting the structure, Robert Turgeon, chairman of the board at Heritage Montreal, told Metropolitan News. Turgeon said Heritage Montreal expects to announce the cost of the project and the names of sponsors in late September. The work should be completed by the end of October, he said.

On the scaffolding, workers have installed signs that read, which sends people to a Facebook page about the project.


From Heritage Montreal's file on the bottle (before it found sponsors to pay for its restoration):

The Guaranteed Pure Milk dairy plant, a remarkable Art Deco building which attests to the presence of the milk industry in the heart of Montreal, was built in 1930. It supports a water tank shaped as a giant riveted steel quart of milk 10 metres tall built by Dominion Bridge of Lachine. The milk bottle is almost a poetic emblem of the downtown area, a naïve architectural element which contrasts with the more monumental features of the neighbourhood.

The Guaranteed Pure Milk dairy plant and its milk bottle bear witness to the past presence of the agro-processing industry right in the heart of the metropolis as well as a reminder of the traditional means of delivering milk.

Shut down in the 1990s and used as a site for shooting TV series, the building faces an even more uncertain future with the arrival of the E-Commerce Place. Promoters would preserve only the façade of the building. What will happen to the milk bottle? Moreover, the bottle is suffering from lack of maintenance; the metal is rusting, and its appearance has been affected.

Héritage Montréal intervened as part of a coalition to request that the E-Commerce Place project pay greater attention to its urban environment, and in a manner less devastating to the site’s heritage. Industrial heritage continues to be a subject of concern by the organisation, which wishes to embark on a specific protection project for the milk bottle.

- Andy Riga










                     Restoration underway,..............HF&RV


Sandy Walsh said...


David Flood said...

The Hogg family will be cheering...

Gord Carlington said...

Want guess what will be painted on it ----


Les F said...

Just added a few photos of the old Milk Bottle at the bottom of the's being restored (at least painted) I wonder why ,in this day & age of recyle everything & Conserve everything,.they don't open the top & allow it to fill with rainwater & stat a rooftop garden.//They'd be setting a trend and probably be funded up the whazoo with taxpayers dough,.....a slimey politician would be all over that idea,if it furthered his interest,and then the project would get all the Do-Re-Mi ,it needed, maybe a nice Garden ( sorry I mean 'Greenspace') atop the Farine 5 Roses building,........afterall they only added cleaner dirt over the City Dump in Verdun then planted grass seed,.& buitl some Condos.....
Someone take this idea to Tremblay quick.............. Just send me a royalty check..for the Greening idea,.....hahahahah HF&RV

Les F said...

It seems this article was in yesterday's Gazette,....story by Andy Riga
Early last week, Metropolitan News broke the news that Heritage Montreal had managed to find sponsors to finance the refurbishing of the landmark Guaranteed Pure Milk Co. bottle, which had become a rusting and graffiti-marred eyesore.

Today, Heritage Montreal announced the news in a press release (and this impressive PDF "fanzine") and Heritage Montreal’s Dinu Bumbaru gave Metropolitan News a few more details about plans to clean and repaint the 10-metre-tall, six-tonne structure.

The Guaranteed Pure Milk dairy company erected the cleverly disguised water tower as a publicity stunt in 1930.

The refurbishing will cost about $200,000, with the main sponsor being (we should have guessed): the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec, which represents Quebec milk producers. Other companies providing cash and/or services include Sid-Lee, AkzoNobel, Transoptique, les échafaudages Du-For and Ryan Affaires publiques.

After erecting scaffolding around it last week, workers today installed printed banners around the bottle (see photo above, from the Sauvons la Pinte Facebook group). The cleaning and painting is expected to be completed within a few weeks.

“The bottle is one of those poetic icons that we have in the city,” Bumbaru said. “It has been rusting away for years. We thought it’s time to at least give it a coat of paint so that it stops disappearing. In my childhood we used to have home milk delivery. There’s a human touch to the bottle. And somehow letting it go for us is a sad thing, just as important as letting one of the grand architectural monuments go.”

He said the refurbished bottle will probably say Guaranteed Pure Milk Co. but the final wording will depend on what workers find when they start scratching the bottle’s surface. He said researchers will compare what they find with archival photos.

Bumbaru noted the milk bottle was used in a 1974 movie (Sweet Thing; IMDB listing here). “We have to be careful," he said. “We want to really make sure that we’re not reproducing the stage designer bottle versus the old one. It’s a matter of matching old pictures with the real thing that you can find by scratching the surface. On this milk bottle, it’s the same question that you ask when you’re restoring the Sistine Chapel. The intent is to work as closely as possible with what the original milk bottle looked like (in 1930).”

The owners of the unused building under the bottle have agreed to allow the bottle to be refurbished. But that doesn’t mean it will stay up there forever, Bumbaru said. “A coat of paint will provide the time to find a lasting solution to it,” he said. Should the building owners want it moved, it would have to be relocated.

Some Metropolitan News readers have already weighed in on possible new location (in comments section of this blog posting). If you have any other ideas, post them below.

- Andy Riga
the same photo Guy posted appears in the Gazette story too....So I guess it's saved....................

Sandy Walsh said...

I just added my infamous Verdun Guaranteed Pure Milk Milkman picture to the Milk Bottle site - I'm (curious) to see how this project turns out.