Saturday, July 25, 2015

"We Will Remember Them"------famous words but will we remember the griff

Yikes , almost a skyrise relative to what I recall in Griffintown............(well not quite) but certainly a vast difference. Can you imagine being away for years & arriving in Montreal to have a nostalgic visit..........and while driving through Griffintown you don't even know where you are........Well that's what's happening baby. "The Times They Are a Changing"  Us now considered old guys who remember Montreal the way we like, will sound like lunatics when trying to recall or tell someone of certain areas of Montreal that we knew like the back of our hand...and some young people wonder "what planet is this guy from" People that cannot remember when spruce beer & steamies (ok & toasties too) reigned supreme before they try to convince us that no no no poutine has been around forever.........BS.   Now they are changing the very face of the landscape that we had known forever. It makes some of us not even want to bother to visit our old stomping grounds anymore but prefer to talk with other aging boomers (Montrealer's actually) about what it was really like growing up in Montreal.
Read the following story from today's Montreal Gazette which tells the tale of what I think is just gentrification of the buildings  , never mind the real people who made the Griff (& Montreal) what it was.......Can you imagine 30 years from now when most of us are dead,some person of who knows where is sitting (god forbid a Bar) in some glorified coffee house ,with coffee's costing more than a case of beer.....and talking their version of tough......"Yes I remember when we didn't even have rainbow coloured crosswalks or get this only two restrooms to choose from, ya that's right sonny,only a mens or a womens.........Believe me when I tell you ,you had to be tough in the Griff.........LOL............  Ahhh yes the future. ( God Help Them)
Now read the Gazette story about the changing front of Griffintown.
             .......................HF&RV ..........................................Cheers ! LesF

Here is a vast parking lot, promised to be turned into a park under the Sud-Ouest borough’s urban plan. Therefacing north, a broad vista of Montreal’s cityscape rising from the razed flatlands, likely to soon be obscured by condo towers. Large, low-rise warehouses and factories still remain on the grid of narrow streets; some are handsome heritage red-brick buildings, others ugly, nondescript garages. Only a few small blocks of vintage row houses remain, most homes having fallen to ruin, ripe for demolition, after Mayor Jean Drapeau zoned the area strictly industrial in 1963.
The transformation of the district has been underway for years, with hip new restaurants setting up. Notre Dame W. stretching to Atwater Ave. has become the new strip for fine dining in town. A decor and design district is emerging on lower Peel St.
Everywhere, tidy little structures sit on empty lots, home to sales offices for developers, with their slick model units and even slicker sales pitches.
And people are moving back to Griffintown. Before the condo boom began in about 2004, only 1,500 to 2,000 people lived in the district. New condos are now home to another 5,000 residents — and counting.
To Luc Laroche, an owner of swanky Le Richmond restaurant on Richmond St. south of Notre Dame, the feeling in the area is like that of the Plateau a decade ago. “There was a happiness on the Plateau 10 years ago. Right now, there’s a joie de vivre here,” he said, his enthusiasm contagious, even as he admits he could not live with the constant “kabing, kabang! “of construction.
Laroche and partner Paul Soucie just added a 6,000-square-foot Italian market adjacent to the restaurant, both housed in an 1800s red-brick building that was first a power station, then a textile plant.
The restoration and renovation preserve the past and look to the future through dusty windows lined with lavender plants. Now there are trees, fields and construction pits through those handsome window panes. It’s hard to imagine the landscape tomorrow.
We missed the opportunity to create a world-class project.
“The area is on fire,” said Charles Bizeul, who runs Boucherie Grinder, a butcher shop opened in June by the popular Notre Dame W. restaurant of the same name. Giant carcasses of aged beef beckon (or repel) beneath a vintage-style sign with the notation: “Established 2015.”
Not everyone is enthralled with the flames.
Harvey Lev, a longtime activist and landowner in the area, renovated the 1859 New City Gas landmark, which is now a nightclub, and continues to lobby to save historic buildings.
“It’s a disaster,’’ Lev says of the way Griffintown has risen. And there is no saving it now, he adds.
“It was a money grab for the city. They allowed the developers carte blanche,” he says. “It will turn out to be a disaster for the 28-year-olds and 30-year-olds who bought condos here. They’re going to get screwed.”
There are more nuanced assessments.
Echoing almost everybody with an interest in Griffintown, digital artist Paul-Émile Rioux says there was a lack of broad planning and public consultation from the beginning, in the mid-2000s when Dix30 developer Devimco came in with plans for a major commercial project. That $1.3-billion project was scrapped after the 2008 recession, but the city granted zoning for highrise towers, and Devimco is now building a scaled-back development.
“We missed the opportunity to create a world-class project,” said Rioux, who runs a gallery in a former bank on Notre-Dame. He is also president of the merchants association for the Quartier du Canal, which includes Griffintown, St-Henri and Little Burgundy.
Dinu Bumbaru, policy director of Heritage Montreal, says it’s not just about being against towers.
“The issue of the character of the area is perhaps the more endangered heritage asset you have in Griffintown than individual structures,” Bumbaru said.
“The city can accommodate putting little heritage dots on the map, but overall character is something that can’t be handled by saying, ‘Okay, you’re going to have red brick on the outside of your building.’

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