corridorculturel.co Judith’s everything you need to know about culture in Griffintown
Check out this beautiful Tour of Griffintown created by G. Scott MacLeod. Video
New City Gas Company
In direct competition with the Montreal Gas Light Company which had been supplying electricity and gas to the City of Montreal since 1837, the New City Gas Company was founded in 1847. The company which produced gas by burning coal, went on to acquire the assets of the Montreal Gas Light Company in 1848 (Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Molson, Thomas). It was the time of the industrial revolution with power generation a key concern, power manufacturers were engaging in mergers, take-overs and changing their names with such regularity that it is difficult to disentangle all the details. On March 28th, 1901, Herbert Samuel Holt negotiated the merger of the Gas company on Ottawa Street with the Royal Electric Company and the Montreal, Light, Heat and Power Company was formed (Montreal History, 2010).
Based on the Goad plan of 1890, the original complex had many more buildings (Maître d’oeuvre de l’histoire, 2006) but although only two of those buildings remain, the site is considered to be of exceptional historic value by Heritage Montreal (2009). Both remaining buildings are of red brick with stone. The first building in the complex, situated at 172 Dalhousie Street and 950 Ottawa Street, was built according to the design of John Spiers around 1847-1848 and was enlarged in 1861. The former gazometer at 141 Ann Street, designed by John Ostell, also features churchlike stone buttresses and it is not surprising that Ostell, who is well known for having also designed the Custom House in Old Montreal and the McGill Arts Building, also designed several churches (Ville de Montréal, Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine, Division patrimoine et toponymie, 2007). According to Heritage Montreal and the Mechanic’s Institute, of which he was a member, Ostell served both as a board member and as president of the New City Gas Company.
Industrial to this day, the property has been owned for the past several decades by Harvey Lev, CEO of Techno-Lith Ltée, a company that specializes in the processing and selling of fine paper and employs nearly twenty people. For half a dozen years the site also housed a gallery, art en majuscule, which featured local artists in upwards of 14 shows per year. As a result of permit difficulties, the gallery closed its doors in 2005. The Ann Street building is home to a number of art studios and, throughout the complex, frequently under the rubric of the Cultural Corridor of Griffintown, a community initiative in which Lev is heavily implicated, community and cultural events are regular occurences.