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The reconstruction of 357 de la Commune

in Old Montreal

In 1997, the Daniel Langlois Foundation was planning to establish its headquarters with its Centre for Research and Documentation (CR+D) in the building located at 357 de la Commune Street West in the Old Montreal district.

The building at 357 de la Commune, which had been unoccupied for several years, was then in an advanced state of disrepair. It had just been acquired by Propriétés Terra Incognita Inc. with the intention of restoring it and reinstating it within the urban fabric of Old Montreal, a project scheduled to take two years.

Unfortunately, the work carried out by a contractor at the beginning of the restoration caused a major fire on December 18, 1997. The fire destroyed significant portions of the building, including the tower with its dome, the 4th and 5th floors, in addition to completely burning or damaging the interior of the building leaving only an envelope of blackened stone.

One of the collateral impacts associated with the fire was the impossibility for the Daniel Langlois Foundation to establish it’s headquarters at 357 de la Commune. The prolonged duration needed to complete the extent of the work now required for the entire reconstruction of the building was no longer compatible with the need for the FDL to open its Centre for Research and Documentation slated for 1999.

Since the FDL was initially foreseen to occupy the building once it was renovated, the foundation was involved from the onset in monitoring the renovation of the historical building and a photographic documentation project of the entire restoration process was initiated by the FDL at the time.

Although under the circumstances the foundation could no longer establish its headquarters at 357 de la Commune in 1999, the FDL pursued the photographic documentation project of the building’s reconstruction process and recently published a website to provide public access to a portion of the photographic archives assembled during the reconstruction work:

© 2021 FDL