Parks Canada

Parks Canada

September 12, 2005 10:00 ET

Parks Canada: Federal Government to Support Innovative Project to Rehabilitate Historic Montreal Warehouse Store

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 12, 2005) - The Honourable Stephane Dion, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, signed a contribution agreement today that commits the federal government to provide up to $349,994 toward an innovative project to convert a historic Montreal store into an upscale building.

In this project, which will see the building converted into seven rental residential apartments, the federal funding, to be provided through the Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund (CHPIF), will help to preserve many of the characteristic historic and architectural features of Magasin Jesse Joseph.

"Through this Fund, we are reversing the trend that has seen 20 per cent of Canada's historic commercial buildings lost in the last 30 years, and helping to bring these places back to life," said Minister Dion. "Magasin Jesse Joseph is part of the fabric and history of Old Montreal. It - and its wonderful architectural features - will now also be part of Montreal's and Canada's future."

Magasin Jesse Joseph is one of eight warehouse stores that were built in Old Montreal by local businessman Jesse Joseph in the mid-1800s. Conceived by the renowned architect James Springle, the building's design was unique for its time, with large window openings and a facade created from stone pilasters. Today, the proportionalist stone-frame design used by Springle is considered to be a precursor of 20th century rationalist architecture.

Joseph, who became Belgium's consul to Canada in 1850, did not personally manage his eight Old Montreal warehouse stores. Owing to his work to establish trade links between the two countries the buildings were leased to other businessmen, and were primarily operated as wholesale stores.

Built of Montreal's famous grey limestone, and owned by 9143-0751 Quebec Inc. and 9123-2843 Quebec Inc., Magasin Jesse Joseph will retain many of its historic and architectural features as the conversion project proceeds. Its original wood-framed windows, limestone walls and brick attic will all be restored and preserved, as will its interior plank floors. The owners also plan to restore the exterior woodwork to its original colours.

CHPIF is a $30-million national program launched by the federal government in November 2003 as part of the Historic Places Initiative - a federal, provincial and territorial partnership to preserve Canada's built heritage. Taxable Canadian corporations can apply to the fund to be reimbursed for 20 per cent of the eligible costs they incur to rehabilitate a historic property for commercial use, up to a maximum of $1 million.

Prior to the actual transfer of funds, a completed project must undergo an inspection by the certification service provider to ensure it has fully met the eligibility conditions for CHPIF funding.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Brigitte Caron
    Press Secretary
    (819) 997-1441
    National Corporate Communications Branch
    Parks Canada Agency
    Nicole Racette
    National Director
    (819) 953-6782