We recently painted historic mural for District Griffintown's Ilot-10 project. The developers asked us to create a tribute to the rich heritage of the district worker.
After a search in the archives and several days of composition and execution, here it is:
The first panel depicts electricians of the Montreal Light, Heat and Power, the company that bought the Lachine Rapids Hydraulic and Land Co. It also contains a modern train passing over the railway bridge to the Lachine Canal, representing progress towards a new future for Griffintown.
On the second panel we see the Morrisburg, the Lachine Rapids Hydraulic Land Co. Kander & Paper Stock building, the Montreal Lachine Railroad and the token used on this rail.
The Morrisburg was built as a light grain carrier and operated the Port of Montreal around 1904. Known HMC No. 17, the ship was converted into a ferry with the installation of a Dutch Kromhout diesel engine built in 1916. The boat was operated by the Transport Company Morrisburg-Waddington and was captained by Douglas Cassel . One of the many boats that have criss-crossed the Lachine Canal during the industrial era of Griffintown.
The Lachine Rapids Hydraulic and Land Co. Kander & Paper Stock building is located at 300 De La Montagne on a forked street section. Founded in 1894 and inaugurated in 1897, the Lachine Rapids Hydraulic and Land Co. was the second largest hydropower company. In 1903, LRH & LC was purchased by Montreal, Light, Heat and Power Company, which in 1944 was absorbed by the Hydro-Electric Commission of Quebec. Kander Paper Stock Company Ltd appears in the directory address around 1927-1928. The building has undergone extensive restoration in recent years and currently houses the headquarters of the Magenta photo studios.
And the Montreal Lachine Railroad began operations November 19, 1847 between the Bonaventure station in Montreal and the St. Lawrence River. Built to bypass the Lachine Rapids, it was 12 km long. The railway merged with the Lake St. Louis and Province Railway in 1850, taking the name of Montreal And New York Railroad. In 1857, it merged with the Railway Champlain and St Lawrence and was eventually absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railway. The Lachine Canal and the Montreal Lachine Railroad were used as physical boundaries delimiting the boundaries of Griffintown. They are also responsible for positioning Montreal as industrial capital at that time.
On the third panel we see the other side of the Lachine Montreal Railroad token, the Montreal Street Railway Central in 1984 and the Canadian National Railway swivel bridge.
In 1867 the Lachine Canal built their first swinging bridge. Historians say it was built with wood and replaced with a metal version 1876. In 1912, the Dominion Bridge Company replaced the old structure with the Canadian National Railway bridge. By 1930, the restructuring of railway tracks ended the utility of the swing bridge.
The Montreal Lachine Railroad token was used by Native Americans and workers of the Lachine Canal, which mainly comprised the third class on the rail network. It represents the weekly routine of these brave men who built the first infrastructure in Griffintown. Upon boarding they were strung on a wire by the driver. This is why you can see a hole in the center of each token. Many of these chips were printed at St-Lambert in 1862.
Located on William Street and fueled mainly by coal, the Montreal Street Railway Central produced electricity for the Montreal tramway. You can still see the remains of this ancient transport network at the corner of Peel and Wellington in the form of rails embedded in the street.
The last panel shows the Dow Brewery in 1808, the famous Farine Five Roses sign, previously known as Ogilvy Flour, and the other half of Swivel Bridge.
We chose to keep the black and white shades from the original images and let transpire the raw concrete wall to represent the industrial aesthetics of the neighbourhood. We hope this mural will inspire the citizens of Montreal to learn more about this area rich in history that has positioned our city as a center of North American economic activity.