Montreal monastery’s fire continues to burn causing huge diaster, say heritage advocacy group

Monastère du Bon-Pasteur on fire. Image credit: @MichelleSetlak1

Montreal/CMEDIA: With fire reportedly continuing to burn Monastère du Bon-Pasteur in downtown Montreal Friday, Taïka Baillargeon,the assistant policy director for Heritage Montreal, was reported describing it as a “huge, huge disaster.”

 Damage to the historic monastery near the corner of Sherbrooke and de Bullion streets was accessed by the Provincial and municipal officials Friday morning at the site.

Fire department officials said they don’t believe it will be a total loss.

The future of the nearly two-century-old building and all its holdings is shrouded in doubt as in less than 10 days, the monastery was set to be the venue for the Concours Prix d’Europe, a week-long singing competition.

No one has been seriously hurt in the fire that broke out at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

“You can see, behind us, it’s still burning,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said just before noon, at a news conference also attended by Quebec Culture Minister Mathieu Lacombe and  Montreal fire department Chief Richard Liebmann. “It’s an incredible sadness. It’s a magnificent space.”

A multi-service centre, the building included a seniors’ residence, a housing co-operative, a daycare centre and condominiums, as well as cultural space. 

Besides serving as a symbol of the city’s past, it’s also been a success story of converting the historic institution into a vibrant gathering space for Montrealers, said Taïka Baillargeon,the assistant policy director for Heritage Montreal, an organization that works to promote and preserve the city’s cultural architectural heritage and added,

“It still stands as an example of what we should do in terms of re-using our historic buildings.”

Housed in the monastery, Heritage Montreal’s group’s archives may have been lost, said Baillargeon.

A special air quality statement, warning of increased pollution in Montreal because of the smoke was issued by Environment Canada,

Firefighters were still trying to find ways to get to the monastery’s roof, where the fire started nearly 20 hours after arriving at the scene.

#MontrealMonasteryFire; #MonastèreduBonPasteur; #HeritageMontreal