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2006 05 27
The Alstom Series: The End 5
By Diana Shearwood

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[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/27
2006 05 26
The Alstom Series: The End 4
By Diana Shearwood

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[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/26
2006 05 25
The Alstom Series: The End 3
By Diana Shearwood

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[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/25
2006 05 24
The Alstom Series: The End 2
By Diana Shearwood

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[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/24
2006 05 23
The Alstom Series: the End
By Diana Shearwood

A second online exhibition for Reading Montréal this month: Diana Shearwood presents images of the abandoned Alstom factory.

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The artist's comment:

In 1997 I withdrew from the stressful and chaotic environment of the special effects software industry. As a means of recovering from its intensity I began to photograph the built environment. The first series entitled the ZONE traces the transformation of a former locomotive repair shop into a high tech design and production space. The second records the glass and titanium surfaces of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao during the early hours of the morning. The third depicts two desolate motels in the California desert. The final complete series, Silo No 5, explores every nook and cranny of a complex of abandoned grain elevators in the centre of Montréal. I was drawn to these isolated spots in part because they contained no people, but also because they are places of great beauty where a person can spend hours, days and months wandering and meditating. I returned to these architectural sites so often that I began to feel possessed by them. Uncharacteristically I visited the Alstom factory only once. It was magnificent yet I shot a single roll (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/23
2006 05 22
Grand Trunk’s Victorian Exploits
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Victoria Bridge, Wikipedia

As today is Victoria Day, if you’re an Anglophone, ou bien la Journée nationale des patriotes, anciennement la Fête de Dollard, si vous êtes francophone, the Victoria Bridge seems an appropriate way to begin a posting. The first bridge to span the Saint Lawrence and the longest in the world at the time of its inauguration, the Victoria Bridge (1854-60) was commissioned by the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR), Montréal’s largest industrial employer in the latter half of the 19th century. Simultaneous to the construction of the bridge, the GTR established railway workshops and repair yards in Point Saint Charles. Both projects contributed to the settlement of the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. In fact, one third of the company’s manufacturing jobs were located in the Point, and by 1880, the Grand Trunk workshops employed 3,000 people.

In 1923, the GTR became Canadian National Railways, now Canadian National, and continued operations in Point Saint Charles through WWII until eventually closing.

Reading Montréal’s second online exhibition begins tomorrow and features images of the former Grand Trunk Railway shops by Montréal photographer Diana Shearwood. Still owned by Canadian National, the site was leased to the French engineering company Alstom in the nineties. (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/22
2006 05 21
Discovered on a Leisurely Bicycle Ride…
By Felicity Tayler

Part 2


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And so we come to the leisurely bicycle ride through Point Saint Charles on the evening of Good Friday (crucifixion day). This is where we discovered an Easter lawn display worthy of any Christmas celebration worth its salt. An abundance of brightly painted plywood eggs and glowing bunny lights emerging out of the murky spring half-darkness. Needless to say, we responded with a sense of wonder and delight regarding this exhibition of such singular dedication.

I can only guess at the initiator’s religious or secular motivations; however, it occurs to me that there may be no mistake in the choice of pagan symbols displayed: Easter eggs celebrating the return of spring - of new life, bunnies as a symbol of fertility... In the neighbourhood of the Point, a little bit of prosperity can go a long way. And a light display is always a great choice to improve on the local industrial landscape.

Felicity Tayler is an information specialist at Artexte Contemporary Art Information Centre and a member of the Centre de recherche urbaine de Montréal (crum). She lives in Saint Henri.
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/21
2006 05 20
Discovered on a leisurely bicycle ride through Point Saint Charles one Friday evening
By Felicity Tayler

Part 1


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Point Saint Charles, one of the first industrial slums of Canada, is part way through a process of gentrification. The origins of the industrial neighbourhood in 19th century unsanitary housing conditions contributed to a higher rate of mortality in Montréal than either New York or Toronto. Fast-forward to the present and the Point (as part of the Arrondissement Sud-Ouest) is the third poorest area of Montréal.

A historical demographic mix of Irish, English, Scottish, French-Canadian, Ukrainians, and Polish immigrants built the Point into a neighbourhood of strong working-class communities. The Catholic, Anglican and Baptist churches in the area served as focal points for these communities. Though much has changed in the Point in over a century, the solidarity and strength of the community remains. The recent defeat of a proposed project to move the Casino (along with anticipated crime and gambling addiction) into the neighbourhood proves the long time residents of the Point are a force to be reckoned with.

Easter is a controversial Christian holy day. It is either considered the most holy of Christian observances (the death and resurrection of Christ following his crucifixion), or a reprehensible reversion to pagan traditions (the worship of (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/20
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