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2006 05 22
Grand Trunk’s Victorian Exploits
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. In October 2003, Alstom announced a “streamlining” of its operations, pulling out of the Point and consolidating with existing facilities in Sorel-Tracy. The photographs were taken in early 2004 as the last Alstom employees were gradually clearing the premises. At last report, the land and buildings stand idle and abandoned.
[email this story] Posted by Alexandra McIntosh on 05/22 at 03:38 PM

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