Bassins du Nouveau Havre

Description of project


In collaboration with Groupe Cardinal Hardy.

What used to be Canada Post’s postal sorting center, located at 1500 Ottawa Street, occupies a vast ground of 9.6 hectares on the accesses of the Lachine canal in the South-west borough. Bordering the downtown area of Montreal, near the Atwater market, the Cité du Multimédia and the archaeological site Pointe-des-Seigneurs, the site in question is in Griffintown sector, a district in deep transformation. On a broader scale, the site also belongs to Havre de Montreal, a vast territory integrating the whole of the neignbourhoods situated between the downtown area and the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

Today, the 1500 Ottawa Street site is occupied by a vacant building of approximately 60 500 square meters. This imposing building and its installations rest on four embanked basins, remnants of the industrial past of the Lachine canal. Indeed, the site is associated to the old inner harbour of Montreal, formerly composed by the basins downstream from the Saint-Gabriel lock.

In April of 2007, the government of Canada entrusted to the Canada Lands Company (CLC) the replanning of five federal properties located in Montreal’s harbour. This project, known as Nouveau Havre de Montréal, includes more than 45 hectares, including the old postal sorting center, the Pointe-du-Moulin and its #5 Silo as well as other grounds in Cité du Havre. The CLC’s project of Nouveau Havre de Montréal takes part in the orientations put forward by the Société du Havre de Montréal, formulated according to three axes of intervention :

The reappropriation of inshore space : to give back the river to Montrealers ;
The reappropriation of urban space : to rebuild the unstructured sectors of the harbour to create an animated environment ;
Sustainable development : to conceive the future of the harbour according to a sustainable urban development prospect.

(Le havre de Montréal Vision 2025, Société du Havre de Montréal, 2004)

The replanning of 1500 Ottawa Street constitutes the first milestone of the Nouveau Havre de Montréal. The CLC proposes, according to a participative process integrating the vision of the site’s actors and the municipal authorities, to create a mixed, dense and animated urban environment. The 1500 Ottawa Street site will thus accommodate a range of dwellings and services answering the requirements of today’s families, the residents of the neighbourhood and the future users.

In order to conceive a development program carrying this vision, Groupe Cardinal Hardy, in collaboration with L’OEUF, was elected by the CLC as a planning consultant. The services offered by these firms consist of planning, conceiving and supervising the preparation of an overall plan for the redevelopment of 1500 Ottawa Street, called les Bassins du Nouveau Havre.

The elaboration of the master plan is preceded by an urban analysis (historic, landscape, physical, etc). The privileged installation scenario results from this analysis as well as from orientations and from the program of development defined by the CLC.

Urban analysis

The Bassins du Nouveau Havre project raises many and important stakes. The whole of the elements which characterize it (localization, morphogenesis, historical context, etc) induce a series of opportunities to seize, but also certain constraints. Particularly, the old postal sorting center rests on four old basins of the canal, embanked since the 1960’s. Their possible clearing, in all or partly, opens interesting possibilities for planning, but also raises the issue of managing the contaminated soil. The historical and landscape analysis, as well as the study of the accessibility and service road to the site, as to the neighbourhood, make it possible to better seize the patrimonial and identity value of the site to be transformed. The site is vast, however, it fits in an existing bourough in transformation. This neighbourhood already offers a good number of services, but also presents certain needs. To understand the identity and the role of the project in its neighbourhood is of primary importance in order to define a development program.

Development objectives

The objectives of the integration of the present needs as future for the community are thus complementary for the purposes of highlighting a rich heritage, witness of the historical importance of Montreal.

The following orientations guide the creation of the project :

To affirm the site’s membership to the pole des Seigneurs / Saint-Gabriel of Lachine canal and its role in the formation of the inner harbour of Montreal;
To create friendly and secure bonds between the site, the neighbourhood, Le Havre and the downtown area to open the site to environment which border it;
To develop the site programming in balance with the activities and present needs, as well as future needs of the neighbourhood ;
To favor an optimal occupation of the site to offer generous public spaces, revealing of the place’s genius;
To develop ecologically responsible strategies to ensure the management of the contaminated soil present on the site and to preserve, as far as possible, its archaeological remnants ;
To mark the site as a key element between the canal and the city, enhancing its bordering landscape and its urbanity ;
To offer a diversity of residential typologies, including accessible units, in order to accommodate households with children while ensuring the economic viability of the project ;
To count on a LEED-ND platinum certification, in order to carry out an innovative and exemplary project in terms of environmental protection, of improvement of quality of life, of economy of the natural and collective resources.

The preceding orientations support the creation of an environment privileged for living, working and leisure activities in a strategic sector of the city. Bassins du Nouveau Havre is an integrated collective project. It contributes to the competitiveness of the metropolis as well as to the wellbeing of the social background and environmental of which it forms part.