Walking along the river front, we happened upon The Canada Malting complex which was built in 1904 by David Jerome Spence. It’s now abandoned and in “deep disrepair.” It was fun exploring the area and part of us wanted to go through the hole in the fence and get a closer look but we decided to be good and observe from afar.
The cement silos on the west side of the complex are covered in clay tiles that were manufactured in Minneapolis. This is a rare technique of covering and insulating silos. The other silos were added in the 1940s and used to store barley. The factory outputted 250,000 (110,000 kg) pounds of malt a year. The barley was germinated and stored in buildings along Saint-Ambroise Street.
Work began on the original canal in 1821, it was 14 km (8.7 mi) long and had seven locks, each 30 m (98 ft) long, 6 m (20 ft) wide and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) deep. It officially opened in 1825. In the 1840s, the canal was deepened to allow heavier ships and hydraulic power was utilized by the businesses along the river. This opened the St. Lawrence River to navigation, moving trade from Quebec City to Montreal. The canal was built to help ships bypass the rapids at Lachine and cuts through the southwestern part of the island, it 1970 it was closed to shipping. Lachine was replaced by the St. Lawrence Seaway which opened in 1959. In 2002, Lachine was reopened as a boating recreational area. An environmental reclamation project continues to clean up the polluted canal.
The Malting factory has been abandoned since 1989 when Canadian National stopped rail service to industries in this area of the canal. The clay silos are protected as part of the Lachine Canal National Historic Site.
Montreal did a nice job of preserving their industrial past. This was one of our favorite areas to explore.