Montreal may get a new small museum: the old Craig sewage pump station, initially set to be demolished, is to be partially preserved. It would be turned into an industrial heritage museum and interpretation centre.
For those who know Montreal, this is the intriguing boarded-up structure at the foot of the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The structure itself is beyond repairs, but not what lies in its basement: four enormous steam-powered pumps that date from the 1800s, and the now-unused brick sewers that were filled by these pumps.
Heritage Montreal, the group that has been lobbying for the restoration of the site, is hoping that 150 metres worth of these sewers may eventually be opened to visitors, as part of an interpretation centre of the sewers.
Montreal has lost quite a bit of its industrial heritage, so this is a very welcome initiative. But sewers? Indeed, this would make the interpretation centre unique in North America, but it would join an elite group of European cities where a sewer visit is a sought-after tourist attraction: Paris, Vienna, Brussels, or Prague, to name the best-known ones.
It is already possible to take a few steps into Montreal’s very first storm sewer at the Archaeology Museum of Pointe-à-Callière, which is great. But this would be the first museum fully dedicated to sewers. I’d love to see schoolkids visit a place where they can learn more about what happens when you flush.
More info here, here, and here.