Lost Rivers part 2

Not long ago, we looked into the practice of daylighting long-gone rivers across the world (http://lesamisdemeadowbrook.org/uncategorized/daylighting-rivers/). Similar projects are now taking shape right here in our city. Dreams have been inspired by old maps of Montreal showing some thirty streams and rivers that have disappeared, and work is under way to make the dreams reality by reviving some of our own little rivers.

The Bleue Montréal project of the World Wildlife Federation in Quebec studied five Montreal boroughs where it will be possible to daylight lost rivers, create new ones or establish blue alleys. The organization has prepared feasibility studies for the St. Pierre River in the Sud-Ouest borough, the St. Martin River in Ville-Marie and the Provost River in Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension. The director of WWF-Canada in Quebec, Sophie Paradis, is leading the project in collaboration with local groups and a host of experts, including Isabelle Thomas of the Université de Montréal.

Parks and green spaces to be linked in Eastern Montreal with the Ruisseau-de-la-Grande-Prairie nature park project

The Sauvons le ruisseau Molson Coalition is spearheading the Ruisseau-de-la-Grande-Prairie nature park project, an 8 km-long blue-green alley to run between the Port of Montreal and the Back River, following the watershed of the Molson River that flowed through Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, St. Leonard and Anjou. The project would link 15 parks, marshes, ponds, wooded areas and brush land that can be found along the river bed. (The Molson River was covered in the 1950s.)




The Craig pumping station under the Jacques-Cartier bridge

And to unite them all, there is the project of the Comité pour la sauvegarde des pompes Craig that would see the old Craig pumping station transformed into an interpretation center on lost rivers and underground infrastructure. (The pumping station is that quirky stone building with a very high chimney under Jacques-Cartier bridge, stuck between Viger and the Ville-Marie Expressway – it even bears the Montreal crest).

Danielle Plamondon and  Pierre-Luc Rivest are two « drainers » who have explored  the station and the adjoining brick collector. (The St-Martin river was diverted into the Craig collector in the 19th century.) Built in 1887, the pumping station was meant as a solution to spring flooding: the station would pump flood waters to the St. Lawrence River and spare downtown residents . Although the building is abandoned since 1987, it still contains much of the original equipment.



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