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Quebec  + Industrial  | 
SAQ) has suspended its $300-million Montreal distribution centre expansion amid concerns about possible unmarked graves at the site.

SAQ Pauses $300M Montreal DC Expansion

The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) has suspended its $300-million Montreal distribution centre expansion amid concerns about possible unmarked graves at the site.

SAQ is the Quebec government’s alcoholic beverages marketer and distributor. Construction work has been paused at the site as an Indigenous women’s group known as the Mohawk Mothers, and the Committee of Duplessis Orphans Victims of Abuse seek an archaeological investigation of the site.

The distribution centre is located in the city’s east end on des Futailles Street, operated by the Sisters of Providence, a Catholic group accused of abuse. During a news conference, the Orphans of Duplessis and Mohawk Mothers said many of the institutionalized children, along with orphans and Indigenous youngsters, were wrongly diagnosed with mental illness and were buried at the site after death.

The former cemetery was exhumed in 1958, but more bodies were accidentally unearthed in 1999, CBC reported, citing newspaper archives. The SAQ has acknowledged the site’s previous use.

The expansion pause came after the Mohawk Mothers and Duplessis Orphans formally asked the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communication via letter “not to undertake the excavation work related to the planned expansion, while an action plan is established,” CBC reported.

According to multiple reports, SAQ has decided not to conduct excavation work until an action plan is developed. Clémence Beaulieu-Gendron, a SAQ spokesperson, told CBC that the Crown corporation wants to “do things right.”

Image: Neuf Architects


Inside The Story

SAQ Quebec Ministry of Culture

About Monte Stewart

Monte Stewart serves as Content Director - Canada for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monte provides daily news coverage of major Canadian commercial real estate markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. He has written about the real estate sector for various media outlets and Avison Young since the early 2000s. In addition, he has covered sports, general news and business for several leading wire services and publications, including The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, Research Money, The Daily Oil Bulletin, Natural Gas World and The Toronto Star. Monte is active in his community as a youth basketball coach and raises funds for such charitable causes as Movember.

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  • ◦Policy/Gov't
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