Fonds Milton Parc
The Milton Parc fonds, 1962 – 1989, documents the Société du patrimoine urbaine de Montréal’s (SPUM) planning, design and renovation of Montreal’s historic Milton Parc neighbourhood.
Recognized as one of the largest co-operative rehabilitation projects completed in Canada, the Milton Parc housing project (1979-1982) renovated over 135 historic buildings and 597 dwelling units within Milton Parc’s 6-block radius. These extensive renovations aimed at preserving the district’s urban and historic landscape while also maintaining the affordability of housing within the Milton Parc area. Initially privately-owned, Milton Parc was converted into a co-operative neighbourhood in which ownership of individual homes was collectively shared by 14 co-operatives and 8 non-profit organizations.
Built between 1860 and 1900, the historic neighbourhood is bordered by Avenue des Pins, Sherbrooke Street, Robert Bourassa Boulevard (then University Street) and Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Milton Parc, in particular, attracted Concordia Estates Holdings Ltd who, by 1969, had purchased approximately 97% of the neighbourhood. In 1971, Concordia Estates launched a 3-phase urban renewal project, La Cité, which proposed the demolition of Milton Parc for the construction of an extensive hotel-residential and commercial complex.
In response, Milton Parc residents founded the Milton Parc Citizens’ Committee (MPCC) to protest Concordia Estates’ development. However, by 1972, Phase 1 of La Cité was well underway; 255 residential homes were demolished. After the completion of Phase 1 of La Cité in 1977, Concordia Estates subsequently sold the remaining two-thirds of Milton Parc to a new company, Paxmil. In 1979, the MPCC together with Héritage Montréal secured the acquisition of Milton Parc’s remaining residential units. In that year, Héritage Montréal persuaded representatives of the Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de logement (SCHL) to purchase Milton Parc from Paxmil for $ 5.5 million, thereby securing the district from future developments.
Materials found in this fonds are extensive, ranging from the MPCC’s resistance movement against Concordia Estates in the 1960s, to the planning and execution of the Milton Parc housing project in the 1980s. The fonds contains an extensive collection of architectural drawings, consisting of preliminary drawings and working drawings that are unique to the specific renovations made to each of the Milton Parc buildings respectively. Photographs and slides illustrate street views of the district and the interior and exterior views of buildings prior to and after renovations were completed.
Textual records consist of correspondence and contracts between the different housing-cooperatives, non-profit organizations, government agencies, architects and consultants involved in the design and execution of Milton Parc housing project. The fonds also includes preliminary architectural plans, renovation estimates, site meeting minutes, inspection reports, and onsite instructions. Meeting minutes, annual reports, and budgets of the Société du patrimoine urbaine de Montréal (SPUM), La Société D’Amélioration Milton Parc (SAMP), the Groupe Ressources techniques de Milton Parc (GRT), and the Gestion Sainte-Famille (GSF) are also included in the fonds. This collection also comprises of publications and newspaper articles that relate to Milton Parc as well as records that document the MPCC resistance movement against Concordia Estates.
Artefacts in the fonds consist of a model of Milton Parc (circa. 1970), an aluminum casing holding two large plans of Milton Parc and 8 framed posters that outline the conditions of the Milton Parc purchase, the boards of directors for both SAMP and the GRT, and the organizations involved in the project. The fonds also includes 3 official seals of SPUM, SAMP, and the GRT as well as 2 rubber stamps belonging to SAMP and the GRT. The 2 audio cassettes recount the inauguration of Milton Parc in 1983.
This fonds has not yet been arranged.
Société du patrimoine urbaine de Montréal (SPUM) was a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by Phyllis Lambert and Héritage Montréal.
After securing the purchase of Milton Parc, the Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de logement (SCHL) entrusted temporary ownership of Milton Parc to SPUM. As Milton Parc’s provisional proprietor, SPUM was responsible for planning, managing and executing the Milton Parc co-op renovation project. In collaboration with Milton Parc residents, SPUM established a plan of action which addressed the feasibility and objectives of the project and assessed the finances needed to proceed with renovations. In 1980, the Action Plan was submitted to and approved by the SCHL. SPUM’s board of directors was comprised of Phyllis Lambert, James Raymond, Jean-Marc Côté Pouliot, Mark Feldman, James McGregor and Robert Cohen as well as two appointed representatives directly from Milton Parc’s community. In October 1980, SPUM’s ownership of Milton Parc was transferred to a newly established non-profit organization: La Société D’Amélioration Milton Parc (SAMP). SAMP’s board of directors was similar to its predecessor and consisted of Phyllis Lambert, James Raymond, Jeanne Wolfe, James McGregor, Daniel Mettarlin, Adele Isaac, Dimitri Roussopoulos, Richard Phaneuf, and Robert Cohen.
The Groupe Ressources techniques de Milton Parc (GRT), a non-profit organization consisting of personnel skilled in administration, architecture, and social animation, was established to assist SPUM/SAMP. The aim of the GRT was to provide technical support and resources, to organize the project’s finances, to establish clear communication with the Canadian government and to assist in arranging the community into various co-ops and non-profit organizations. Although SPUM/SAMP was the official governing body of the project, the GRT regularly made day-to-day decisions.
Milton Parc residents were organized into housing co-operatives or non-profit associations; these organizations allowed residents to have control over the renovations and maintenance of their homes. Each co-op was responsible for a certain number of buildings and residential units in the Milton Parc neighbourhood. Milton Parc was comprised of the following non-profit housing co-operatives and associations: Du Nordet, Milton Parc, Le Petite Cite, Sainte Famille (Phase 1 and 2), Concerto (Phase 1 and 2), La Tours de Alentours, Les Tourelles, Du Chez-Soi, Rue des Artistes, L’Escale, L’Alliance, La Petite Hutchison, Les Colonnes, Les Jardins, 55- 65 Jeanne-Mance (2 phases), Porte Jaune, Maisanous (I, II and III), Village Jeanne-Mance, Allegro, Sérénité, 3700 Parc, Bon Berger, Société de développement communautaire (SDC) and La Voie Lactée.
In addition to federal funding acquired from the SCHL, the Quebec Government and the City of Montreal also financed the Milton Parc project through programs run by the Société d’habitation du Quebec (SHQ) and the Service de la restauration des logements de la Ville de Montreal.
In 1987, The Quebec National Assembly passed the “Declaration of Co-ownership,” which transferred ownership of Milton Parc to its co-operatives and non-profits organizations. The Communauté Milton Parc (CMP), a co-operative housing network consisting of representatives from these various co-operatives and organizations, was established as the collective governing body of Milton Parc.
The fonds was donated to the Canadian Centre for Architecture by the Société du patrimoine urbaine on April 28, 1988. Portions of the archive were received by the CCA in 1988, 1989, 1990, 2003, and 2016.
There were also two separate donations that were added to the archive:
August 21, 1990 gift of Mark Nader – comprises of 2 models
November 24, 2014 gift of Perry Shearwood – consists of 28 documents relating to the citizen’s protest of Milton Parc (1971-1973)
Montréal Île de Montréal Québec Canada
When citing the collection as a whole, use the following citation:
Milton Parc fonds
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.
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