“Here, it was a contaminated wasteland with railway tracks and containers,” says Christian Yaccarini.

A public square, condos, restaurants and businesses: could we believe it? “Above all, you had to want,” adds the man who is considered the project manager of the revitalization of the Technopôle Angus, the 25th anniversary of which we are celebrating.

Transforming a former industrial wasteland into a living environment was easier to dream of than to make a reality. “In the early 1990s, it was a disaster in eastern Montreal. The factories were closing,” says the president and CEO of the Angus Development Corporation.

At the time, Christian Yaccarini worked at the Community Economic Development Corporation (CDEC) of Rosemont–Petite-Patrie. “In September 1991, we learned that the Angus Shops were closing,” he recalls.

The Angus Workshops were built between 1902 and 1904 near the railway of its owner, the Canadian Pacific. Thousands of workers worked there and gave birth to the Rosemont district.

When CP stopped producing railroad equipment there, it considered making high-end residences. “With 20% unemployment in the neighborhood, that’s not what we needed. We needed jobs,” says Mr. Yaccarini.

With a view to economic recovery, the CDEC then had the idea “a little crazy at the time” of acquiring the land. We skipped steps, but the CP ended up selling the land to the CDEC which created the Angus Development Corporation (SDA).

At the time, specialized industrial parks were in vogue. But for the board of directors of the SDA, it was not necessary to follow suit. “When you specialize in a sector and there is a crisis, you take a hit,” illustrates Mr. Yaccarini, recalling the bankruptcy of Nortel Networks.

The SDA took a “multi-sector approach” with Quebec SMEs rather than multinationals “with one business owner working on site.”

Companies like Alto Design, PMT, Effigis, Octasic and lg2 call Technopôle Angus their home. The SDA then developed the urban character of the area by attracting restaurants and businesses.

Today, hundreds of residents also live in the Technopôle Angus, whose social utility trust – which served as a model in Quebec – protects land and rents from real estate speculation.

It was not initially planned for the SDA to launch into residential, but it was a way of making a thermal exchange with office buildings and creating affordable housing for families unable to buy in Rosemont . “With a lot of three bedrooms,” adds Christian Yaccarini.

The modern LEED-certified buildings of the Technopôle Angus mingle with that of the Locoshop Angus, whose original structures recall the industrial traces of the past.

It was even necessary to highlight the history of Shops Angus, argues Mr. Yaccarino. “Over 90 years, an estimated 120,000 people worked there. There is an attachment of the population to its past. »

Shops, parks, businesses, even clinics… What’s missing? A cultural offering, hence the current exhibition Les Rendez-vous Angus, in collaboration with Art Souterrain, whose theme is Making Place, Taking Root. A civic celebration is also planned for September 14 for the 25th anniversary with street food and music from the Winston Band.

“The history of the Angus factories could have ended in 1992,” argues Christian Yaccarini. But she continues. »