Historic Montreal building gets new temporary home

One of Montreal's oldest buildings has found a new temporary home, while it waits for its permanent digs to be prepared inside a new condo development.

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The Keegan House, a 19th century cottage in the city's downtown neighbourhood of Griffintown, was transported on the back of truck to a new lot 300 metres away Wednesday.

The Anglo-Norman wood-and-brick home, which was built between 1825 and 1835, sat on a plot of land on McCord Street that was slated to become a 14-storey condo development.

Instead of tearing down the historic home, the developer, Maitre-Carre, opted to preserve it and integrate it into the condo.

"It is going to be the living room in the new lobby that we'll be able to use for another 200 years," said Hugo Girard-Beauchamp, the president of Maitre-Carre.

But that has turned out to be no easy task, and Maitre-Carre has had to find a temporary site for the Keegan House during construction on the condo.

The cottage had been moved before. It was previously located on Murray Street, but a school teacher named Andrew Keegan moved it to its current site.

While the house's new location is relatively close to the old one, navigating the home around modern obstacles, such as lamp posts, made Wednesday's move likely more delicate than it was in the past.

"It is a very special operation," said Beauchamp. "It was done back in the day but there weren't any wires … (and) not as much traffic."

But some neighbourhood advocates say Maitre-Carre made the right decision when it opted for the difficult move.

"I am sure it would've been very easy to just destroy the house and to build a new building, but they decided to keep the history," said Damien Siles, executive director of Quartier de L'Innovation.

And the Keegan House is a piece of Montreal history that Beauchamp says he had an obligation to protect.

"We have a responsibility to make sure that if we can preserve our heritage, well we have to do it," he said.

With a report from CTV Montreal Bureau Chief Genevieve Beauchemin



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