Silos
The old Canada Malting plant

The old Canada Malting plant

The old Canada Malting plant

Montreal's famous abandoned plant

Montréal (Quebec), Canada

Built in the early twentieth century, the former Canada Malting plant has a dozen gigantic silos of 37 meters high. The oldest was built in 1905. Hundreds of employees worked there after the Second World War, until the closure of the factory at the turn of the 80s. The building, despite its poor condition, is unique. With its ceramic silos, it is one of the last two copies in North America.

Designated as a Heritage site in Montreal, this former malting plant is now a huge rusty ruin who receives regular visits from thrill-seeking young people.


1903 - Construction of the Canada Malting Plant

Visited regularly by police officers to evict its visitors, the site has been the scene of several incidents like this story back in 2009 when teens confronted police officers by throwing stones at them from the roof.

According to the owner Steven Quon, it would cost between 2 and 3 million dollars to destroy the building. Nevertheless, rumors confirmed by the owner and the city suggest that the building could be sold by the end of 2012. The content of the future owners project is not known, but with a neighbor working in chemicals products and an Industrial zoning, we guess we won’t see condos there anytime soon...

Walk in, walk out easily

Despite regular visits by the owner to seal any entry, it is relatively easy to get in. Well organized, illegal visitors have created over the years a path through the maze. The 10 centimeters metal plates blocking the doors have certainly discouraged some visitors, but others, better organized, have made holes in the brick walls in order to circumvent the problem. Furthermore, in order to overcome the destruction of one spiral staircase, they welded together several metal ladders to reach the upper floors of the silos. Only a few years ago, these three pieces welded ladders were connected by strings or plastic ties (tie wraps).

Nevertheless, a visit to this place, abandoned three decades ago, is risky. Beyond the floors pierced by time and stairways with missing steps, we noted that several walls and ceilings were in a pitiful state. Orange snow fences have also been installed on the ceiling of the first room when we walked into the building.

Thus, despite the limited access to the building, the place is highly visited. There are many graffiti who cover every piece of wall available, and during our three visits we were never alone. Moreover, young people around 13-14 years old seemed to have adopted the factory as their playground. Obviously at ease in this maze, they ran from one room to another, refusing to take basic precautions to avoid accidents. It is only a matter of time before an accident happens there.

Last anecdote: the site has been used to film several movies. Razzies lovers will probably be happy to learn that several scenes from one of the famous dud movie called Battlefield Earth with Scientologist John Travolta were shot there.

Related content

The pit - Photo: Jarold Dumouchel
Montréal, Quebec (Canada)

Built in 1954, the Dickson incinerator was, at the time, the most modern one in North America. It was built to replace these old incinerators where horses were used for harvesting waste.

In the 1920s, the city of Montreal was struggling...

The Bannerman's Island
Nelsonville, New York (United States)

I was asked to photograph it (legally) by the Trust group thats restoring the island,which was a life long dream of mine.

The history of the island began in 1900 when Francis Bannerman purchased the island. Located in the Hudson River near...

The old abandoned asbestos mine
Région des Appalaches, Quebec (Canada)

The use of asbestos by man does not date from yesterday. Already, more than 2000 years ago, the Greeks used in making funeral clothes. Its name comes from its property to withstand fire: άσβεστος (asbestos, meaning "indestructible").

Its...

The Park lane café
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (Canada)

The place is big, very big. While the building is nearly 200,000 square feet, the site, meanwhile, is over than 430,000 square feet in an agricultural area of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. For those interested, the site is for sale and the current...