Music community deplores lack of news a year after Bon-Pasteur monastery fire

Click to play video: 'Calls to bring music back to Montreal’s Bon Pasteur Chapel one year following fire'
Calls to bring music back to Montreal’s Bon Pasteur Chapel one year following fire
WATCH: One year after a devastating fire wiped out the historic Bon-Pasteur Chapel, a prestigious music venue, the artistic community at large and those who lived in the building say their future is plagued with uncertainty. The province and the city have vowed to restore it quickly but there is still no timeline as to when the cultural engine will be up and running again. Global's Gloria Henriquez reports – May 24, 2024

The masterful sounds enveloping the Bon-Pasteur chapel have been silent for a year now after a devastating fire tore through the building that was home to the prestigious music venue.

And for a year now, the music community has been wondering when they will have it back.

“How long is it going to take before they’re able to rebuild the place for real?” said Dominic Trudel, the head of the Conseil Québécois de la Musique.

Quebec’s culture minister and Montreal’s mayor promised to rebuild it in 2023.

“In Paris, they were able to rebuild Notre-Dame de Paris, so I’m sure we can do the same here in Montreal,” Mayor Valérie Plante said on May 24, 2023.

But Trudel says they haven’t heard any news since.

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“There’s no plans accepted yet to be able to rebuild the place,” Trudel said.

The monastery was also home to several non-profits and a housing co-operative.

Because it is a heritage building, co-op officials say they need to adhere to strict rules.

They’ve already spent most of their insurance money on restoration costs and they say they need financial and technical support from the ministry and the city to continue renovations.

“A year later, we are worried,” said Caroline Hétu, one of the heads of Cooperative D’Habitation Sourire a la Vie. “There are people in our community who are losing hope.”

Hétu says the ministry also needs to issue permits.

“It needs to unblock at the ministry,” Hétu said.

Heritage Montreal says what’s needed is more transparency and improved communication.

“I mean there is more information available for people using the Metropolitan highway when then they do some repairs than for a building like that, which is very dear to the heart of Montrealers,” said Dinu Bumbaru, Heritage Montreal’s policy director.

In a statement to Global News, the City of Montreal says judicial proceedings are involved in the file and can’t comment, insisting it plans to rebuild.

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But the music community can no longer play it by ear.

“For the music community it’s really losing part of our soul here in Montreal,” said Trudel, adding that the chapel was home to a program that fostered new musical talent.

A concrete plan, he says, would strike a better note.

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