Plans unveiled for Irish commemoration site in Montreal

Click to play video: 'Parking lot near Black Rock monument to be renovated' Parking lot near Black Rock monument to be renovated
WATCH: Thousands of Irish immigrants were buried under the Black Rock Monument in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest borough after they succumbed to typhus in the 1800s. The site may soon be getting a much-needed facelift, but as Matt Grillo reports, a group of local historians is upset it wasn’t included in the city’s plans – Oct 6, 2017

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre unveiled plans Friday to create a commemoration site for thousands of Irish immigrants who died of typhus in the city in the 1800s.

Although the announcement is good news, some who have pushed to build a project are upset they weren’t invited.

“The fact that he didn’t even bother to invite us is absolutely…I can’t even think of the words to use for it,” Fergus Keyes, Montreal Irish Memorial Park Foundation director, said.

READ MORE: Hundreds gather for annual ‘Walk to the Stone’ to honour past

The Montreal Irish Memorial Park Foundation has pushed for six years to have something built beside the Black Rock memorial.

It appears the group will get its wish, but members are still uncertain about how they feel.

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“It seems to be like a double thing,” Keyes said. “First of all, of course we’re really pleased that the city has made an announcement, but we’re really upset that they didn’t bother to invite us to this announcement.”

READ MORE: Montreal Irish honour the past with annual ‘Walk to the Stone’

The land is currently a parking lot but was once used as a burial ground for Irish immigrants.

Hydro-Quebec owns the land and will build a substation on it by 2023, but wants to share the space.

“We are sensitive to the concerns of the Irish community,” Johanne Savard, Hydro-Quebec spokesperson, said.

Coderre and his administration have plans to honour the past as several proposals are still on the table including potentially moving the stone.

“We need to do something to make sure that from generation to generation the people will understand and know what happened,” Coderre said.

Coderre added that an archeological dig of the site is expected soon.

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