Building that housed Montreal’s Super Sexe strip club destroyed in suspected arson: police

Click to play video: 'Building that housed Montreal’s historic Super Sexe strip club destroyed in suspected arson: police'
Building that housed Montreal’s historic Super Sexe strip club destroyed in suspected arson: police
WATCH: Building that housed Montreal’s historic Super Sexe strip club destroyed in suspected arson, police say – Oct 31, 2021

The building that housed Montreal’s well-known downtown strip club Super Sexe has been destroyed in a major fire that police say they suspect was a criminal act.

Firefighters were called to Saint-Catherine Street near the Robert-Bourassa intersection late Saturday around 11 p.m. to put out the blaze in one of Montreal’s oldest strip clubs that has been abandoned for the last few years.

Authorities say the building was empty and there are no reported injuries. The neighbouring buildings were evacuated for precaution.

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According to Montreal Fire Department operations chief William Murray, around 105 firefighters were on site and 31 fire trucks were called to the scene.

Firefighters spent more than twelve hours extinguishing the fire.

READ MORE: Montreal’s Club Super Sexe sign will soon be taken down

Police spokesperson Const. Raphael Bergeron told Global News the investigation into the cause of the fire has been transferred to the arson unit.

Officials say the damage to the historic building is extensive.

“It’s a real tragedy that the sign burned down,” said Alexandra Tigchelaar, who worked at Super Sexe, among other strip clubs, in the 1990s and is now a PhD student whose research focuses on sex work.

“There were many opportunities to take the sign down and preserve it,” Tigchelaar said. “What has been lost in this space is decades of working class women’s history in this city.”

Club Super Sexe opened in 1978 and closed down in 2017. Its outdoor neon signage, which has long been considered iconic, remained.

Global News interviewed one of the building’s owners four years ago, who said the space would be occupied within months and the sign would soon be taken down.

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The head of the Downtown Montreal Business Development Corporation, Glenn Castanheira, told Global News he’s furious and believes the building’s owners let it fall into disrepair. He says squatters have been known to occupy the space since the club closed down.

“It’s been months we have been sounding the alarm to authorities over abandoned buildings,” Castanheira wrote in a tweet.

“The first thing that came to my mind is ‘I told you so,'” Castanheira said. He said he wants to see regulations that require landlords to maintain their buildings.

“Mark my words, there is going to be a significant bidding war to buy that [property] and redevelop it. It is now prime real estate in the heart of downtown on a freshly renovated Saint-Catherine.”
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–with files from Dan Spector, Global News

Click to play video: 'Iconic downtown Montreal sign could be destroyed'
Iconic downtown Montreal sign could be destroyed

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