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Montreal Gets a 'Remarkable' Chance to Build a New Neighborhood

A historic brewery on the St. Lawrence River will become a new mixed-use district, with a large share of subsidized and below-market-rate housing.
The Molson brewery in Montreal, pictured in 2005.
The Molson brewery in Montreal, pictured in 2005.Shaun Best/Reuters

For 236 years, the name Molson has watched over Montreal’s Centre-Sud neighborhood, from the area’s earliest days as an agricultural plain to its evolution into a workers’ village, a manufacturing hub, a postwar ghetto, and eventually, a lively yet rough-around-the-edges gay village.

British settler John Molson established a log brewery on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in 1782. Then, in the final days of 1784, the 21-year-old officially established the Molson Brewery, selling his first beer a year later. Through expansion and rebuilding after Montreal’s Great Fire of 1852, the facility—the operational heart of what is now one of the world’s largest breweries, and a lonely relic of the neighborhood’s industrial past—still stands in its original location.