Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries

The Turcot Interchange is a “spaghetti interchange” found in southwest Montreal, on the western edge of St-Henri. An ugly sight from the ground, and crumbling a mere 40 years after it was built, the Ministère des Transports du Québec is currently demolishing and rebuilding it. The chosen design is one that caused some controversy, but the work is going ahead rather quickly now.

Turcot under construction Source: http://archivesdemontreal.com/2014/04/28/survolez-montreal-de-1960-a-1992/vm94-b029-001/ ; used under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada license
Turcot under construction
Source, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada

An aerial view of how it looks today can be seen here (rights-managed image, so I can’t embed it here).

Recently, the MTQ made some archeological discoveries while digging underneath one demolished section, as you can see in this CBC Montreal report (watch the video!)

Archeological dig under the Turcot Interchange
Image Source: http://www.turcot.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/PublishingImages/Bulletin_Turcot/2015-07_Archeologie.jpg

Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries was the name of the village found in this area until the middle of the 19th century or so.  Since it was close to the Lachine Canal, the area now known as simply St-Henri had a lot of small industries in the 19th century, including tanning animal hides into leather, which is how it got it’s name. The Canal served as a source of water as well as transportation for the raw materials and finished products.

I find it fascinating to find these old foundations there, and it makes me thing about what life was like in that era, working in the tanneries, traveling by horseback in the dirt streets of Montreal.
Featured image source, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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