The Lachine market is the oldest public market in Montréal. Discover its history!
In 1908, Lachine was in the midst of a population boom. More and more factories were being set up in the City. From 3,000 residents in 1882, Lachine’s population had grown to nearly 10,000.
The meat market
However, since the first market burned down in 1866, Lachine no longer had a public market. The first indoor market was located on the front part of the present site of Borough Hall, near boulevard Saint-Joseph.
The idea of rebuilding a new market began to be considered around 1890, but it was mainly since 1900 that more and more pressure was brought to bear on City Council. Le Progrès, the local newspaper at the time, supported the population in its efforts to persuade City Council.
The reconstruction of a new market
On December 9, 1908, at a City Council meeting presided over by Mayor Jean-Baptiste Deschamps, Council passed Bylaw 124 providing for the establishment of a public market and a loan of $25,000 for the purchase of land and the construction of the necessary buildings.
The new location
The services of architect Dalbé Viau (designer of Saints-Anges Gardiens church and Mayor of Lachine from 1925 to 1933) were retained. The designated site was located between 17e and 19e avenues and Notre-Dame and Piché streets. This location was preferred over the land at the northeast corner of rue Notre-Dame and 13e Avenue.
A combination of odours…
The two-storey building was completed in 1909. Living quarters were set up on the second floor for the clerk in charge of the market’s maintenance and for his family. In 1912, work had to be carried out to prevent the smell of the fish sold at the market from spreading into their home. The nauseating, foul smells from the nearby Fisk tannery also caused problems for the market authorities.
A fire destroyed the market on Tuesday, October 8, 1929 and the extent of the damage forced Council to take the decision to demolish the market and install a roof there to protect the farmers on bad weather days.
In November 1930, the City planned to build a restaurant with a waiting room and a public weighing area for coal loads right within the building at the corner of 19e Avenue and rue Notre-Dame. The restaurant also served as the terminus for the 90 bus line.
Towards the end of the 1950s, City Council considered moving the market to the corner of 25e Avenue and rue Victoria, but backed down in the face of the outcry among Lachine residents.
The market since 1960
The decline of the market began in the 1960s with the development of the suburbs and, a little later, with the emergence of supermarkets and public markets in neighbouring cities. In the early 80’s, the restaurant became a coffee shop and, in 1992, it housed the Kiwanis Club. In the spring of 2004, the borough of Lachine undertook major renovations so that the indoor part of the building would be open all year round. Until 2020, a coffee shop was located in the indoor market as well as various delicatessens and specialty food stores.
Source : Société d’histoire de Lachine