A heritage gem in the Laurentians was illegally demolished by a promoter, which forced Quebec to launch an investigation.

“It’s awful,” said the mayor of Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson, Gilles Boucher. It’s almost all down to earth. Only a small part remains. »

The front part of the Domaine-de-l’Estérel shopping center, listed in the cultural heritage register of Quebec since 2013, collapsed on Friday.

This happened while the rear part, which is not protected, is being demolished by the promoter Olymbec, who wants to build a hotel there.

He did not respond to our interview request.

According to our information, it was citizens who sounded the alarm on Friday when they saw that the heritage part was being destroyed like the rest of the building.

Built in 1936, the Domaine-de-l’Estérel shopping center is one of the first, worthy of the name, to have seen the light of day in Canada.

It also has exceptional architectural value and is described as the “flagship” of the Art Deco movement by Mayor Gilles Boucher.

The Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, received a photo Friday afternoon showing the damage.

The photo of the heritage building was taken in 2008.

Photo taken from the website of the Ministry of Culture and Communications

The photo of the heritage building was taken in 2008.

Investigation triggered

She then announced via Twitter the holding of an investigation to “shed light on what happened”, stating that the building had been demolished “illegally, without any authorization”.

The newspaper obtained several images showing the destruction suffered by the heritage part of the building.

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“There are legal remedies if we realize that it was done deliberately,” explains Maxime Roy, director of communications in the cabinet of Minister Nathalie Roy.

The law notably provides for fines ranging from $6,000 to $1.1 million for this type of offense for a legal person.

The news did not “surprise at all” Francine Vanlaethem, president of Docomomo Quebec, an association dedicated to safeguarding innovative 20th-century architecture.and century.

She had sent a letter to the ministry in March, precisely to prevent this scenario.

“We were alarmed, saying that if we demolished the rear, we were not going to jeopardize the front,” she explains.

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