Ivanhoé Cambridge’s giant ring, destined to become one of the city’s key symbols, will have been made largely not in Quebec, but in the United States, learned The newspaper.

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In fact, in response to our questions, the real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) admitted that, although imagined in Quebec, the steel structure of which the bulk of the proposed piece is made by the architect Claude Cormier was transformed into American territory.



As a reminder, this ring-shaped structure, 30 meters (90 feet) in diameter and weighing 23 tons (50,000 pounds), will be suspended above the entrance to the esplanade of the Place Ville Marie, in Montreal, this summer.

This work was commissioned without a call for tenders from Claude Cormier + Associés for an amount of $5 million. Nearly 40% of this sum comes from the ministries of Tourism (MTQ) and the Economy (MEI) of Quebec. Its aerial installation – a so-called complex operation – must be completed in September.

Two weeks ago, Ivanhoé specified that the ring was “made” by Marmen of Trois-Rivières. However, it turns out that the steel used comes from the United States and that the work of manufacturing, molding and bending of the tubes which form the ring was carried out in at least two American states before being sent to Three -Rivers for final assembly.

The Journal has obtained confirmation that the steel tubes used as raw materials for the work in the making were first manufactured by Swepco Tube, a New Jersey company located about thirty kilometers from New York.

Ivanhoé also confirmed to us that the tubes then took the road to Minnesota, a journey of more than 2000 km. It was from there, in the town of Duluth, at the western end of Lake Superior, that BendTec carried out the bending of the tubes to give them the rounded shape required for the formation of a ring.

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But why have they sourced their supplies in the United States rather than in Quebec? The question seemed to bother both the Ivanhoe team and the architecture firm.

“There were no stainless steel tubes made in Quebec that corresponded to the dimensions we needed, nor any company in Quebec capable of bending a steel tube 30 inches in diameter”, answered us, after checking , Ivanhoé spokesperson Gabrielle Meloche.

Really? In any case, several industry players we spoke to were both skeptical and surprised at such an explanation. This is the case, among others, of Jean Labadie, president of Show Canada, a Laval company specializing in the manufacture of large artistic structures.

Broadway, the Cirque du Soleil and the host cities of the Olympic Games regularly use his services to design larger-than-life architectural pieces.

“Could we have made this ring here? Certainly. Our plant is capable of taking very large capacities of steel. And the diameter in question does not cause us any problems. 30 inch tubes, we can do that easily. No need to buy them elsewhere.

The CEO of the Mundial Group, which specializes in metal processing, is also surprised by the situation. There was a time, he says, when more than 50% of the steel structures used in Canada came from Quebec.

“We have the companies, the experienced staff and even the exchange rate to our advantage,” says Louis Veilleux. I don’t see what would have prevented finding here the necessary expertise to carry out such a project without going to the United States.”

That the giant ring that Ivanhoé Cambridge is preparing to install at Place Ville Marie (PVM) is made of steel is an aberration for the Quebec aluminum industry, which is not about to forget it .

“I don’t understand this decision,” confides still angry on the phone, the president of the Aluminum Association of Canada. I understand the work and the concept. But when I realized it would all be made of steel, I fell off my chair, says Jean Simard. It just can’t be.”

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The $5 million work, signed Claude Cormier + Associés, will appear above the entrance to the PVM esplanade in September on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. The structure was ordered without a call for tenders and paid for by the subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec, with the participation of the Government of Quebec.

“I think it’s a nice signature, but really was made with the wrong material. Unfortunately, when we learned about it from the newspapers at the same time as everyone else, it was too late to intervene,” said the man who has represented the industry for 13 years.

“Why didn’t you choose aluminum instead of steel from the United States?” he asks. This choice would have been all the more justified, he says, since, unlike steel, Quebec aluminum is recognized throughout the world and would have been ideal for reducing the weight of the structure ( 50,000 lb) on the buildings that will support it.

He also adds that the PVM is recognized as a model for integrating aluminum into architecture and a demonstration of its longevity. In addition, he points out, the head office of Alcoa is located there and the world headquarters of Rio Tinto Aluminum is established in Montreal.

Finally, the latter reminds us that Quebec aluminum has the lowest carbon footprint on the planet, one more reason that could have justified choosing to display it.

“Instead, continues Mr. Simard, while boasting of aiming for a zero carbon footprint, Ivanhoé Cambridge chooses to put millions of dollars in a work of steel, with a carbon footprint that makes no sense. It makes no sense.”

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