the Legault government finally chose the project that will occupy the premises of the former Saint-Sulpice library, at the end of a saga that has dragged on for nearly 20 years. The Minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, has indeed set her sights on the Maison de la chanson defended by host Monique Giroux and lyricist Luc Plamondon, which does not only make people happy.
Minister Roy had already made known her preference for the Maison de la chanson project last year, but funding should be confirmed in the coming days, learned The duty.
Last year, Monique Giroux explained that she wanted to make this place, located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, a museum in homage to Quebec music. The auditorium, which occupies the bottom of the heritage building, would keep its function by presenting performances by current artists. It is impossible to know for the time being how much the Maison de la chanson will cost or when it will open its doors. However, it is reported that the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ) would remain the owner of the building classified as a historic monument.
Vacant since 2005, the former Saint-Sulpice library suffers from a lack of maintenance. Last year, Quebec even had to grant 1.4 million to BAnQ to carry out emergency work on this Beaux-Arts style building, built in 1914 and designed by architect Eugène Payette.
This heritage aspect, both inside and outside, greatly limits the possibilities of redevelopment work, which has been a hindrance to the conversion of the old library throughout the past 17 years. Recently, among others, the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation had toyed with the idea of setting up its future Espace Riopelle there.
The ambitious project will finally be entitled to a new custom-built pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), after the Foundation came to the conclusion that the Saint-Sulpice facilities were not suitable for organizing exhibitions there.
In 2016, the Couillard government had launched, in collaboration with BAnQ, a digital library project aimed at teenagers, but the idea was dropped in 2020 by Minister Nathalie Roy because of significant cost overruns.
The Liberals had previously tried to sell the cumbersome building to private interests, but they reversed their decision in the face of an outcry. Remember that UQAM had acquired the building in 2005, when the establishment was closed and became obsolete following the opening of the Grande Bibliothèque, a few steps away. Two years later, the University had also caused controversy by trying to liquidate the building on rue Saint-Denis to the private sector. The government then took over the old library.
These multiple developments did not, however, discourage potential buyers. In addition to the Maison de la chanson, projects abounded.
The Festival du nouveau cinema, in particular, had repeatedly indicated, in recent years, its interest in the old library in order to move its offices there and open a café dedicated to the seventh art. The director general of the Festival, Nicolas Girard Deltruc, expressed his deep disappointment on Wednesday when he learned that it was rather the Maison de la chanson project that was retained by the Legault government.
“I don’t understand why we are going to grant budgets to an organization that does not yet exist when an organization that has existed for 50 years, like ours, is having difficulty receiving funding. The Saint-Sulpice library should have been used in the film industry. It would have made the Latin Quarter the Quartier du cinema, by extension the Quartier des Spectacles, with the Cineplex Odeon and the Cinémathèque next door,” he said apologetically in an interview with the To have to. Nicolas Girard Deltruc also regrets not having been kept informed throughout the decision-making process by the Ministry of Culture, which he accuses of having worked on the sly in this file.
The literary community still hopes that the old Saint-Sulpice library will become a “house of literature”, on the same model as that of Quebec. “It’s good news for the music industry, but we’re definitely a little disappointed. It’s one less space for literature,” said Suzanne Aubry, president of the Union of Writers and Writers of Quebec.