4624, Sherbrooke West
THE CONSERVATORY AND GREENHOUSES ARE CLOSED DURING 2018 AND 2019 DUE TO A NECESSARY RESTORATION. NO PUBLIC ACCESS WILL BE POSSIBLE DURING THIS PERIOD. PERIODIC UPDATES ON THE PROJECT WILL BE POSTED ON THIS PAGE.
UPDATE – DECEMBER 20, 2018
This year, Westmount’s municipal council awarded a contract for professional services for the design and the preparation of plans and tenders to carry out a major restoration of the Conservatory and Pond Room. At this time, the technical sketches have been completed, as well as the functional and technical program plans; these represent a crucial step required to advance to the next stage of the project. The contracted professional experts are currently working to complete the preliminary plans and specifications, the goal being to finalize the design in 2019 and carry out the tendering process in time to begin the necessary work, likely in late autumn of 2019. Each step of this process is conditional to approval by City Council.
UPDATE – MARCH 7, 2018
Conservatory restoration: phase 1 underway
Westmount’s heritage Conservatory was closed in September 2015 for safety reasons due to a problem with its roof. Since that time, two studies have been carried out to help plan an appropriate repair and restoration of this unique structure.
Following City Council approval on February 19, the City issued a public tender for professional services in preparation of the work needed to restore the historic Conservatory and Pond House. The mandate will include, among other things, the analysis of the site and buildings, as well as the preparation of a restoration strategy and of the specifications required to carry out the work.
The tenders will be evaluated in April and awarded in May 2018. Among the priorities listed are the preservation of the building’s heritage architecture, the interior floor plan, universal accessibility, sustainability and a maintenance strategy.
The tender follows the recommendations of a 2017 study that confirmed the integrity of the foundation and the use of weather-resistant Accoya wood in the restoration of the glass structure.
The second phase of the project will involve the adjacent production greenhouses, also currently closed to the public. A needs analysis and study is now underway to establish the future of the complex of production houses.
Historic Conservatory and greenhouses
Westmount’s Conservatory has produced elaborate annual floral exhibitions ever since its construction in 1927 by noted greenhouse manufacturers, Lord & Burnham, also credited for building the conservatories for the New York Botanical Garden and the United states Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. In addition, the plants grown within Westmount’s vaulted windowed structure are used to craft one of our city’s most recognizable landmarks – the Floral Clock.
Over the years, the Conservatory has undergone various alterations. A vestibule was added and a pond was put in the main greenhouse. As well, in 1999 the Conservatory was joined to Victoria Hall by a link through the new Art Gallery.
In 2004, the architectural firm Beaupré & Michaud was commissioned to restore the Conservatory, and reproduce it as closely as possible to its original structure. The masonry wall was demolished and rebuilt, the upper glass and metal portion was removed, restored and rebuilt on site, fractured cast iron elements, corroded steel, and rotten wood windows were replaced, and the pool in the main greenhouse was supplanted with a contemporary water basin with a small wooden bridge and Italian marble waterfall.
Certain features were also added, which were not part of the original design, such as an electric lift to provide handicapped access from the library, more efficient and economical lighting fixtures, heating elements strategically hidden under flower tables, and a bronze fountain statue to sit in lieu of the one that was stolen many years ago.
Following its restoration, the Westmount Conservatory was officially reopened on March 31, 2005.
With the files of the Westmount Historical Association