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At the Intersection of memory loss and community creativity: The deindustrialization of the former railway workshops in Pointe St. Charles

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This paper will look at the history of the railway workshops at Point St. Charles, from the days of the Grand Trunk Railway to the last days of Canadian National Railways. It will look at the recent changes to the site, the attempts to re-use the remaining buildings in creative ways by various organizations. In the process, the paper will ask the following questions: Do you leave former industrial buildings to gradually deteriorate and become overgrown and run-down ruins? Alternatively, do you bring the area back to life by restoring the old structures and attracting new creative ventures and businesses? How could a place with so much history (as the crucible of the railway industry, and perhaps all of industrial Canada) seem to be forgotten so quickly by so many? How could a place with so much community potential be revived, where history and artistic creativity can be live side by side, if not celebrated? We are as a society now disconnected from the industrial life that was predominant in Canadian cities until the mid part of the 20th century. Because of this, there is a loss of knowledge about what exactly this means, and deindustrialization of our senses.

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