Background

In 2015, health services moved out of the Royal-Victoria Hospital and into the new MUHC super-hospital at the Glen. Three years later, in 2018, the Quebec government announced authorization of McGill University to explore using half of the pavilions (pavilions L, M, S, A, and E) to develop a new campus by 2027. The government subsequently granted McGill $37m to fund a study on the feasibility of developing on the site. Since August 2020, the Royal Victoria’s Ross Pavilion is being used as a temporary 24/7 shelter resource for the homeless where 150 beds having been installed.

The government has mandated the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI), the provincial agency that manages provincially owned property, to do a master plan for the future use of the whole site (including for the pavilions not proposed as a McGill campus, H, R, F, C, X, and eventually the Allan Memorial Institute). In its consultations, the SQI met with 200 members of the Institut de développement urbain du Québec (IDU). The IDU proposed capitalist projects like for-profit hotels, luxury apartments, bars, and restaurants for the site.

The SQI has also met with member groups of our coalition.

The SQI will issue proposals to the Conseil du Trésor of the provincial government. The Conseil du Trésor will ultimately make decisions about the future of the site.

What will this process mean for the public?

McGill University will likely acquire half of the pavilions for a campus. The coalition is not opposed to McGill using part of the site for a campus, but we insist that ownership remains in the public domain and is safeguarded from any privatization.

Regarding the Royal Victoria former hospital’s other pavilions, their future is uncertain. Although the original founders of the hospital wisely stipulated in the deed of transfer that the site must be used for healing, there is no guarantee that this provision is still legally binding. Certainly, none of the principles directing the SQI’s planning process prioritize social uses of the site.

As mentioned above, the SQI has held consultative meetings with stakeholder groups and guided visits of the site. However, it is not truly a public consultation (the Office de consultation publique de Montréal will do a consultation in 2021).

The coalition has launched a study with the Community-University Research Exchange (CURE) to address these deficits in the SQI’s approach.

For more information on the SQI’s planning process, see the documentation on their website.