The mysterious never-ending renovation

An Outremont mansion’s renovation in progress, which has been going on for 15 years (at least) and counting. Please don’t let it be like that with the Manse!

I like to walk home after work most days. It’s very pleasant to go from the hustle-bustle of downtown Montreal (and work) to quiet, leafy, pleasant Outremont, where we live. My route passes a house that has intrigued me ever since I moved here, 15 years ago next month. (How quickly those 15 years have passed is an utter amazement to me.) It’s a huge and beautiful old brick house, and it has been under renovation since the day I moved here, and who knows how long before that.

In the early years it was mostly covered with tarps and things. More latterly there’s only one covered section, as you can see in the photo above. And as the years go by, it does seem like progress is being made. New windows are installed (you might be able to see the new-window stickers in the photo); and at the moment there are paving-stones stacked up by the front path, just waiting to be laid down. But I’ve never seen anyone actually doing any work there, even though the grass is mowed and the grounds are kept up.

Sometimes I imagine that this renovation is in ultra-slow-motion because the owners are being very fiscally prudent and only doing work as they can afford it. Other times it just seems weird, even vaguely spooky.

I think of this project sometimes when I think of us and the Manse. We’ve talked a good game about renovation since we bought it in late January, but have done nothing even remotely major in the intervening four and a half months. All we’ve done is make the place fairly pleasantly liveable for whenever we or guests are there, and planning, planning, planning for what the big eventual renovation might entail.

But lots of planning is good, right?

Still. If I’m still writing this blog in 15 years and we haven’t got the big reno done yet, somebody needs to do an intervention. And if you do, you might also want to check in on the project on Ave. McNider in Outremont, Quebec.

4 thoughts on “The mysterious never-ending renovation

  1. Outremont/Queensborough. Outremont/Queensborough. Palatial mansion in exclusive section of cosmopolitan city/U.C. manse in Elzevir township. So very similar and yet somehow….I can’t really put my finger on it……….What’s that?…….Oh, right.

    As you were, then.

    P.S. I bet those fakers in Outremont don’t have a secret weapon like Johnny, though.

    • That is my preferred theory too, Hilary. But tonight as I walked by the place (and nothing was going on, as usual) it struck me that it could be some bazillionaire obscure-foreign-country royal family member or some such who owns the house, will only need it in case of despot-overthrow, and therefore pays only sporadic attention (and sends only sporadic cash infusions) to the reno project. The fiscally responsible theory is much more attractive, but really: 15 years?

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