Completed in 1892, Fire Station no. 16 is one of the oldest continuously operational fire stations in Montreal. Located in the north-east corner of Lafontaine Park, an historic urban park, the station sits on an instable clay belt. Tunnelling for Montreal’s subway system in the 1960s drained the area’s soil, drying and shrinking the clay and creating numerous foundation problems.
Fire Station no. 16 was among many historic buildings in the neighbourhood affected by the shrinking of this clay belt. The structure began showing signs of settlement in the 1970s and water infiltrations into its substructure and the weight of its massive walls further exacerbated its problems. Despite a series of renovation projects undertaken in the 1990s, the foundations of this venerable structure remained instable.
The restoration program was based on a detailed technical expertise carried out in collaboration with structural engineers. The project combines a comprehensive repair of the station’s rubble stone foundations with interior and exterior restorations. The stabilisation of the foundations with helical steel piles required substantial site excavations and exterior terraces, landscaping and entry areas were entirely rebuilt.
Restoration work carried out on the station’s mansard roof included the repair and reconditioning of decorative wood mouldings and artisanal tin smith work. Limestone walls were disassembled and rebuilt following their structural stabilisation and brick walls were re-jointed. Various interior interventions aimed at correcting deficiencies caused by long-term settlement were undertaken.