The partial collapse of an abandoned community centre in Little Burgundy on Sunday has forced residents of a neighbouring building out of their homes while authorities assess the safety of the crumbling structure next door.
No one was injured when part of the old Negro Community Centre / Charles H. Este Cultural Centre on Coursol Street partially collapsed. The incident left a gaping hole that exposed the graffitied walls of its second and third floors.
The building was in an advanced state of disrepair and authorities say it had been used as a squat in the past. Search crews went through the rubble to ensure that no one was caught in the collapse.
Thirty-eight tenants of a neighbouring apartment building were evacuated while city engineers assess the old community centre's stability.
According to the community centre's website, the organization had ceased operating in 1993. Its history dates to 1927, when it was started by members of Montreal's Union United Church to assist members of the city's black community who were facing social and economic hardships.
"For more than 66 years, the NCC, as it was affectionately known, was the focal point for engaging, educating, empowering, welcoming and entertaining members of the black community," the website reads.
The website says a committee had been created to look into ways of bringing the centre back to life.