Montreal

Help solve a mystery: Who's behind Montreal's pink house?

Last September, someone — or some people — painted the cabin on top of the malting silos a bright shade of pink, added some shutters and curtains. But who did it? And why? Help solve a mystery: Who renovated Montreal's pink house?

A pink cabin sits atop the old abandoned Canada Malting Co. silos in Saint-Henri. Who painted it, and why?

The shed on top of the old Malting in Montreal's St-Henri neighbourhood was painted sometime last September. Someone also added window shutters and flower boxes. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

On paper, the old Malting site in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood has been abandoned since 1985.

Yet someone — or a group of people — seems to have taken up residence inside the old industrial buildings.

Last October, the cabin on top of the Malting was mysteriously painted a bright shade of pink. Colourful shutters and window boxes were added. Christmas lights too.

But who did it? And why? Are they living there?

What's going on?

"It's been like it's a source of intense mystery," said Toula Drimonis, a columnist and Saint-Henri resident. 

"Everyone keeps asking each other if anyone knows anything.... There seems to be a lot of secrecy." 

A photo taken in the summer of 2019 shows the cabin on top of the malting building before it was painted pink. (Submitted by Alexandre Guédon)

"It's like, so Montreal, because there's no rhyme or reason to it."

Montreal police say there is no active investigation into who painted the house, but in a statement said the area is patrolled to prevent people from climbing into the Malting.


CBC News is asking for your help to solve the mystery. Email us with any tips.


The pink house atop the old Canada Malting Silos in Saint-Henri has perplexed residents and passersby. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Why is the Malting abandoned?

The Malting plant and elevators were built in 1905 by the Canada Malting Co. Large cement silos were added in the 1940s to store the barley. 

The company exported the malt along the Lachine Canal, and when the canal closed to commercial navigation in 1970, the transportation cost rose to the point that the company abandoned the site in 1980.

Since then, it's fallen into disrepair. Windows are boarded up, brick walls are crumbling, and the facade is covered in graffiti.

The Malting, as it's known locally, is an enduring symbol of Saint-Henri's industrial past.

"People need to understand: this building is such an integral part of this neighbourhood,
said Drimonis. 

"As someone who's lived here for ten years, I can't imagine Saint-Henri without it."

Trespassing is illegal and dangerous, but a quick search of Instagram shows that it's a popular destination for "urban hikers" looking for thrills and adventure.

The plant cost $350,000 to build 115 years ago. The land and buildings are now estimated to be worth about $1.9 million. Municipal records show it is owned by Quonta Holdings Ltd., a Montreal-based company. The company did not respond to a request for comment. 

In recent months, two groups have put forward proposals to re-develop the Malting.

With files from Kate Zieman

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