Doors, Doors and More Doors

Dozens of doors are currently being reinstalled all around the building. Some of these doors are reproductions of earlier models that had to be refashioned to meet fire safety standards. The doors are now being stained or painted for the reopening, with false finishes added to the metallic frame when necessary.

Library Reopening

The LHSQ library reopened after nearly a year and a half of reduced operations in the Kirk Hall. The centre was packed for the ceremonial opening, which included speeches, breakfast, and surprise appearances by Alice in Wonderland. Readings from local writers and performances from the Quebec Art Company took place in the afternoon. Members were pleased that the newly restored rooms had lost none of their Victorian charm.

Finishing up for the Reopening

All the new pipes and wires in the building have been plastered over and the contractors are busy repainting walls as well as staining and varnishing floors. Most of the finishes chosen correspond to the original colours in the building between 1867 and 1920. Fine Portuguese tiles are being laid down in the four new bathrooms. The library reading room is now ready to be stacked up with books. A first shipment of approximately 350 boxes of books arrived at the library today. Staff and volunteers are busy sorting through these boxes for the big reopening.

Finishing up the Dirty Work

The dirty work inside the building is almost complete. Rewiring a 200-year old heritage building with four-foot thick stone walls is a complex exercise. Grooves must be cut and plastered over when completed, which may cause structural problems if not done carefully. Some of the new sprinkler system pipes are nearly a foot in diameter. Figuring out where to put these new systems was a real puzzle. In some cases new wooden cabinets similar to existing college-era ones will be built to conceal this equipment. The puzzle continues when making connections outside, as archaeological vestiges must be taken into account. The Morrin Centre team is now hard at work choosing finishes for the surfaces, which will soon be plastered over.

Beginning of Major Restoration Work

Tenders for Phase I-Part II of the Morrin Centre project were made public last Friday. Four construction companies submitted their proposals, with only slight price differences between them. Construction Marc Drolet had the lowest price and will be hired to work on the building. Our priority is to complete structural, mechanical and electrical work first. Meanwhile, the Morrin Centre team is working on purchasing the appropriate equipment, furniture and lighting systems. Partnerships for the restoration of furniture and artifacts are also being consolidated.

Call for Proposals

The call for proposals for the major work to take place on the building was published in the papers today. Interested contractors will visit the site on December 5 and submit their proposals early in the new year.

Archaeological Discoveries

The archaeologists made some interesting discoveries under the floorboards of former caretaker Mr. Muise’s apartment. A series of foundations laid out according to a different floor plan were found. These may date from the Royal Redoubt, which stood on the site before the prison from 1712 to 1808. It may also have been a vegetable cellar from the prison era. A report of findings will be published soon and will hopefully provide answers.

Meetings and Negociations

Our day began with a meeting at the Ministère de la culture et des communications where we learned more about spherical photography, a technique that allows us to document architectural spaces from all angles. The day continued as we met the engineers from CIMA+ and the architect over lunch. Modifications to the plans were proposed. We then met people from the Commission de la Capitale Nationale du Québec to discuss a possible collaboration for lighting the site. This day of meetings ended with a site visit by representatives from the Commission des Biens Culturels, who need to approve the project as the building is classified on the provincial level.

Finalizing the Plans and Specifications

The final plans and specifications are almost done. A planning meeting was held this morning with the electromechanical engineers (CIMA+) and their subcontractor in lighting and audiovisual systems (Dufour ressources créatives). This allowed us to determine the fine points of interior lighting, audio-visual installations, ventilation systems, as well as phone lines, internet connections, and intercoms. Our objective was to conceal contemporary infrastructure and ensure dramatic staging of our rooms using local lighting sources that will enhance the warmth and charm of our spaces.