Montreal photographer captures period of dramatic change in Griffintown

Over a period of two years, Montreal photographer Robert Walker took close to 1,000 photos of Griffintown.

"It made for a very dramatic contrast between these old structures and the new condos going up," he told CBC Montreal's Let's Go.

"The changes there are just so dramatic. Over the last five years it's gone from kind of a desolate place of derelict factories and horse stables to what it is today — a forest of sparkling new condos."

Walker was commissioned by the McCord Museum to work on a photo project documenting the changing neighbourhood in Montreal's Sud-Ouest borough.

Robert Walker/McCord Museum

He selected 20 of his favourite photos to be displayed in large format, as part of an exhibit called Griffintown – Evolving Montréal.

The exhibition also features a slide show which displays about 100 other photos from Walker's project, along with some historical information about the area.

Born in Montreal in 1945, Walker studied painting at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University).

He said in documenting the neighbourhood — which appears in a permanent state of demolition and construction — he focused on colour, gravitating toward the more "eye-catching" elements.

Robert Walker/McCord Museum

Walker also aimed to present images that hint at the neighbourhood's not-so-distant past as a working-class, industrial area.

"Some pictures, they really act symbolically to evoke a nostalgia for the past," he said. "I try to somehow capture the older Griffintown that's no longer there. Most of it's been demolished."

Griffintown – Evolving Montréal, runs at the McCord Museum until August 9.