An elevator to the rooftop garden

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Flashback to 7 years ago

In August 2010, a colorful parade brought together staff members, volunteers, donors, and partners as the Roulant community moved from its small space on Duluth Street to the building at 111 rue Roy East, which has become such an important part of the organization’s fabric.

Back then, we realized that our communities needed “spaces that inspire, innovate and that strengthen local capacity to create a positive future”. Santropol Roulant launched the “Securing our Future” campaign to take ownership of the new building, ensuring greater organizational stability and growth.

One of our communities’ dreams was to “build a space that was completely wheelchair accessible”. This idea flowered as years went by and our programs expanded and diversified.

7 years after the lively parade and seminal move, almost to the day, we are taking action to realize this vision by building an elevator! We are thrilled to announce that construction will begin in the coming weeks.

Photo credit: David Champagne

From inconvenience to excitement

This project is a big deal for the Roulant. First and foremost, because it heralds a more inclusive era in the organization’s history. But also because, in our context, a project like this one is of significant scale.

We’ve been working on this for the past two years. Numerous volunteers and partners have participated in evaluating the accessibility of the building and conceptualizing the changes, providing valuable counsel and inspiration. Several funding partners, both private and public, have boldly agreed to support the project. Their involvement and dedication are a measure of their trust in Santropol Roulant, and this project would not have been possible without them.

Though the actual construction might be the most visible part of this work, it is also the result of lengthier and less conspicuous efforts, which we mentioned for the first time during the Annual General Meeting last March and are now sharing with you in greater detail.

Construction work will take place over Fall 2017 and should last three months. A project of this kind brings its share of inconveniences, including noise, dust, and other mishaps we cannot predict despite our best efforts. All of this will impact our staff and volunteers’ work. We greatly appreciate your understanding throughout this transition and hope that you will share in our excitement at the prospect of a more accessible and inclusive building.

Making the garden accessible to all

In just a few months, visitors with all levels of mobility who enter the Roulant will be able to access the second floor, terrace, and rooftop garden.

This major transformation of our building will expand the array of activities we offer and increase our community impact. We look forward to hosting intergenerational events on our terrace, offering a wheelchair-accessible rental space, and creating a set-up that enables everyone to participate in urban agriculture and apiculture workshops, as well as enjoy the beauty and serenity of our rooftop garden (still quite a rarity in Montreal’s urban landscape!). More details on all these activities to come!

The Roulant keeps rolling

Santropol Roulant will maintain all of its activities during the construction period. The Meals-on-Wheels will keep running five days a week, the farmers’ market will still take place in front of the building until the end of October, and Santrovélo will be open and accessible several nights a week. Organic basket pick-ups will be relocated to another part of the building, but will be easy to find.

The elevator will be located in one of our parking spaces in the alleyway, and will be accessible from inside the building through the volunteer lounge.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to see you take the elevator with your walker, cane, or wheelchair, only to come out a few minutes later with flowers and veggies in hand.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Pier from the staff or Jon from the board.

We will host an inauguration once construction is completed, but for now, the work begins!

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