Grain Elevator No. 3 back in business

Grain Elevator No. 3 was built in 1923, the same year the Port of Montreal was recognized as the world’s largest grain port. Located in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, it was a site of intense activity for years; an annex was built in 1928. Only this annex is still standing. Closed down in 1993, it’s about to get back in business – and provide leading-edge operations in the bargain!


CanEst Transit was attracted by the strategic location of Grain Elevator No. 3’s annex, on Notre-Dame Street near Boubonnière Street, and on port territory. As a result, the building will be opening its doors to receive bulk grain by rail and truck, continent-wide from Quebec, Ontario, Western Canada and the U.S. Midwest. CanEst will then be able to ship it to international clients. But that’s just for starts.

CanEst Transit’s idea is to provide more than straightforward grain transportation and storage. That is why Grain Elevator No. 3 is being modernized to clean bulk grain and then containerize it. We will be investing $22 million to restore the building to good working condition and equip it with new conveyors, scales and all the other equipment needed to process grain.

The ability to containerize grain (in other words, load it into a container) gives the Port of Montreal a competitive edge with special appeal for exporters. Now that more and more freight is shipped by container, some newly built ports are not even equipped to receive bulk grain. The trend is clearly toward containerization.

Réal Bélanger, general director of CanEst Transit

"The CanEst project fits in perfectly within our “Port +” strategy to provide value-added services to port users and to attract new clients," said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority. The fact that the grain cleaning and containerization service is located in the port is an invaluable asset for CanEst Transit, enabling it to guarantee much shorter, less costly and more regular delivery times. “Containerized grain goes directly from the silo to the ship, without having to be transported to the port by truck or train. The client gains time and cost savings, which reducing its greenhouse gas emissions,” explained Réal Bélanger, General Manager of CanEst Transit.

The grain elevator inspired photographers. To enjoy works by
Vicent Brillant-Marquis, visit Flickr.
Works by Benjamin Forjat and Nathalie Hurtubise,
visit Urbex Playground

The facility is scheduled to open this summer. Its initial storage capacity will be 68,000 tonnes distributed between 56 silos of 900 tonnes each and 35 silos of 300 to 500 tonnes each. This large number of silos will facilitate delivery management to the various clients.