It’s not just downtown Montreal towers that have to contend with hybrid work and labor shortages. At the Institut Pacifique, a community organization in northern Montreal, newly renovated premises are looking for takers.

“We are aware that we have an exceptional place, so the goal would be to offer it to other organizations so that they can also benefit from it,” explains Isabelle Boissé, director general of the Pacific Institute. “These are quality premises for young people, and there are few of them in Ahuntsic or Montreal North,” she adds.

The Pacific Institute is located on Gouin Boulevard, in the north of the island of Montreal, next to the Île-de-la-Visitation nature park. A place at the junction of the boroughs of Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Montréal-Nord.

In 2016, the organization whose mission is to promote peaceful conflict resolution among young people launched a major fundraising campaign to renovate and expand the heritage building where it has been located since 1976.

The work was unavoidable, the building no longer met certain standards and no longer met the mission of the organization. The fundraising campaign was a great success, and the organization managed to raise $4.5 million. Work began in 2018. The new building was inaugurated in November 2019, a few months before the start of the pandemic.

The before-and-after photos of these renovations show the premises to be small and dark, compared to a now bright and airy building.

Three years later, the Pacific Institute put its building up for sale, for nearly $5 million.

The organization had not anticipated the upheavals that COVID-19 would cause, says Geneviève Dumais, director of communications. “Just in terms of employees, we went from 40 to 25,” she illustrates.

Then the labor shortage, glaring in the community, was added. Teleworking has finished emptying the offices.

Result: vast spaces, decorated with the style of the day, but deserted. Hence the decision to try to sell or rent the building. “We asked ourselves: is our objective to build a heritage or to put money in our mission? “said Ms. Dumais.

“We see that there is a movement taking place for many organizations, there are some who were staying in certain buildings and who have to move. We are trying to see – if an owner buys it – maybe we could stay as tenants by cohabiting with others. There are really plenty of possibilities, because this space is magnificent, but we only inhabit it in a small proportion at the moment. »

Not to mention the stress that comes with being a homeowner. “We are a small, reduced team, with a profile of people from the social sciences. We are not building managers, ”summarizes Ms. Dumais.

The major donors of the initial project were all notified of the proposed sale, assures Ms. Dumais, and they reacted well to the announcement.

With the outbreak of gun violence in the metropolis, the mission of the Pacific Institute has never been more relevant, believes Ms. Dumais.

Every afternoon, the premises welcome dozens of children from the neighborhood who come to have fun under the watchful eye of educators, whose mission is to teach social skills and resolve conflicts through play.

Passing La Presse one afternoon in late March, several children were playing dodgeball in a bright gymnasium. Others draw or play foosball. Wilby Descartes, an educator at the Institute for 17 years, knows them all by name.

Educators from the Pacific Institute also travel to schoolyards and parks in the two neighborhoods to lead games with children. With the new waves of migration, workshops are given in reception classes for young people newly arrived in Quebec, explains Ms. Dumais.

The Institute’s flagship project is Vers lepacific, a conflict resolution and mediation teaching program for schools in Quebec.

With premises made to measure in this way, the Pacific Institute does not wish to move. The dream is rather to share costs such as facilities. In other words, as Ms. Dumais says: “Coexist with missions compatible with ours.” »