The Russian Federation has a rich heritage totaling more than $16 million in buildings in the Montreal region. These properties, all acquired during the Cold War era, are linked to espionage and counterintelligence operations.
Our Bureau of Investigation has uncovered several interesting pieces of information about these properties, some of which are shrouded in mystery. The consulate did not respond to our questions on these.
The Russian consulate located in downtown Montreal has long been under surveillance by the Canadian secret services, which even had a cache in a building opposite. The government complex is made up of three sumptuous residences located in the Golden Square Mile worth nearly $14 million. They were acquired from wealthy Montreal families, including the Molsons.
The sales documents for one of the USSR buildings are signed by Thomas Henry Pentland Molson. This member of the famous Montreal brewing family bought the Club de hockey Canadien in 1957 with his brother Hartland. He sold his opulent residence for $152,000, a few months after the birth of his grandson, Geoff Molson, the current owner of the Montreal Canadiens.
The neighboring building has been the subject of a story worthy of a spy film.
On January 14, 1987, a fire broke out in the central building of the consulate. Soviet guards first deny access to firefighters while employees rush out communist government documents from the back of the building.
When the firefighters were finally able to gain access to the interior, they were closely watched by consulate employees who tried to prevent them from entering certain rooms.
Despite the efforts of the Soviets, the Canadian secret services will get their hands on the remains of the house completely ravaged by flames.
Government agents will comb through the rubble in a bid to find documents belonging to their Eastern Bloc rivals.
A few years later, a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agent who took part in this ultra-secret operation called Project F even filed a complaint in court against his employer.
Guy Chamberland said he had been contaminated by bacteria while sorting the debris from the fire by hand.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, several citizens have demonstrated in front of the Russian consulate in Montreal.
Diplomats also had to deal with suspicious packages in March, our Bureau of Investigation revealed. The consulate provided itself with an airtight box to open its mail after finding white powder on two envelopes.