In 2007, the Government of Canada announced that Canada Lands Company would be the master developer for Montreal’s New Harbourfront Initiative and as such acquired the Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre site. A former mail processing plant, the 9.7-hectare (24-acre) property sits on the Lachine Canal, within walking distance to the city of Montréal’s central business districtand Old Montréal. 

Following the acquisition of the site, Canada Lands launched a public process to engage local community stakeholders and municipal officials on potential uses for the site and with this input developed a preliminary vision statement. An advisory committee included representatives of the local surrounding communities, the Sud-Ouest Borough, and the City of Montréal. Their priorities and aspirations included remediation, recovery of natural and architectural heritage features,  improved access to the waterfront, seamless integration with the surrounding community, as well as residential, commercial and employment opportunities. 

In May 2008, Canada Lands Company unveiled its proposed plan, which envisioned an inclusive and family-oriented development that offered various housing types, workspaces and retail stores. The name “Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre”, was chosen tocommemorate the four shipping basins built between 1848 and 1885 that originally occupied the site. Two of the basins were fully excavated to maximize waterfront homes while the others were partially excavated to maintain their historical structure. One of the partially excavated basins allows for recreational green space while the other diverts rainwater from the site into an aesthetically pleasing filtration pond, rather than into the city’s storm sewers. Canada Lands’ plan for the site integrated these basins into the overall vision for the property in order to provide access to the waterfront and a refined parkland landscape. The plan also included a mixed-use community that fits into the surrounding environment with more than 2,000 residential units, 500 affordable and social housing units, as well as green space and playgrounds that account for roughly 20 per cent of the development. As part of the Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre development, Canada Lands worked alongside Parks Canada and the City of Montréal to facilitate public access to the Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada.

Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre emphasized connectivity and walkability with pedestrian and cycling trails planned throughout. Additionally, more than 90 per cent of materials from the deconstruction of the mail processing plant were reused in the development. In recognition of these integrations, in 2013, Les Bassins received LEED-ND Gold accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council.