THE POSTAL HISTORY OF ICAO

 

The second permanent accommodation (1975)

 

By the early 70s, the number of delegates of States attending the regular triennial Assemblies was outstripping the capabilities of almost all major convention centres in the world; costs of holding Assemblies with full services in four languages, including multiple and simultaneous meetings, had become prohibitively high. In addition, the ICAO building (at 1080 University Street) presented inadequate rooms in number and size to accommodate major technical meetings held in Montreal. The implications of various financing and management alternatives of a new Headquarters building, i.e. wet-lease (with rental and all building services included), lease purchase and complete ownership, had been considered at that time by the Organization; a pure lease arrangement had appeared to offer definitive advantages and seemed to be the only practicable option taking into account the Canadian Government subsidy.

 

Commercial cover sent to ICAO

1000 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal

Thus, Canadian Government authorities sought to construct new facilities specially conceived for the Organization on the prestigious Sherbrooke Street (at 1000 Sherbrooke Street West), facing the McGill University campus and overlooking Mount Royal, which were ready for occupation by mid-1975. The construction proposal was known as the Schreiber project; in addition to the importance of the architectural concept, a factor which would contribute to ICAO’s identity, general quality, interior space layout especially with regard to the Conference facilities, it was selected due to the desire for a downtown location easily accessible by every means of transportation and within easy walking distance of major hotels. The award-winning 27-storey building (including a five level base structure) was designed by a firm led by Montreal’s Architect André Vecsi; ICAO initially occupied fifteen floors of the building, as well as the whole conference complex adjacent to it to the rear. The new Assembly facilities could accommodate 600 people and the total space rented was 220,000 square feet. Contributions from Contracting States, typical of their arts and natural treasurers, were sought for the furnishing and decoration of the new building, which was officially inaugurated on 3 October 1975.

 

Postcard showing Montreal downtown and ICAO Headquarters located at 1000 Sherbrooke Street West, facing McGill University

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