Montreal photographer loses studio in Pierrefonds-Roxboro strip mall fire

“There’s no floor, no walls,” says Taylor Halperin, owner of one of the many businesses gutted after a fire in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro on January 25th. Also, lost in the fire – an irreplaceable item, a beloved memento. Pamela Pagano reports.

Taylor Halperin, 22, is a talented photographer that captures beautiful moments through her lens. She used to do that at her studio – but this is now merely a memory as “BEEhind The Lens Photography” was one of many small businesses that were heavily damaged by a fire in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro in the early hours of January 25.

“I had a sign that said, every picture tells a story,” Halperin said, explaining how her studio looked before the fire. “So I’ve been saying, I guess this is part of my story.”

“The other day it was kind of foggy so I couldn’t really see but I mean, there’s no floor, no walls.”

READ MORE: Fire ravages Pierrefonds-Roxboro strip mall

Fire damage in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

Not only did Halperin lose her photography studio – but in it, something irreplaceable: her late grandfathers’ camera.

“He wanted to leave something special for me before he passed,” she said.  “So he left me what in my eyes was his most prized possession was his camera.”

From capturing family portraits to heartwarming maternity and newborn photos, she’s been doing this professionally for four years, opening her studio in Oct. 2021.

That camera from her grandfather is where her passion for photography began.

“That’s the hardest part, because I had a piece of him that was left and it’s gone again.”

Calls came in to 911 around 1:30 a.m. January 25, about the blaze. The flames quickly spread to most of the plaza, resulting in the roof collapsing.

Fire damage in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

“It just really doesn’t feel real,” said Halperin. “Even standing here, the amount of times I’ve taken the same bus and walked up these steps, it just doesn’t look the same, it doesn’t feel the same.”

No injuries were fortunately reported, as the businesses were closed when the fire started.

Montreal police told CityNews the cause of the fire is still unknown, and an investigation is ongoing.

The community is now coming together to help these small businesses that were a big part of the borough.

“In collaboration with the mayor of Pierrefonds and the city, a few local bands have come together to put on a concert,” she said. “Not just for myself, for everyone who is affected.”

Poster for a concert fundraiser for the businesses impacted by the fire.

The fundraiser “Local Bands for Local Businesses” will take place on Feb. 23. – Tickets are available here.

“The goal is to be a photographer for the next little while,” she added. “I just think the sooner I get started, the better to move past this.”

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