Exhibition from May 18, 2017 to February 4, 2018
Do your grocery shopping and retrace 200 years of food in Montreal! Explore the places that have marked life in the neighbourhood, like public markets, small grocery stores and the first grocery chains.
Follow the evolution of products through different eras. Also, see the beginnings of the food processing industry, which develops in response to a basic need: to feed the neighbourhood and feed the city.
It is an occasion to reflect on contemporary issues and to take note of grassroots initiatives making their mark on a modern city.
Going Grocery Shopping
People have been going grocery shopping for generations. It is a custom that dates back to a time when fresh produce was sold in markets, while basic staples and processed foods were found on the shelves of small grocery stores. Over time, independent grocery stores multiply and offer a broader range of products to their customers.
As early as the 1920s, the appearance of grocery chains like Dominion Stores and Steinberg provides major competition. The supermarket takes shape, attracting consumers with its promise of finding everything under one roof. A series of old photographs will transport you back to the heart of these bustling locations.
A lot of products
Industrialization leads to the rise of numerous food processing factories. Among them are Molson, Viau, the Ferme Saint-Laurent, Laura Secord and Pain moderne canadien. Containers, tools, and promotional objects all serve to recall the products of another time.
Images also help to record the infrastructure required to transport and conserve food, like the immense cold-storage warehouse in the Old Port. At the heart of numerous shipping lanes and a principal national railway junction, Montreal is a lively trade hub in the second half of the 19th century. It is also a chance to find out about the role of the wholesale importer, an actor at the centre of an international network.
Finally – and more recently – various initiatives take root in the city: collective kitchens, community greenhouses and gardens, mobile markets…
Extract: Épicerie Chapdelaine & frères, Saint-Eusèbe de Verceil, corner Fullum and Ontario, circa 1920. Photo: Edgar Gariepy, Félix Barrière Collection, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
This project is part of the application of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec.
It benefited from the financial support of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal between the City of Montréal and the Government of Quebec, and from the support of the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec.