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The Chronicle

Chronicle 1996

Brenda O’Farrell

Then and Now, not everything changes with time

Ninety-six years after it opened for business on Ste-Anne St. in Ste.Anne de Bellevue, D’Aoust’s store remains one of the most unique and recognized businesses in the town.

Built in 1900, the two-story brick building was Guisolphe D’Aoust’s second store in Ste-Anne.  His first store stood at the corner of St-Jean Baptiste and Ste.Anne streets.

D’Aoust’s new store was a grand establishment in those days. Large stairways with sturdy wooden railings showcased the interior’s split-level design. In the early days, according to author and long-time Ste.Anne resident Judith Isherwood, goods from Montreal were carried to the store by horse-drawn carts and sleighs after they were unloaded from steamboats at the wharf at the foot of St-Pierre St.

And there was no shortage of selection. Among the items available for purchase were furniture, shoes, clothes, fabrics and hardware.

Eventually, D’Aoust’s two sons, René and Jean-Charles, took over the family business.  Today, the store is operated by René D’Aoust’s son, Philippe.

Today, D’Aoust’s store is considered a Montreal landmark. One of the most popular conversation pieces in the old building is the 1924 Lamson cash-carrier, a sophisticated cash register system that ferries money in small containers along an intricate track runs throughout the store.

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