By Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca
The building on the corner of Rue Le Royer and St. Laurent Blvd. was designed by architect Alphonse Piché and built in 1917 as a storage and office building. With ten floors and a flat roof the building has the typical design of the Montreal skyscrapers of the early twentieth century. Red brick is the dominant material for the main facades, with stone for the the base and the top section of the building. High corniches and heavy adorned cartridges at the top give it a classic neo-baroque character. Both facades of St. Laurent and Rue Le Royer have their own entrance, while a service entrance exists on the east side on Rue Saint-Jean Baptiste.
In September 1920 the building was bought by Montreal businessman Peter C. Larkin, founder ofthe Salada Tea Company, who moved his facilities into the building in February 1921. In 1925 the Company ordered a sculpture of Marguerite Bourgeoys to be carved into the facade facing Le Royer in commemoration of the founder of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame and the convent which stood on this site until 1912.
The Salada Tea Co. sold the building in 1952, but only left the premises in 1957, when it moved its operations and offices to 1400 Cote-de-Liesse in the Burough of St. Laurent.
After being restored in the mid-1980s, the old Salada building is now an office building.
The Salada story began in 1892 when Peter Larkin started selling his unique, high quality blend of black tea in innovative foil packages, as opposed to being sold in loose form from chests. Teas from as many as thirty different “gardens” were blended to guarantee a perfect, satisfying cup of tea, and the flavour-sealing packaging ensured the freshness. Larkin decided to call his product “Salada”, after a Ceylon tea garden which was no longer in existence back in 1892 when he founded his tea company. Larkin discovered the name “Salada” as he was flipping through Thacker’s Directory of Tea Gardens. The name immediately appealed to him due to its pleasing sound, and since its spelling was similar to Canada, he decided to adopt it for his company’s name. The tea itself was called “Golden Teapot Blend – Pure Ceylon Tea,” and this appeared on the package along with the company name, the Salada Tea Company. In early days when grocers wanted more tea, they asked for “some more of that Salada Tea,”which prompted Mr. Larkin to drop the “Golden Teapot Blend” name and adopt “Salada” as the name of his product.
Salada became one of the leading teas in Canada and northeastern United States, which prompted Larkin to establish a U.S. headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts in 1917. In the 1930’s Salada followed the trend of packing its teas into tea bags, a convenience format allowing users an easier way to enjoy their tea.
oday, people wanting a warm cup of quality tea, still reach for a box of Salada, as many generations have done before. Peter Larkin would be as proud of his tea blend today as he was when he started in 1892.
Salada is currently a division of Redco Foods, Inc. in Little Falls, New York
Source: Vieux Montréal / Salada / Unilever / Dictionary of Canadian Biography