Montreal Pharmacy

By: Dick Nieuwendyk @ mtltimes.ca

 

Charles Edouard Duquette, founder of what was going to be the “Pharmacy Montreal”, interrupted his studies in pharmacy to participate in the First World War of 1914-1918, when he treated sick and wounded soldiers on ships making the London-New York crossing. He resuming his pharmaceutical studies at the end of the war, and received his diploma in 1918.

 

Montreal Pharmacy - ca 1935
Montreal Pharmacy – ca 1935

On May 10, 1923, Charles opened the “Montreal Pharmacy”, a small drug store on the corner of St. Catherine and Beaudry, which would become the most famous pharmacy in the world. Based on what his father, also a pharmacist, used to say, that Quebec drug stores were exploiting customers by selling drugs too expensive, Charles decided to sell at discount prices, and offering specials. He would give customers apples, butter or sugar in return for their spending on pharmacy products. His pharmacy was the first to offer cosmetic products, such as make-up and perfumes to its clients. Charles Duquette was also the first to sell drugs at discount price to smaller pharmacists, who would then sell them to their clients at fair retail price. Among them was a pharmacist named Jean Coutu. In 1926, Montreal Pharmacy started a free motorcycle delivery service. In 1927, the business moved to new premises on the corner of St. Catherine and Amherst, where in 1931, a “night service” started, making the Montreal Pharmacy the only one in Canada with a 24-hour, seven days a week service, including free delivery service within 25 kilometers from the City. At one time, the pharmacy had 57 delivery vans and 132 employees.

 

On November 9, 1934, Charles Duquette moved his pharmacy to a new five story building at 916, St. Catherine East. It was designed in the Art-Deco style by Montreal architect Raoul Gariépy, and built by J.L. Guay & Frères. Among the 300+ invited guests attending the inauguration were Montreal Mayor Camillien Houde, his wife, and senators Guillaume-André Fauteux and Arthur Marcotte. Over the years, the Montreal Pharmacy catered to people from all walks of life, including Mayor Houde, members of the Cotroni family, Sarto Fournier, prostitutes, and men, who would buy expensive perfumes as gifts for their favorite ladies of the Bellevue Casino on Ontario Street. Some of the girls would sell the perfume back to the pharmacy at a discounted price.

 

Montreal Pharmacy-2016
Montreal Pharmacy-2016

The Montreal Pharmacy, being open round the clock (which continued until 1973), had no locks on its doors. In the early 1940s, it became the first building in the country to have automatic doors installed. In 1950, Charles’ son, Jean-Paul Duquet (his last name is spelled wrong because of an error made on his baptismal records) became his partner.  “Duquette & Duquet” hired students during the summer to serve as tour guides to local and foreign tourists, showing them the five floors of merchandise including the laboratory in the basement.

 

The Montreal Pharmacy, being open round the clock (which continued until 1973), had no locks on its doors. In the early 1940s, it became the first building in the country to have automatic doors installed. In 1950, Charles’ son, Jean-Paul Duquet (his last name is spelled wrong because of an error made on his baptismal records) became his partner.  “Duquette & Duquet” hired students during the summer to serve as tour guides to local and foreign tourists, showing

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email


Wild turkey in NDG

Wild turkey in NDG and Montreal West nicknamed Butters

The latest strange sighting in Notre Dame de Grace (NDG) is a 20 pound wild turkey roaming the streets. That’s right a wild turkey in NDG. Residents of NDG and Montreal West are so used to seeing this wild turkey on their front yards they have nick named him Butters. Experts say they usually mind

Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco 101

Smokeless tobacco is available in two forms: snuff and chewing tobacco. And it’s commonly referred to as spit tobacco, chew, or dip. Snuff is typically finer and comes in pouches. Chewing tobacco, on the other hand, is larger in size and comes loose in small cans and paper packets. Smokeless tobacco is a better alternative

Balarama Holness

Balarama Holness considering a run for 2021 Montreal Mayor

For many, Balarama Holness will always be the former Canadian football safety who won the Grey Cup Championship with the Montreal Alouettes in 2010 despite the fact that a  series of injuries cut short his football career. A few years ago, Montrealers got to take another look at the local star athlete when Holness represented Projet Montréal in the 2017

wild boar seen in Magog

Wild Boar seen in Magog area – residents on alert

We have seen an increase in wild animals in and around the Island of Montreal during the pandemic. There have been more and more sightings reported of coyotes, skunks and foxes. Just this past November a flock of wild turkeys took a romp through the Plateau-Mont-Royal area. Even raccoons and squirrels have become bolder in

history of counselling therapy

A brief history of counselling therapy

The history of counselling therapy can be traced back to Ancient Greece when the Greeks first identified mental illness as a medical condition and not spiritual. Human beings have always found comfort in sharing their troubles with others. Many people have differing theories for the origin of counselling therapy. Below is a brief history of

Control on Online Casinos

Legislation – The control on online casinos

Gambling laws and control on online casinos is a very complex subject that is different in every country. You may find some countries that embrace the gambling world, whereas others do anything to completely ban it. Moreover, you can come across different jurisdictions that take on different approaches to online casinos. The US is one

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox