expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

11 June 2006

Plaza Saint Hubert

Here in Montreal, there is a shopping district known as Plaza Saint Hubert.

Located on Saint Hubert street between Jean-Talon and Bellechasse, the Plaza has a bit of a trashy image nowadays, known mostly for it's thrifty bridal boutiques and bargain clothing stores. (In the Plaza's defense, improvements have been made in the last 10 years to revitalize it's image).

The Plaza has not always been the destination of the bargain hunter. Founded in 1954, the merchant's association was created to protect small businesses on Saint Hubert street from surrounding competitors. The Plaza's popularity shot up in the early 60's with the game show Dix sur Dix, which frequently broadcasted from the Plaza, giving away fabulous prizes such as cars, fur coats, and... houses!

In the 1960's, local celebrities promoted and associated themeselves to the then-posh Plaza Saint Hubert. These celebrities included people I never heard of (Jean Duceppe, Suzanne Lapointe, Jean Grimaldi) as well as one I do know: Michèle Richard!

Michèle promoted a boutique called Brigitte. Young and innocent, she apparently wasn't aware at the time she could ask for free clothing by being the boutique's spokesperson. It's a sore spot of her's, to this day...!

In seeing the way Michèle Richard uses her notoriety, nowadays, to deal free stuff, we realize how times have changed...

black and white photos, circa (from top) 1961, 1963, 1966: ville.montreal.qc.ca
color photo, circa 1965: bilan.usherbrooke.ca



Blogger stinkypaw said...

How interesting and it's unreal how much the Plaza has changed. On the colour picture it almost looks like a part of the Vegas strip...

...and I'm sure Michèle has learnt that lesson fast and well... =^..^=

3:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this piece, I think this lost bit of popular culture is fascinating.

Where can I learn more about this? What kind of sources did you use to mine this information? I would love to hear from you.



1:53 pm  
Anonymous Michelle Sullivan said...

Fabulous blog - cheers! Love the archival photos and historical gems. Happy to add it to my Google Reader and looking forward to more blog posts. Hope it has a long life.

This bit hurt though: "These celebrities included people I never heard of (Jean Duceppe, Suzanne Lapointe, Jean Grimaldi)"
Google them - they were giants of the Quebec stage and television in their day and theatres are named for Duceppe and Grimaldi.
Jean Grimaldi's daughter Francine is one of Quebec's top cultural critics and a recognizable figure at any opening night/vernissage - you may recognize her from the turbans she's famous for wearing.
.. Three legends much more worthy of your attention than Michèle Richard, imho, but that's a matter of taste ;)

8:31 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Thank you for your comment, Michelle. I don't want to make excuses, but I was younger and less aware of Quebecois culture when I wrote this piece. These artisans were indeed giants, and no disrespect or offence was intended...

4:29 pm  

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