In the heart of Old Montreal, Marché Saint Laurent is a new boutique café offering beautiful Quebec objects and souvenirs.
Posted at 11:00 am
A few meters from the Basilica of Notre-Dame, on the Place d’Armes, when you enter the Marché Saint Laurent shop, you will admire these objects that are so familiar and so new at the same time. Beavers, whales, foxes, caribou and bears made of wood and cardboard attract our attention. There are also “Montréalais.e” t-shirts and cotton sweatshirts, mugs and glasses in style vintagenicely bottled maple syrup, “Montreal” canvas bags that you want to have under your arm or CDs or records by Diane Dufresne and Pierre Lapointe.
“It’s a reinvented gift shop offering items made by local designers and artisans. A shop that also reflects Quebec’s culture,” explains Florence Girod, who opened the Saint Laurent Market this summer.
“And as the name suggests, it’s a market whose products will evolve with the seasons. In the fall, we will be adding hoods, mittens and scarves in particular,” she says.
An offer to reinvent yourself
Florence Girod works at Cossette, one of the largest communications and advertising agencies in Quebec, and her job as a strategist helps her in this new context. She has worked at the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec for 15 years and knows the various clientele that visit the province. “I’ve seen the tourism industry change to make Quebec a destination that competes well internationally with a great range of experiences, but the souvenir offering hasn’t evolved,” she notes.
When you go on a journey, there is a universal need to bring something with you. And there’s no reason why, after an exceptional stay in Quebec, tourists can’t find a place that brings together objects that reflect the culture, the territory and their lived experience. I told myself we had to create this place!
And what are tourists looking for? “Europeans have a great stay, they cruise along the Saint Lawrence River, see the whales, go to the Saguenay, they immerse themselves in nature and want to bring back things that are reminiscent of the territory, the animals, the river . North Americans coming for shorter stays such as clothing, designer items, groceries. There are also newcomers settling here, foreign students, Montrealers wanting to treat themselves to a nice property or give it to friends. »
Florence Girod is of French origin and came to Quebec in 2002. She thinks she has a different perspective. “I always have a tourist’s perspective. I see that animals are rich, that maple syrup is so extraordinary, just like the river. This store is also a way to celebrate my 20 years in Quebec. »
Florence Girod created her brand “Marché Saint Laurent” and offers in particular T-shirts, bags, pennants, wooden keychains, posters and magnets with expressions such as “Tire-toi une bûche”, “Partir sur la go”, “Sitting on your steak”. “Language is a very powerful element when you visit Quebec. Language surprises us, enchants us, so there are objects that reflect language. »
It also showcases local artisans and designers. “There is a great deal of creativity, so making it accessible in a point of sale in the heart of Old Montreal is important. »
Objects with a story
One of the peculiarities of the store is that there are souvenirs vintage. “I like the idea that we can buy used items that are part of Quebec’s history through Expo 67 and the Olympics. There were objects whose design was extraordinary. There are a few more at flea markets, it’s about to fly! »
And to complete the experience, the shop also offers coffee and pastries.
It allows us to survive all year round and it creates a very pleasant atmosphere because we meet tourists and people who work in the neighborhood. The coffee is roasted in Montreal and the pastries are by Olivier Potier. We want to build customer loyalty by offering quality.
She runs this project together with her husband Olivier Miotto, co-owner of the Glam hair salon. “I have experience in branding and marketing and Olivier is a retailer, we complement each other well. »
his ambition? Make Saint Laurent Market a must-see destination in Old Montreal, where you can find a concentrate of all forms of Quebec culture.
She bets correctly. We bought four glasses vintage the Expo 67!