Created and produced by the Old Montreal SDC, Fabricants d’émotions is an eight episode series that introduces you to the historic neighbourhood by geographic sector, and focuses on the entrepreneurial community that makes it so unique.
Forty-three entrepreneurs have eagerly agreed to participate in this web series in order to describe what they love about le Vieux, and what resonates with them in what many affectionately call their “little village” – a town united now more than ever.
Get to know some of these devoted Gens du Vieux who are proud ambassadors of Old Montreal working in various domains, like the restaurant industry, wholesale, hospitality, wellness and self-care, fashion, arts, and culture. Very different businesses, yes, but all containing the same passion and feeling of belonging to this neighborhood that welcomed them into the fold.
Although the artisans behind and in front of the cameras were very enthusiastic and unanimously interested in a project of this size and scope, we also had to reckon with the complex reality of the pandemic. As a result, filming was highly controlled: masks had to be worn, a distance of two metres was maintained at all times, and all services and used items were cleaned and disinfected before and after filming.
Despite all these constraints, spirits ran high. The pleasure these merchants had when talking about their home and businesses was palpable, and the meetings were all pleasant and enriching, even if they were sometimes interrupted by clients coming to the window (David Mariani, barista at Café Olimpico, notably comes to mind) to pick up their coffee.
The generosity of the Gens du Vieux we met touched our film crew. In fact, Fannie Pratte, Marketing Director of the Old Montreal SDC says it’s impossible to not feel deeply touched when remembering Anne de Shalla (President, Signatures Québécoises) speaking of her love for the Bonsecours Market and its shopkeepers. And the whole team was captivated as Jérémie Bastien (Head Owner, Monarque) explains the origin of his business’ name – the monarch butterfly travels the longest distance of its species to migrate; a nearly 4,000 km journey to Mexico. It’s a migration that takes so much strength and energy, and can even last over three generations of monarchs! It makes a nice parallel with the not-so-small affair of opening this restaurant, the head owner explains to us with all honesty: “Opening this restaurant was rather laborious. The work took nearly two years!”
Our little film crew was also very taken with the atelier of designer Denis Gagnon, which they had the privilege of visiting, as well as a menu from 1964 that had been carefully preserved by Benoit Dessureault (Co-owner, Chez Delmo) – a relic of a bygone era… especially evident when you look at the price of the lobster!
Fabricants d’émotions, is an opportunity to see what makes your favourite businesses tick, and learn about the people behind the scenes that evolved from dreamer to entrepreneur.
"No matter where you find yourself in Old Montreal, and no matter what business you visit or what street you walk along, there is this local social fabric created by the honest people responsible for evoking such emotions within us!” exclaims Mario Lafrance, General Director of the Old Montreal SDC, in reference to this unique project.
Photos 6 and 7: Geneviève Giguère