Since 1842, the northeast corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Mount Royal Avenue had been part of a very large property that extended further north than the present-day Jean-Talon Street. Its owner, politician and doctor Pierre Beaubien, subdivided it in 1876. This particular lot, however, belonged to the Beaubiens for another five decades, perhaps due to its strategic location at the gateway of the Village of Saint-Louis du Mile-End. Louis Beaubien, a federal and provincial politician, inherited it from his father in 1881 and left it to his children in 1915. At that time, its modest buildings housed the Martineau Pharmacy and a waiting room and ticket counter of the Montreal Street Railway.
Former Kresge store, Mount Royal Avenue side, during renovation work in 2020 [photo Justin Bur]
In 1928, the property was acquired by S.S. Kresge Company, Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of the American chain S.S. Kresge Company. During the Depression, five new S.S. Kresge Stores opened in Montreal. Known as 5-10-15-25-cent stores, they offered affordable household goods, clothing and meals. The store at the corner of Mount Royal Avenue and the Main, clad in yellow brick with Art deco motifs, opened its doors in 1930. It was still a popular destination around 1960, when its floor area was increased following the purchase of the adjacent building.
Pharmacie Martineau, corner of Saint-Laurent and Mount Royal, 1913. The tramway waiting room is on the left. [The North End – AVM P28-Z-D1]
In the 1970s, the upper floor was rented to a bar. In 1988, S.S. Kresge Ltd. closed the store and sold the property. Pharmaprix pharmacy has occupied the ground floor since 1989, and the upper storey has housed Luso Montréal Medical Clinic since 1994.
Research: Susan D. Bronson and Jennifer Ouellet (as part of course work supervised by Susan D. Bronson at the Faculté de l’aménagement, Université de Montréal, 2004-2006)
Text: Susan D. Bronson
Taken from a poster produced in 2011 by Friends of Saint-Laurent Boulevard in collaboration with Mile End Memories as part of the project The Main, Forever in Tune