Saturday, March 31, 2012


I am taking you to the mall today!! 
Come on!! 
Let's go!!

My mother worked for many years through the 1960s and 70s at this shopping mall, 
an L-shaped open air strip mall that was built in 1953. 
It would eventually become an indoor mall in 1977, 
borrowing from the ample parking lot. 
Situated at the corner of two busy streets, 
Jean-Talon and Pie-IX, 
my mom hated when I went to the mall by myself, 
whether on foot or on my bike. 
But i did like to drop by occasionally.

the supermarket was indeed huge according to my childhood memories, 
and by the standards back in those days.
It stood on the east northern tip on the mall. 
I remember the old white counters where my mom would pick up 
some roasted chicken or pork roast as a quick fix for dinner. 
The B-B-Q smell was intoxicating. 
I still pick up some chicken from time to time, 
and it triggers various memories. 
Then my mom would pick some potato salad, 
and some beers!! 
What else do I remember? 
Morgan was another major feature of this mall. 
I told you before about Morgan that eventually became The Bay
a department store that catered to your every needs. 
at the corner of the L shape, 
you'd find Pascal
the hardware store, 
the kind of place I rarely ventured into until I had a place of my own... 
But next door was Laura Secord
where my mom would always get her chocolate, 
and gossip with her Sicilian friend. 
But my personal preference went to the candy store owned by those German sisters. 
I always felt everything was so tidy at Laura Secord
something I now appreciate as an adult, 
but as a kid, 
there was always so much more to explore [and enjoy] at the other jam packed store. 
can't remember the name either of the shop itself or the sisters'... 
But I remember how they were always so kind, 
and they're the ones who first introduced me to marzipan!!! 
Hardly can get any better than this!! 
What else is there? 
There was plenty but not everything was of interest to me. 
I remember liking to go to Woolworth's
because of the pet section at the back, 
or sitting at the counter with my mom 
to eat a thick crust apple turnover with lots of caramel sauce. 
Hot, obviously!! 
That is also there that many photobooth pictures happened... 
There was Lucien, 
an Algerian if memory serves me right, 
who had an opinion about everything and loved to run his big mouth off. 
He sold newspapers and magazines near the bank. 
And there was a restaurant, 
My mom was good at hiding the fact she was not a great fancy cook 
but managed to do a couple of things considered as comfort food. 
What else did she really need to know? 
Reservations at the nearest restaurant, 
or a few menus to order from, 
the reality of the modern [working] woman.

what did she do at that mall? 
She worked at Lawrence Kiddies' Shops
something she most enjoyed for many years, 
dressing kids from their baptism to their graduation day. 
Can I say I had quite the wardrobe myself!?!... 
I never understood why my mom was so upset 
at the money I'd spend on my clothes as an adult, 
when I was used to having options and quality.

This whole post is based on web research, 
having no pictures of my own to show my mom at work, 
but relying mostly on memories going back 40-50 years ago... 
you see a review of the boutique in another mall in a local paper.

One of those things I remember from the store is that old kiddy ride, 
a '50s horsey  that I loved to ride when I was little.


I found this vid on the web 
and this is as close as I could find.


But I also came across this and just had to share it with you.

I also remember a bird in a cage. 
Was it an Ara or a Macaw?
Beats me!! 
I remember his name was "Pete"!! 
A bird with a nasty disposition, 
but it is understandable as it was trapped in there, 
surrounded by noisy kids that banged on its cage and yelled at it. 
I never had a problem with it 
as I kept my distance, 
not sticking my little fingers in there, 
and speaking to it softly. 
It would look at me from the farthest side of its cage, 
then gradually approach, 
judging I was no threat, 
and it made some funny noises. 
A poor bird that deserved better. 
That probably set me on how I'd like to treat my own pets. 
My kitties have their own room 
and full access to all of the apartment, 
except the balcony, 
as it is how I lost my first [lovely] cat... 
Never again!!


Found you a couple of gems here!!


My mom eventually went on to work at another boutique and also The Bay for a little while, 
before finally retiring, 
something that surprised me quite a lot. 
I thought she'd always keep on working...

If you're curious, 
you can visit other contributors listed at 


As for myself, 
I did carry on two full time jobs for many years, 
literally working "day and night"!!
Officially making me a workaholic.


I used to define myself through my work. 
I always took pride and care in everything I did, 
all work and no play makes you a very dull boy, 
but strangely, 
I felt I had enough time to play and entertain with style, 
more than I do now at any rate. 
I now have a single job and have become quite the homebody, 
always eager to come home to my kitties and some peace and quiet. 
I've learned that a job is a mean to earn a living, 
and that it may reflect some of your aspirations, 
but it never defines you as a person, 
as it can all be taken away from you in a second, 
just a number on a payroll for the boss. 
Appreciation is a rare commodity nowadays!! 
It is a good thing to have interests outside the workplace. 
But you can also meet people through your work, 
people you befriend and they become an integral part of your life. 
But my advice to you:
Office romance is not as romantic as you might think. 
They are the source for gossip and discomfort when things go bad... 
I've seen it happen [to others]. 

It's the middle of the night, 
I'm just rambling on... 
I don't know if this worked for you, 
but this is what I had for you this week. 
I'm going back to bed now!!


  1. I am happy to sit and listen to your rambling any time. Those memories of the shopping mall were both fascinating and infectious - they started me thinking of the shops of my youth in just the way Sepia Saturday should.

  2. i am amazed the detail you remember from this long-ago visits to the mall, but I'm glad you did- it was as though we were there with you.

    I'm telling you, I still remember that candy store, packed to the rafters, and these two gentle ladies smiling down at me, and since I couldn't reach that high, they would get it for me, and I'd look at my parents who would veto it or not...

    I hope we all get to hear those memories you've got!!

    I do have memories going far back, even as a baby, but they're just flashes, nothing elaborate. About this post, I do remember other neighboring stores, but it would have been a very long post, and I have no pics to sustain them.

    I'm still thinking of that pork roast that was a recurring guest on our dining table...

  5. I enjoyed my visit to the mall of your memories.

  6. I used to love shopping at malls especially when they were fairly new and had a lot of different kinds of stores.

  7. Well, I think we definitely shopped 'til we dropped on this post, Ticklebear! I always liked the horsey rides outside the stores when I was a kid too.

  8. I think I enjoyed your memory trip through the mall than I would any actual trips to the mall. I was quite surprised to hear Brewster Projects in Detroit mentioned in the wild video of the model. I lived in Brewster projects for a bit over a year when I was 24/25, just before moving out of Detroit.

  9. Reading your memories of the mall brought back memories for me too. Going to the mall as a kid was a big deal for me in the late 1960s-1970s. We had a movie theater attached to our mall in the late 1960s and it was such a treat to go there to see the latest Disney movie. My grandmother worked at Sears and we would go by and see her too. It's a shame, but the mall from my childhood was torn down several years ago. I enjoyed your post. Think I'll go write down my "mall memories." :)

  10. @ NANCY (B&N):
    And they were on sale!!!

  11. @ POSTCARDY:
    I was never fond of malls. I always preferred going downtown in the big stores, with my parents when I was a kid, and by myself or with friends as a teen, then as an adult. And I've been living downtown most of my adult life. But since my mom worked at one, it was a good enough reason to discuss this here.

  12. @ WENDY:
    Funny the things we remember over time.

  13. @ KRISTIN:
    You mean Rupaul's video. Yeah, it's a small world. Maybe one day, you'll tell us all there is to know about Brewster Projects.

  14. @ QUEENBEE:
    As I've mentionned, it is now an indoor mall and is still thriving, I guess. I always found it to be small, even as a kid. I was made for big stores and large avenues.

    If I was able to inspire a post, why not!! Knock yourself out with it!!

  15. When I was a kid supermarkets and malls hadn't been invited. There were just two grocery shops and a bakery in the village where I lived. You needed to travel by bus to the local town to see what I thought then were big shops.
    You have some fascinating memories about malls. I still avoid them!

  16. @ BOB SCOTNEY:
    Village shops can also have their charms. The bakery must have been delightful. WE had 3 (1 french and 2 italian) at proximity and I always enjoyed going there.
    I also avoid malls. I now shop online, from some trusted stores.

  17. Never mind the shops at that mall; you go inside and shop while I hotwire one of those classic cars. Then we can go for a joyride. Be sure to come back with some baked goods for our little drive.

    P.S. So sorry about your cat. I guess that what I heard about cats being able to survive falls from great heights is not always true.

  18. @ CHRISTINE H.:
    I live pretty high up. Sadly, what made it worse is that she didn't die upon impact. She had time to be scared and suffer for a minute or two... I still miss her, after almost 3 years now.

    You can hotwire a car? Let's take the one on the left, the 2-tones. It's been a while since I've gone for a joyride!! I'll show you around, the city and beyond!!

  19. True words about work and identity. It's one small part of our lives, necessary but not everything. I enjoyed thinking about the early strip malls and how they evolved. Fun vintage ads here. Woolworth's brought back memories of my first banana split at the counter.

  20. Though I never shop in shopping malls now, as a kid I remember going to Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu when it first opened. Whenever I got the opportunity to go there I was happy because there were two Japanese stores I loved. My friend and I would wander around looking at all the beautiful dolls, kimonos, fans, and maybe if we had enough money we'd buy a box of rice candy that had a toy inside.

  21. @ LINDA:
    Apples were my favourite and the hot caramel sauce sealed the deal for me!!! But those banana splits were good too, I'll grant you that much!!

    Much like a Cracker Jack box?

  23. Different than Cracker Jacks in that the boxes were very small. You got a little blue box of rice candy with a little pink box attached. Inside the pink box was where you'd find your toy. It was called Tomoe Ame. I don't know if it's still being made, but I have a box from over 25 years ago and they'd changed it so that it was all one box now. I'm sure the toys are no longer any good, just like Cracker Jacks. You didn't unwrap the candies. You ate the paper too.

  24. @ TATTERED & LOST:
    Yeah, I think I know what you mean and I didn't care much for that.
    But I prefer [Chinese] moon cakes with their heavy dough and soft chewy middle.

  25. What a good memory you have! We didn't have supermarkets in my part of Scotland until the late 1970's, and now we have malls, but they're nowhere near the size of the malls in Canada. I'm a homebody too, and I'm self-employed so at least I can call the shots :-) My kitty was at the vet today - they think he may have a respiratory infection so he's had his antibiotic injection and that should deal with it :-) Jo

  26. The largest Canadian mall is in West Edmonton, Alberta.
    Check it out!!
    Sorry to hear about your cat, Hopefully this one job will do the trick!!
    Just make sure it makes it to the litter, if cats react to antibiotics like humans do...
    Know what I mean???

    1. West Edmonton Mall has hotels? It's vast! I once lost my hired car in a car park in a mall in Albany, NY - it had 3 identical car parks and I couldn't remember which entrance I went in. I had to keep pressing the key fob until I saw the lights flashing. The litter box is at the ready, just in case ;-) Jo

    2. That reminds me when I had dinner with friends and afterwards, she couldn't remember on which floor she had left her car, so we had to go to each floor to try finding her car... Didn't have a key fob back then.... I imagine you got anxious to find that car...

      So, how's the cat doing now? Better, hopefully.

  27. One of your best riffs on a theme. I think many strong childhood memories are stores and the "wonder" of the shopping experience, i.e candy stores, electric ponies, etc. Sad to say that older malls have not aged well and the few that survive don't seem quaint but only seedy.

    1. Well, the thing is, the larger the mall, the most likely you are to see 3 or 4 times pretty much the same merchandise, as retailers have more than one brand and thus, more than one store in a mall; which I find a perfect waste of time for the shopper. I keep it nice and short and have something specific in mund when I do go shopping. But often enough now, online shopping as been a godsend. I can't bear the commute nor the large crowd anymore. I guess I'm not ageing well either...


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