In addition to interesting architecture, there’s two important things you’ll find in Montréal: poutine and maple syrup. Hopefully not together.
I’ve always wanted to visit Montréal. So, when the opportunity was presented to go for an extended weekend, I jumped at the chance, even though it was the first week of January which might arguably be the worst time to go.
Montréal is a beautiful city any time of the year, especially Old Montréal, the historic center of the city. As expected, it has a touch of European flair to the architecture with the massive old buildings constructed of brick and stone with thick walls that I imagine were designed to keep the cold out. While some interiors keep the classic and rustic look, many new businesses opt for the appealing juxtaposition of the rough stone walls with clean, modern interiors.
Right around the corner from our beautifully urban-rustic hotel, was a good-sized shop selling maple-themed gourmet items with a little bodega in the back, serving coffee drinks and baked goods. Honestly, all the maple syrup and sugar products were the first thing I noticed. But, after sitting down warming my hands on my hot chai latte with maple sugar, I started looking around and appreciating the interior design of the shop.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered we had been hanging out in the newly redesigned flagship Délices Érable & Cie location. The Citadelle maple syrup producers’ cooperative was repositioning their brand to expand their initial mission of promoting maple products to introduce a new concept which added honey and cranberry products. In addition, Citadelle sought to rejig its boutique-bistro concept in order to provide a gourmet experience in a contemporary terroir ambiance. The only way to achieve this aim was to enhance the appeal of the Saint-Paul Street outlet, located in the touristic heart of the city.
The design team of Montréal-based Provencher_Roy’s first initiative was to reorganize the space by knocking down a dividing wall and reducing the width of the stairs. Thus remodeled, the store became more spacious and its structural attributes, such as the stone and brick walls, were accentuated. Furthermore, clearing the large windows at the end of the room enabled the area to be bathed in natural light.
The palette of black and white tones gives the boutique a sober chic that keeps the focus on the products. The use of maple wood, selected for its sturdiness, adds a touch of warmth without falling into rustic cliché. The gourmet products, lit by pendant copper lamps that create luminous halos, are displayed on custom-made shelves made of black metal and wood. At the back of the boutique, an open kitchen protected by a large quartz counter attracts customers, inviting them to mull about the boutique and get acquainted with the products. The choice of copper and quartz is reminiscent of French kitchens and bakeries, while maple wood emphasizes the tradition behind the brand.
Provencher_Roy’s interior design division, won an award at the 10thedition of the Grands Prix du Design, the gala ceremony that celebrates excellence in design and architecture in Québec. Nominated in the Commercial Space, 1,600–5,400 sq. ft. category, the Délices Érable & Cie project was selected by the jury, among other things, for “avoiding the easy route of ostentatious boldness” and for a design that strikes “the right balance between rustic retro and urban modernity.”
The Délices Érable & Cie boutique is contemporary, refined and spacious: a distinctive space where visitors can relax by a large fireplace on cold winter days, learn how maple, honey, and cranberry products are made, and savor the results. And savor them, we did. At least once a day until our departure.
[photography by Yves Lefebvre]