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Rawdon Stores
This photo with Crowe’s store in the background was taken much before Helen’s time, probably about 1900 but until it was finally renovated into living quarters, the building never changed, only the school did.

The Gatineau Power Company

The Gatineau Power Company had its office and store on 4th Avenue. [later there was a five and ten cent store there]. In the big window of the Power Company, they had lamps that I remember so well. The lamps were cylindrical in shape and had a metal top and base. When the lamp was plugged in, an inner celluloid colour wheel rotated from the heat of the bulb. Many a time I stood there and watched the scenes that were created by those lamps. One was a scene of Niagara Falls and one could easily imagine the roar of the water as it tumbled down. Another one was a forest fire scene with the flames shooting upwards and the animals outlined against the fire. I particularly remember a deer running along. As a child it disturbed me to think of the poor trapped animals. The changing colours and the motion of the revolving inner cylinder closely simulated leaping flames or flowing water. Another time there was a lamp with a train running along with its headlights gleaming and the wheels giving the allusion of turning.

This was in the late twenty’s or early thirties, long before television and such things were very fascinating, especially to children

Louis Crowe had a store on 4th Avenue across from the school. It was on the side of their brick house with a step  between. There was a bell over the door which let them know that someone had entered. To the left was the grocery department with shelves of canned goods and boxes of food.

In the glass enclosed ‘‘front ’’ counter, which was actually at the back of the store, there were glass jars and boxes of candy where we bought honeymoons 2 for 1 cent, [chocolate covered honey fondants] caramels 3 for 1 cent, liquorice whips, pipes, chewing plugs) 1 cent each. The black liquorice chewing plugs made one’s spit the colour of real chewing tobacco. We didn’t often part with the delicious taste even though it made a nice brown tobacco stain on the white snow - a cent for a candy was not easy to come by.

At the far end of the counter, the boxes of biscuits were stacked up. They often had glass covers to keep them fresher. There were few ready packed biscuits in those days. Often, near the bottom of the box, the marshmallow biscuits would be tough and chewy and stale.

On the right side was the counter where the yard goods were measured out. There was a glassed case where sewing thread and embroidery floss was available. There were not too many shades to choose from but enough to do us. The Girls’ Guild was a good customer and more than once I was sent to purchase skeins of floss for Miss Kidd.

The coal oil or kerosene was kept in the shed built on to the side of the store. Potatoes and other root vegetables were kept in the cellar under the store accessible by a trap door in the floor.

Most of our school supplies -  scribblers [exercise or copy books], erasers, pencils, pens, and ink were purchased at Crowe’s store. I remember the store mostly when Walter Blagrave owned it. Later Cecil Burns had it for a while. Then it was remodelled into a dwelling place.

ed note certain photos have been added to enhance the article centered in the 1930s these photos were found using Google Images and may or may not be subject to copyright law.


1930retail display
pep-cereal Mrs. Harry Saunders’ StoreMrs. Harry Saunders kept a store in the front two rooms of her house on the corner of Metcalfe and 2nd Avenue. You had to climb several steps to the front veranda and when you opened the door it would strike against an overhead bell announcing your arrival. Mrs. Saunders would timidly open the door from the kitchen and peek out. Often a cat or two had to be brushed off the counter. Mrs. Saunders had many cats. On the right side of the counter was a glass case with a glass shelf. She kept candies in there that could only be reached from the opening in the back. On the other end of the counter were the balance scales. In between were newspapers to wrap bread in. A cone of white string sat on an upper shelf, the string winding down through a series of hooks to the counter below. All parcels were ties with this string.Mrs. Saunders kept the cardboard strips that divided the biscuits in their boxes. These were used as tally sheets to list purchases. She always had short stubs of pencils to write with. They always seemed to need sharpening. She used a knife to sharpen them as a sharpener used up too much pencil, especially if the lead broke during the process. Pencils were expensive - 2 cents if there was no eraser on the end.Mother sent us to buy groceries that came in cans or packages. We did not relish eating cat hairs mixed in with our food. Finally, we stopped going as the bread and cheese was often stale, even mouldy. We had tried to patronize her store as it was difficult for an older woman to make a living. There were no pensions to rely on.
This photo of Arcade Marchand was taken with him osing beside his gas pump - the word pump being key - note the comment by Don on this subject.

Arcade Marchand’s store was on the west side of Metcalfe at 2nd Avenue. [this store burnt and the business was relocated to the corner of 1st Avenue and Queen Street] It was much larger than Mrs. Saunders’ and attached to the house but not part of it. [Later his daughter, Nicole took over the store. Nicole’s daughter, Jocelyn and her husband, Denis, bought the business. Today it is operated by two of  their sons. I believe this to be the oldest business establishment in Rawdon still in the same family, 4 generations and the 5th now working in the store.]

Behind the store was another large building which housed hay and feed for animals. There was also a stable for the horse used to do deliveries. . For many years Richie Corcoran was the delivery man. [There were extra places for horses to be given shelter when farmers came into town by buggy or sleigh]

A drum of kerosene was out back, as well. We still bought kerosene after the arrival of electricity. I vaguely remember when we had only oil lamps to see. At night Mother always kept a lamp turned down low in the upstairs hallway.

Molasses came in a big drum kept at the back end of the store. A metal measure was placed under the spout and the tap opened to let the molasses run out. In the winter when the store was much cooler, it took a long time to ‘run’ out - as slow as molasses in January.

In the summer, when bananas were available, there would be a big stalk of them hung from a hook in the ceiling. They were 25 cents a dozen and a great Sunday treat for us. Mr. Marchand would break off a bunch depending on how many you wanted. At first the stalk would be green but as the days went by and they ripened to take on a golden hue.

Twenty ounce cans of peas and corn sported the Red Rose symbol on their labels. Mother would cut out the roses from the label and use them to pretty up gifts. Or we could choose the Lynn Valley brand of peas, wax beans, peaches , and pears. The pictures of the fruit or vegetables came in handy for school projects.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Shredded Wheat with its picture of Niagara Falls on the box, Muffetts,  like little round bales of hay, puffed Rice, Puffed Wheat, Rolled Oats by Quakers, and Cream of Wheat were the main cereals to choose from.
There was no wrapped bread in my early days. A sheet of newspaper served to carry it home. Bread was baked in double loaves which were often split into single loaves for sale. There was a choice of water bread or milk bread. You could buy a single loaf of water bread for five cents. It was a very light bread with a crispy crust. We bought the milk bread which was seven cents.
Shelves were lined with cleaning products as well as food. If the sewing machine needed oiling we bought a small tin of 3-in-1 with its little spout that let oil out in drops.
Hawes Lemon Oil for furniture was a familiar smell in many homes.
fels naptha
Various soaps for washing were offered. Bars of Fels Naptha, Comfort and Barrileau were stocked.
Lifeboy Soap
Among the hand soap available were red bars of  Lifeboy Soap with its pungent odour of carbolic. Lux for woollens and other ‘delicates’ was also available Lux for clothes as well as the rival Ivory Snow Flakes, 99.9% pure! .
stockins-run To get the grease and grime off really dirty hands tins of Snap could be purchased. This soft but gritty soap made ground in dirt disappear or it would wear the skin off in its effort. 
For our ‘beauty’ soap we could choose from white bars of Lux Toilet Soap or Ivory Soap, or the ever familiar green Palmolive.


In the spring when it was marble time we bought our supply at Marchand’s. The clay marbles were cheapest, five for ten cents. Alleys or Bull’s Eyes came in different sizes and colours and were priced accordingly.
old marbles
thompson pen Fountain pens replaced  straight nibs as we progressed in school. Then Marchand’s offered a new type of pen. It had no tube to siphon up the ink. You just dipped the pen in the ink pot and it could write several words before running dry. It did not make as many blots on the paper nor did it leak but it did not have a cover to protect the nib. My first such pen was dark red. The part where my handheld the pen was red with fancy gold markings on it. The rest of the long handle which tapered to the end, was plain dark red. The overall length was about eight inches. [20.5 cm] Because there was no cap to protect the nib, several falls to the floor ruined it. I chose a green one to replace it. [Helen’s daughter still has this pen] The new pen cost 15 cents, my whole weekly allowance at the time.  

Our purchases were carried home in brown paper bags, even eggs!


   [The following is a comment by Nicole’s daughter, Jocelyn, who with her husband, took over the business from her mother. “This a picture in front of the store: My grandfather came to Rawdon with his family to build himself the store . My mother said she arrived there when she was 2 years old and now she is 89 . [Nicole would be the same age as Helen.] Her father died when Nicole was 19 years old and she took over the store. I think that is when Mr. Corcoran moved in with them. So we were lucky to have my mother take it over and then she married my father 2 years later.”]Here is a comment from some one in the next the next generation who remembers ”Marchand’s“ store:Helen’s story focuses on the '20s and '30s. We only moved into the red brick house across the street from the store around 1946. I was two years old then. So my memories date back to the late'40s and early '50s......................

Back then, I recollect that there was a big, long counter at the front of the store where customers would be served with limited access to some items on shelves in the store. The days of the "supermarket" followed years later, probably the late '50s when you could actually go and choose most items by yourself.

Also I remember the old gas pumps  outside at the front of the store (I think there were two...one for regular gas and one for premium or maybe one was kerosene). Customers would have to manually pump the amount of gas that they wanted, as seen in the site glass high up, at the top of the pumps and then fill their gas tanks by gravity. As a kid, I used to love to be able to pump a few gallons.

Bev mentions the barns at the back of the store. We used to have a ball playing in the hay barn. Hiding in the bales and climbing, jumping around.

Nothing to do with the store, but I also have fond memories of sliding on the snow in winter down the hill at the south side of the property. We spent many hours after school and on weekends sliding there.

And, of course, hitching a ride on Uncle Ritchie's wagon (or sleigh in the winter). He would often drop us off at school (corner of Metcalfe and Third).


MORE OF HELEN COPPING'S STORIES : 10-School Days 9-Early Radios and Programs 8-Church Time 7- Christmas
La centrale de Rawdon est la troisième plus petite des centrales d’Hydro-Québec. Charles Park était du nombre des premiers opérateurs du barrage. Un nouveau barrage fut inauguré le 11 septembre 1986 et c’est l’écrivaine Mia Riddez-Morisset, présidente du comité «SOS Pontbriand», qui eut l’honneur de couper le traditionnel ruban. La nouvelle centrale de 3,4 mégawatts a été inaugurée par Monsieur Guy Saint-Pierre, président du groupe SNC-Lavalin, firme qui a assuré les travaux de 1985-86 et s’est vue confier l’administration de la centrale en 1991... Rawdon et ses personalites Algonquin Power on ouareau m&mbeach1986

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