Florist's camouflage
Jules d'Alcantara Florist

Jules d'Alcantara Florist

Jules d'Alcantara Florist

A nobleman with a green thumb

Montréal (Quebec), Canada

The origins

Like all good stories, d'Alcantara's begins with «once upon a time»... A Belgian aristocrat of Spanish origin, Count Carlos d'Alcantara, is madly in love with a beautiful French ballerina. His parents view this idyll with a jaundiced eye because the girl is from another social class. Never mind, Carlos leaves his nobility status and drops everything to embark with his beloved on a boat that will take them to Montreal. They settle in the east of the island, in Tétreaultville, in 1900. He then begins to sell fruit and vegetables. In 1917, he purchases a land on Notre-Dame Street where he builds greenhouses and he is the first to sell muskmelon or cantaloupe. Now a family business, it supplies the markets of Montreal such as Bonsecours Market, and the Maisonneuve Market.

The floristry

Carlos is a builder with an entrepreneurial spirit. He sells melons for a while and then launches into floristry in 1925. Unknowingly, he just planted the seed of what would become one of the most recognized business in floristry in the Montreal area. At his death in 1926, his son Joseph takes over. He passes on his knowledge to his brothers, who in turn want to fly on their own and have their own greenhouses. Two of them choose to stay in the east of Montreal, including Jules.

The store on Sherbrooke Street

Jules and his wife Irene founded Jules D'Alcantara Florist in 1949. Located on Sherbrooke Street, the building also housed the family upstairs. Although both died today, their business, like the ones from the other d'Alcantara brothers, still exists, and nearly 100 years later, this is the fifth generation of this illustrious family of gardeners and florists who continues the adventure started by Carlos. When we visited the place, it has been abandoned for nearly 10 years, but there is evidence that the building has found a taker, judging by the disappearance of the “For Rent” sign which adorned the storefront for years. Squatters and vandals, who used to waltz in there like they owned the place and ransacked almost the entire property, are now facing well barricaded entrances.

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