A 1920’s Montreal Grocery Fascia and Its Beers


(Source: Ville de Montréal. Gestion des documents et archives).

Above is a fine image from the City of Montreal’s historical photographic archive. One can see with a couple of clicks some great period detail of beers and beer styles offered by some Montreal breweries.

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, bière et porter (“ale and porter” in English) was a typical description for the main types of beer then sold in mid-1900’s Montreal. You see the words under the vertical letters spelling Molson. This particular grocery store advertised other brands including Ekers I.P. Ale (India Pale), and Black Horse Ale, which was from Dawes of nearby Lachine, QC and later Montreal. The general type of Molson ale then sold, still brewed as Molson Export Ale (but does it taste the same?), was not a IPA, and Black Horse Ale was probably the same. Ekers’ IPA was probably more intense in flavour and somewhat darker.

Barely legible just across from the vehicle in the background is a sign between sidewalk and window display for Frontenac, another Montreal brewery. Here is a fascinating (to amateurs of brewing history) tidbit about Frontenac and its too-short history.

Molson Porter was still sold, in Ontario at any rate, into the 1980’s and was pretty good, the Sleeman Porter I mentioned yesterday is somewhat similar.

No, I can’t remember the 1920’s, but updated versions of these signs endured into the 1960’s and 70’s, and je me souviens.




2 thoughts on “A 1920’s Montreal Grocery Fascia and Its Beers”

  1. What a wonderful glimpse into Montreal’s beer past! Being able to buy beer in deps/grocery stores nearly 100 years ago…the Ontarian notes with a sigh. I shared this with some friends who hail from that great city – we noted the St. Urbain street sign high up on the wall. But we wonder what the intersecting street might be. Any clues?
    Cheers & thanks Gary.

    • Thanks Sean! It’s at the corner of Vitre St. and St-Urbain Boulevard, I understand Vitre is now called Viger but didn’t check. You can just see the Vitre sign if you look closely to the right of the entrance.


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