Thursday, February 22, 2024

Blanchett Shoe Reserve hid a treasure

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
"Total creator. Evil zombie fan. Food evangelist. Alcohol practitioner. Web aficionado. Passionate beer advocate."

These 400 husbands, all women, had been in hiding for 60 years, unconcerned about them, since no one knew – or at least remembered – their existence. Jean Benoit Garneau, grandson of Chaussures Blanchet founder Phydime Blanchet, is the one who made the discovery.

Last month, he was looking for wooden planks to make it easier to move heavy shoe-making machines up the stairs. Examining in the storage room upstairs was enough for him to realize that the slabs of shelves, full of merchandise, had perfect dimensions.

secret door

So he proceeded to dismantle it. Oh surprise! As he moved the shelves, he fell on the door of a cupboard built into the wall. slot. Since then, pairs of shoes have fallen into oblivion and the darkness has reappeared in full light.

We are amazedLucette Blanchett Garneau, daughter of Phydime and current administrative assistant to the store, is captured by Lucette Blanchett Garneau.

The shoes recently discovered by the Blanchett family were all made in Quebec and dated back to the 1960s. At the time, some pairs sold for between $3 and $6.

Photo: Radio Canada / Nicole German

What is the history of all these shoes? The Blanchett family could easily guess this.

My father was also a shoemaker. Lower Town manufacturers sent him shoes with a slight defect for him to fix.

Jean-Benoit Garneau’s mother believes that there were also specimens in the batch, because she and her family did not detect any abnormalities in certain pairs.

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Lucette Blanchett-Garneau assumed that at some point, my father had to put everything away. Then I need space. placement of shelves.

Piles of old cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other.  Inside some are women's shoes.

All the shoes discovered are in excellent condition and have retained the charm of their years of manufacture, the 1960s.

Photo: Radio Canada / Nicole German

Louis Blanchett, the current owner of the store, took a picture of the shoes. His girlfriend posted it on Facebook.

And there, there was an explosion of letters from everywhere: Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Alberta…

Lucette Blanchet-Garneau did not expect such madness on social networks, which was combined with phone calls and direct orders in the store.

A lady appeared with a picture saying, “Here’s the picture of the dress I’m going to wear, we have a big event in 1960, find me the right pair of shoes.”

In addition to individuals, organizations from the world of film and theater have expressed interest in acquiring these shoes that can be used to shoot a movie or perform a piece from the period.

Two white shoes with flat heels and white laces inside of which we can see a red cross symbolizing the hospital environment.

Among the shoes stacked in a closet at Chaussures Blanchet is a pair dedicated to nurses, recognizable by the white and red cross cut into the sole.

Photo: Radio Canada / Nicole German

How much is this discovery worth? It is difficult to evaluate.

Some pairs still bear the marks. It sold for $3.95, $4.95, $5.95, in 1960. But, what is it worth today?

Lucette Blanchett Garneau can’t tell. Just like she doesn’t know what they’re going to do with all these pairs.

In a museum?

We must first inventory them. We didn’t have time to close the store. We only emptied a hundred.

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time is passing. At the end of August, the ownership of the building on Rue Richelieu was changed. The Blanchett family had only a few weeks to empty the building. Phydime’s daughter would like all these vintage shoes to end up in the museum. According to her, this would be the best place for them.

With all this, we can trace the history of leather in Quebec. It’s the fortune of the city, with Tanur Street and all the factories we had.

It will also be a way to preserve the memory and heritage of the Chaussures Blanchet department store, which has been in operation since 1936.

With information from Nicole German

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