Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A little French Canadian history - (Volume 2 Addition)

The city of Montreal became dominated by English business and political interests in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the percentage of English to French population varied over time but there were aspects of city life where the French Canadian residents and business people tried to ensure that they were not treated like second class citizens in the largest city of their own province.

The Dupuis family were pacesetters this respect and their store "Dupuis Frères" (Dupuis Brothers) which was originally founded in 1868 grew to become the largest and most popular French Canadian department store in the city. In fact it was one of the largest stores in Montreal period and had established a huge mail order business that spanned francophone customers across the nation. But by the fifties the store's golden age was over and strikes and poor sales were leading to the eventual closure of the business in 1971. There are several excellent websites that highlight the company history including this one.

So what does all of this have to do with Canadian football?  Well, while nobody would ever dispute that the number one sports team in the hearts of French Canadians was the Montreal Canadians one would imagine that there must have been reasonable interest in the French community in the highly successful Montreal Alouettes of the mid-fifties as well. Even if the Als did cater more to the English segment of the population of Montreal at that time.

We know this because shortly after Volume 2 went to press a Dupuis Frères sponsored set of sepia coloured printed pictures (about 5" x 7") of several Alouettes surfaced from 1957. I haven't been able to dig up any definitive information about the promotion but it would seem pretty likely that the store had the items printed up and the players would have attended at store appearances to autograph the pictures. So far only five items are confirmed.

Besides the four pictured players a Tom Hugo picture also exists.

The images used on the pictures are a  mix of those used on the 1954 Blue Ribbon issue and the 1956 Parkhurst issue as you can see by looking at those cards below.

The fact that the Alouettes were at their peak popularity during this era in '54, '55 and '56 with their three consecutive Grey Cup appearances, and that the issue is specifically identified as "57" would lead one to believe that probably the promotion was also run in other years and more so far uncatalogued sets might still be out there. Thanks to football super collector Carl Lamendola for some of the pictures and information about this set.


  1. I need the Trawick for my collection...

  2. I need the Trawick Dupuis for my collection