Published in the Montreal Gazette on November 29, 2014
As a former Green candidate in a 1983 Quebec provincial by-election, I have always had a keen interest in ecological and environmental matters. From the food that we eat to the clothes that we wear, the issue of the sustainability of our habits and lifestyle is nowadays front and centre for most attentive consumers.
In that regard, today on Notre Dame near McGill Street, there is a most attractive green shop dedicated to this very passion. It is dubbed P’lovers (short for Planet Lovers) and it is one of only four such brand name stores in Canada. The other three akin businesses are found in Nova Scotia.
The Montreal concern is situated, appropriately enough, in an old recycled edifice once called Recollet House. The ornate building was constructed in 1868 on the location of the old Recollet Church, where Anglicans and Presbyterians first worshipped immediately after the Conquest in 1760. Demolished in 1866, the church was also used by this city’s Irish Roman Catholics before the opening of the magnificent St. Patrick’s Basilica in 1847.
In any event, the Montreal ‘Boutique écologique P’Lovers’ (its complete francised name) is the vision of resolute owner Lorraine Overall, 45, and talented store manager Arthur Laduke, 51. Overall, who had previously held various positions of responsibility in different industries, always dreamed of operating her own business in a field of her liking.
So it was that after the birth of her first child at the age of 24, the youthful mother found herself increasingly preoccupied with the kind of world her young child would inherit. The environment in general, and global warming in particular, along with the increasingly important issue with respect to the wholesomeness of the various foods we eat, all came forward to cause Overall to commit herself to leading a greener and healthier lifestyle.
It seemed only logical that her very own ecological shop would follow. A stroke of luck visit to one of the three existing stores convinced her that that was indeed what she wanted and, in that point, Overall’s husband fully supported her unwavering ambition.
Found on the ground floor of the old Recollet Building, P’Lovers’ Montreal branch shares with other businesses found in the historic edifice a particularly attractive atrium arranged in an inner courtyard at the back of the establishment in question. This tasteful quadrangle is worth a visit in itself.
As for the equally appealing green boutique, it is a discerning medley of diverse products, virtually every one of significant ecological repute.
By far and away, the most popular item sold in the Old Montreal concern is Overman Jewellery, which hails from Prince Edward Island. Often referred to as ‘Canadian Steampunk’, Overman jewellery is always hand made, and unique. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and body chains are painstakingly assembled from re-cycled watch and clock parts. Popular with all ages, P’Lovers grapples to keep up with ever-increasing demand.
There are many other well-liked items in the Notre Dame Street shop. Solmate Socks, for example, are bright, multi – coloured socks made from re-cycled cotton yarns. Promoted with the good-humoured claim that indeed “life is too short for matching socks”, the item is for many all the rage.
In a similar comic disposition, P’Lovers also carries colourful Artech beer glasses. Repurposed from actual ale bottles, these creatively – crafted tumblers hold a full bottle of the always-popular precious liquid. Both witty and useful, these made in Ontario glasses may incorporate clever epigrams such as “Reduce, Re-use, re-beer” or are otherwise decorated by their original labelling.
With Christmas just around the corner, both the shop and the store window reflect a refined, festive, and environmentally friendly spirit, all of which make P’lovers a must stop over the holiday period.
P’Lovers is located at 374 Notre Dame Street West.