Desjardins Fourrures is founded in 1877 by Charles Desjardins who, after maintaining a small shop for hats and fur accessories, goes on to open a larger establishment on Sainte-Catherine Street, at the corner of Saint-Timothée Street. The business then grows rapidly, offering, in addition to hats, a full range of fur coats.
Desjardins’ notoriety begins to expand across Canada and its borders.
For over three decades Charles Desjardins himself purchases pelts, felts and silks and travels to Europe every year to buy exotic furs of all kinds, in addition to those acquired in Canada and in the USA.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the steady increase of the business leads to the construction of a large store on Saint-Denis Street, near Dorchester Street, now known as the René-Lévesque Boulevard. The store’s displays are luxurious and their staging, remarkable. The interior is vast, with its central aisle and its two rows of superimposed galleries. A ceiling with glass skylights and heavy carpets complete the decor.
An impressive variety of hats is displayed on the ground floor of the store. A central staircase leads to the second floor where furs of all kinds and from various countries are displayed: coats, collars, stoles and other fineries, etc.
In the workshop, which occupies the entire third floor, expert cutters and skilled seamstresses cut and assemble the skins, soften them and brush them.
Part of the workshop is reserved for hat making.
In the late 20th century, the company carries on its business with increasing difficulties. It is shut down in early 2017, 140 years after its foundation.