The Montreal Fur Industry, Part Of Our History

The Montreal Fur industry was featured in the Montreal Gazette on Saturday April 16, 2005. This used to be one of the most well known industries in Montreal. However today it wasn’t featured in the Business section.

In the Business section, you found headlines on some of the strengths of the Montreal industrial scene. Here are a few:

Been there, done that
– Eric McConachie an aerospace pioneer who pushed Bombardier into RJ’s
Tiny Montreal firm targets Microsoft
– EasyOffice is the third most popular software on
Copernic pulls out of Mamma takeover
– Copernic is the Montreal company with the best Desktop Search software bar none
Forestry industry needs high-tech workers
– Jobs involve science, technology, computers
Prescription for success: big partners
– Quebec’s 160 firms in pharmaceuticals sector see opportunity in major drugmakers’ cost cutting
Timing is of the essence
– Labopharm is applying controlled-release patented technology for medications that was developed at UQAM and the Universit? of Montreal

Those are the industries for the future.

It was not at all ironic that the Montreal fur industry appeared on the front page of the paper. The industry has quite a past. The fur trader James McGill founded McGill University. The trade is still signalled in the down-town street name, Beaver Hall Hill, and the main restaurant in one of the top hotels is called the Beaver Club.

It started in the 16th century, when European fishermen traded with the local Indians for beaver pelts. These were used to make broad-brimmed felt hats, which were very fashionable in all the European capitals. Towards the end of the 19th century, immigrants from eastern Europe arrived, many of whom were skilled in needle trade. In particular, this included many Greeks from Kastoria in northern Greece, a place famous for its fur industry.

Now there are about 100 companies in this industry in Montreal, most employing less than a dozen people. Many such companies are to be found in the Gordon Brown Building on de Maisonneuve Blvd. Some have been there for over 50 years. With the building boom in Montreal, this building is now to be completely converted at a cost of $15 million into gleaming new office space. This presents a major decision for these companies. Some may be unable to make the transition.

Montreal is a world-renowned fashion centre. Whatever the difficulties the industry may be facing, undoubtedly the best of the fur industry will continue to flourish here in Montreal and from time to time will assuredly make the headlines in the Business section.

Related Books:
For information on interesting Montreal places to visit, see
Frommer’s Montreal & Quebec City 2009 Guide (Frommer’s Complete)
Montreal & Quebec City For Dummies (Dummies Travel)

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