This is a rare photo sent from Greg Long that has puzzled us for some time. Greg thought it was of a Citroën showroom in Montréal and asked us to verify it. The photo did not look familiar to a few Citroën Autoclub Canada members such as Steve Loria, George Dyke that grew up in the Montreal area.
Steve recalled Comet Auto on Rosemount Blvd. where he bought his DS, and Biarritz Auto in Ville St. Michel – a very small operation with a one car show room. Both Steve and George remember the one on St. Catherine’s street near the Forum that was only interested in selling SMs and the odd D Pallas in between their Lamborghini and Fiat sales; and one other one in St.Hubert on the south shore which had a few cars. But none of them had a showroom like the photo which appears to be in a modern office building.
We circulated the picture to some other members Quebec. Lo and behold, Jean-Jacques Sanfaçon was able to confirm that the picture is of Citroên’s Montréal Showroom on Ste Catherine Street, facing the old Forum. He says it was very nice, but the service access was from a dirty alley and looking more like an old jail.
(Click on image to enlarge)
[Ed Note from Gorge Dyke: I lived in Montréal at the time but was only about 10 years of age when that picture was taken. I don’t remember the showroom, and probably went by it many times as my grandparents lived in Westmount near Ste. Catherine and Atwater Ave. I remember there was a Citroën dealer in the early 1970’s just east of the old Forum near the the Seville theatre but I can’t believe I don’t recall that showroom. Maybe I filed it away subconsciously and that’s why I’m so involved in Citroens today!]
UPDATE #1: From Jean-Jacques Sanfaçon who writes:
At the time, Citroën Canada did open the garages [showrooms] in Quebec City and Montreal before establishing dealerships. They were run at high cost by people who Citroën sent from Europe.
UPDATE #2: From Gérard Larochelle who writes:
Yes, indeed that was the Citroën Canada Limited showroom on Sainte-Catherine Street in Montréal near the old Forum. It was beautiful, even luxurious in this showroom. But it was all smoke and mirrors. After the customer bought his beautiful DS, and had to go for service, it was quite another decor. Access was down a dreadful alley where you had to drive the car into a disgusting service elevator to meet the Service Manager who was as welcoming as a prison door. Imagine when the DS wasn’t running (ie in the lowest position) and you had to drive into this elevator and what’s more you had to drive it in on an angle because the area of the platform because it was too small to park it at one go. I saw this horror show and heard the cursing of the century. But the showroom was beautiful, the most beautiful one in Montréal at the time.
UPDATE #3: December 13, 2014:
By means of an additional photo provided by Citroënvie member Michael Gillespie and some photo mapping by George Dyke, the address of the showroom has been determined. It was 4006 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Westmount, QC H3Z 1P2. Read how here on our blog post.
This was true in New York as well where Citroen Cars Corporation had a beautiful showroom but the service department was a completely different story!