Blast From The Past – Charon Dépanneur

Upon purchasing the Charon building, we asked the previous owners if they had any old photos of the dépanneur when it was open as a store.

Recently the son of the previous owner, Stéphane, came over to show us what he found.  A few photos of the “Dep” as a store in the 1970′s with a Cadillac parked in front.  And older black and white photos of it operating as an épicerie many years ago.  We will do some more research to find out more about these photos, but in the meantime, here a a few views of the past:

Dépanneur in the 1970's (approx)


Epicerie Charon. Bienvenue !

Sorry, No Wi-Fi Here.

Old-School Merchandising.

Charon Dep – Open Spaces – May12, 2011

Work on the structure of the Dep continues.  The new structure supporting the centre of the building is now complete – from the new cement footing in the basement all the way up to the roof.

Now new posts and beams are being installed on the back wall to open things up and get it ready to receive the new addition.

Open Floor Plan - Might Be Chilly Come Winter...

Next came the removal of the weathered chipboard from the front facade.  After 15 years of being closed up, the front of the Dépanneur came back to life.  Soon the framing will be in place to receive a new wall of glass – recreating the storefront look in an homage to the past.

Open For Now. Getting Ready For New Glass.

We don’t build ‘em like they used to.

We love old buildings.  We especially love to bring tired, old buildings back to life to become better-than-ever.

The architecture, materials and soul of an old building cannot be beat.  But other aspects leave a lot to be desired.  Windows that leak, walls with no insulation and floors that slope are not among the fine points of an older home.

The expression that “They don’t build ‘em like they used to” is very a propos.  We do not, and should not, build that way anymore.  The style of a building can be forever, but at one point the realities of today’s lifestyle dictate that an overhaul is needed.  And, we have to take better care of our planet as well, so heating the outdoors through porous windows and walls does not cut it anymore.

This week on Charon, the structure is being totally re-built.  Bigger, stronger and a whole lot straighter.

The slope on the floors was largely caused by the settling of the main beam in the basement.  The floors around the edges, supported by the foundation, were remarkably level.  But the original beam, an actual tree, was not well-supported in the centre, as a post was pushed into the ground by its weight.  So we start by pouring a new footing of cement to support a new post – a strong foundation makes for a strong structure.

Lots of Cement and Re-Bar Make for a Solid Base.

The new structure then takes shape.  The main beam for each floor is supported by posts on each end and in the middle.  Ready to support all the years that lay ahead.

New Posts and Beams.

The following picture shows a new beam in place, level with the highest points of the floor – on the right side, the floor joists have been jacked up to be level – the joists on the left side are still in their original position – and the level shows space for a 2×4 to make up most of the difference.  What a difference 4″ can make !

Original Floor Height on the Left, New Level on the Right.