Ethnic Depanneurs


Although most depanneurs are owned by immigrants or people from what Quebec politicians like to call “cultural communities,” they typically bear few traces of their proprietor’s ethnic origin. Sometimes there might be a heater on the counter containing churros or samosas but, for the most part, deps focus on the holy trinity of beer, tobacco and lottery tickets.

In some neighbourhoods, though, depanneurs are transformed into hybrid businesses that are half ethnic grocery, half ordinary dep. Marché Chanab, at the corner of St. Roch and Querbes in Park Extension, is one example, selling a variety of imported products along with the traditional depanneur staples. Like any dep, it draws a wide cross-section of neighbourhood residents, but the Punjabi scripts on its sign let potential South Asian customers know that it offers something extra.

Similar are the many Chinese depanneurs that have emerged in Verdun over the past several years, which sell Chinese veggies and packaged food alongside the usual soft drinks and potato chips. It’s a good business strategy: cater to the borough’s growing Chinese population while still serving as the corner dep on which nearby residents rely.


This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Sunday November 04 2007at 11:11 pm , filed under Canada, Society and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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