Laurel General store

One of the few businesses within a few miles

The Paradis General Store, circa 1940, 
3455, route Principale
Source: TCAC WN

At the end of the 1930s, Louis-Évariste Paradis (1909-1961), opened a general store at this location. It was one of the few  businesses within a few miles. People came there by cart or sleigh to buy food products or hardware items. In 1938, Louis-Évariste integrated the postal office to his business, thus taking over from the McCluskey family. This family of Irish pioneers would be the first to settle in Laurel around 1860; the name McCluskey was associated with the town for some time. Matthew McCluskey was Laurel's first postmaster and served in that capacity for nearly forty years between 1885 and 1938.

Paradis General store

Yolande daughter of Louis-E. Paradis 
in front of the store, around 1955.
Source: TCAC WN

In the mid-20 th century, roads were still made of dirt, electricity arrived around 1957, and few homes had telephone service. As such, the general store was a de facto emergency center and message office. On Sundays after mass, parishioners took advantage of the proximity of the Paradis General Store to stop by, chat and pick up their mail. When the municipality of Wentworth-North was created in 1958, the first meetings of the new council were held in the market’s back room while awaiting the construction of municipal offices.

The solidarity cooperative

In the heart of Laurel for over seventy years, the Paradis General Store has been part of the daily life of more than a generation. When the news of its imminent closure was announced in 2011, citizens banded together to acquire and transform it into a solidarity cooperative.

The cooperative is related to the non-profit organization 'Ressources communautaires Sophie' which is domiciled in the old house of the Paradis, in front of the co-op. This organization, created more than fifteen years ago, has brought together the community's strengths to support children in their schooling. . Just like the pioneers of the past, residents of Wentworth-North face the challenges of the vastness of the territory on a daily basis and their commitment is crucial to the well-being of the community members.


Sources: Interview with Sophie Larose, founder of Ressources communautaires Sophie Source: Excerpt from the program "L'heure consacrée" of November 6, 2017, TVCL (Télécommunautaire Laurentides / Lanaudière)

Extract of
Historical Tour of Wentworth North

Historical Tour of Wentworth North image circuit

Presented by : Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord

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