Life, the city | Le Petit Laurel loses David Rogers

Our journalist travels around Greater Montreal to talk about people, events or places that make the heart of their neighborhood beat.




David Rogers has long brought joy to the Petit Laurier neighborhood by organizing an Easter egg decorating competition. But this year, there will be no Cococoncours. Rather an exhibition of all the Easter works that the artisan has accumulated over time.

His wife sold the building on Laurier Avenue East where he had his leather workshop-boutique – at the corner of Garnier Street – and it was time for him to move on. “I’m 80 years old and I need to make a transition while I still have health and energy. »

He has until June to vacate the premises. “It’s the end,” he said. I’m going to miss being a trader. I love all the people I meet. Every day I don’t know who’s going to walk through the door. »

That’s when the doorbell rings and a young woman comes in, apologizing for interrupting us. “David, I wanted to say goodbye, because I’m leaving Montreal this evening,” she said to him before giving him a hug.

Professor at UQAM, Blandine Émilien was given a mandate in England. “David, for me, is the heritage of the neighborhood. I’m flying out tonight and I couldn’t not stop to see it. I have tears in my eyes,” she explains to us.

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

Blandine Émilien says goodbye to David Rogers.

David Rogers isn’t just known for his Easter eggs in Little Laurel. Before Christmas, he used to make a collective tree that everyone could decorate as they wished. He has also already maintained a small community herb garden on rue Garnier. “In return, I could happily watch people enjoy it through the window. »

His most moment glamour ? In 2011, when actress Julia Roberts bought him a bag while she was filming the film in Montreal Mirror Mirror.

  • People marvel at the window all day long.

    PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

    People marvel at the window all day long.

  • The competition was for both children and adults.

    PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

    The competition was for both children and adults.

  • The oldest decorated egg in the collection, the one that David Rogers entered into a competition he entered in San Francisco almost 40 years ago.

    PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

    The oldest decorated egg in the collection, the one that David Rogers entered into a competition he entered in San Francisco almost 40 years ago.

  • The Winnip'Eggs, work of Roxanne Bélanger

    PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

    The Winnip’Eggs, work of Roxanne Bélanger

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A free spirit

David Rogers started working with leather quite by chance in Denver when a man asked him to make sandals. This artisan profession went well with his free spirit which took him on seven occasions to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

“I’ve lived everywhere,” says David Rogers, citing San Francisco, Seattle, Key West, Cape Cod and Spain among the places he’s lived.

Montreal was the city where David Rogers lived the longest, almost 25 years… because of a love that took several detours!

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

The notebook where David Rogers listed all the places where he lived over the years.

David Rogers met his future Quebec wife while driving in San Francisco in the early 1970s. “She was thumbing near the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge,” he says. It was dangerous for her to be there and I put her in my truck. »

For three years, David and his Quebec sweetheart maintained a long-distance relationship. In 1976, he moved to Montreal, but after four years, she, a medical student, preferred to separate. “I was heartbroken,” says David Rogers, who had returned to live in the United States.

Twenty years later, the American, then in his late fifties, was to attend a wedding in New York State. “I remember putting a lot of money into a phone booth to find a woman named Diane Milot in Laval. »

This time was good. Well almost… It took a year before the couple decided on which side of the Canadian-American border to settle. Diane Milot finally decided to buy the building located at 1397 Laurier Avenue East so that her husband could run a store there.

“We are still married,” emphasizes the latter.

David Rogers shared the ground floor for a long time with jeweler Marianne Séguin (with whom he organized the Cococoncours), now in Trois-Pistoles. His wife, with whom he lives in Laval, decided to sell because she no longer wanted the responsibilities of being an owner.

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

David Rogers will miss his window facing the street.

A fragile commercial life

The rent for 1397 Laurier Avenue East will be six times higher than the monthly income of David Rogers, who is worried about the future of the small neighborhood businesses in Petit Laurier. “A lot of things have changed in the last two years,” he notes, citing the closure of the Le Fromentier bakery and Gaïa Céramique after more than 25 years of service.

According to the leatherworker, this is the best place in the city. “ It’s a lovely lovely neighborhood”he repeats in English.

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

David Rogers organized the Cococontest with jeweler Marianne Séguin.

The octogenarian, who lost his five brothers and sisters younger than him, considers that Montreal is “a sister city” of San Francisco with a big bonus: “health insurance”.

The following

Calling all: David Rogers would like to donate his collection of 150 Easter eggs (on display until April 8 in his window, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), whether to a museum or a library. He also announces the holding of a workshop sale and a garage sale. “I have to get rid of a lot of things, but I’m going to keep my sewing machine. »

He intends to continue working with leather, but it remains to be seen how he will sell his creations.

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

David Rogers is 80 years old.

If he has to mourn the loss of no longer having a storefront with his own “ shop », he considers himself lucky to have been able to lead an independent life as an artisan. ” I always was self-employed and I was always able to do what I wanted. I am grateful for that. »


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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