Life, the city | Tony, tailor for six decades

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

There was a time when there were many tailors all around Little Italy and Plaza Saint-Hubert. Dressing clients since 1967, Cecchini Tailors has resisted trends, in the era of ephemeral fashion (fast fashion) and experienced the one where the Great Antonio stopped by for coffee. Its owner, who is also called Antonio, but whom everyone calls Tony, celebrated his 83rd birthday last week.e birthday.

Six days a week, Tony leaves his house in Laval and heads to 750 rue Bélanger to put his measuring tape around his neck and sit in front of his Singer sewing machine.

“I prefer being here with my clients to being alone at home,” he confides. But if I had a boss, I wouldn’t still be here. It’s me who decides. When I say it’s for tomorrow, it’s for tomorrow. »


Real tailor-made artisan work

Tony was born in the Abruzzo region of Italy. When he was young, he would have liked to work in construction, but it was sewing that he learned after school.

His father was the first in the family to cross the Atlantic in the hope of a better life in Montreal. He lived with his brother before his wife, daughter and sons came to join him in 1957 in a house in the Saint-Michel district. At the time, Rue Villeray was Rue Dickens beyond Boulevard Pie-IX. “I was 16. I remember crying when I wanted to return to Italy, because I was far from my friends and I only spoke a dialect. I didn’t know how the lights worked, because in my small village, we didn’t have electricity,” says Tony.

Upon his arrival in the metropolis, Tony worked in a pants factory right across the street from The Press, in Old Montreal. “Here, there were electric sewing machines while in Italy, I used pedal machines,” he recalls.


Tony always writes his clients’ names in their jackets.

His brother started working at the tailors Bob and Dino Cecchini, located at 750 rue Bélanger since the 1950s. One day, he told Tony that the store was for sale. The rest is history: the brothers took over and they also became owners of the building by remortgaging their father’s house.

Several articles have been published about Tony over time in different media, notably in Droit-inc., since he counts many lawyers and judges among his clients. Each time, it is written that his last name is Cecchini, when it is… Di Giulo! This demonstrates to what extent he has become inseparable from his workshop-boutique to the point of adopting its name, 57 years ago.


Everything is made in the back room.

More than clothes

During our interview with Tony, a loyal customer stopped by. “This is my grandfather’s coat that I was telling you about,” said Karl Bourassa, taking out a woolen overcoat from a cover that he wanted to have adjusted to his size.

When he was young, Karl Bourassa constantly passed by Tailors Cecchini, telling himself that one day he would have clothes designed expressly for him. “For at least 10 years, I have always had my clothes made here,” he says.

This time, however, it is emotional to have the coat adjusted for your grandfather who is no more. “My grandfather took great care of his clothes,” he emphasizes before Tony suggests he lengthen the sleeves a little.


Tony with his loyal client Karl Bourassa

Karl Bourassa works in finance, a field where suits are often required. He has done business with Holt Renfrew or Maxwell for a tailor-made service, but it is not the same artisan work. “At Tony’s, it’s truly tailor-made,” he argues.

A service from another era

While fewer and fewer people need to wear a suit to work, there will still be weddings and special occasions.

One thing is certain, it is difficult to have such personalized service as at Cecchini Tailors. Tony takes his clients’ measurements from head to toe. Please note that women are welcome and that you can expect to pay from $900 for a suit.

A big piece of advice that one of the Cecchini tailors who occupied 750 rue Bélanger before him already gave Tony? “When a customer walks through the door, 50% of the sale is made. »

For the rest, it’s the magic of customer service that works, and Tony’s magic fingers!


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