Dep? Make that dépanneur. One of the great elements of eastern Canadian beerness is the Quebec dépanneur, the corner store that sells beer like the ever excellent Marche Jovi in Gatineau. To someone in many of the United States this may seem like nothing much but to an eastern Ontarian or Maritime Canadian nearby or passing through, the dep is a marvel to behold, the often cramped and somewhat cluttered beacon of freedom to those subject to the monopoly of the government store. The Montreal Gazzette's Josh Freed describes his favorite old time dep in today's paper:
When you step into Ventura's dépanneur, at the corner of Duluth Ave. and Clarke St., you enter another world, an old-time corner store offering beer, chips and chit-chat to my entire neighbourhood. People are always yakking by the cash, or leaning on the counter watching TV. Some days six or seven people are sitting around in chairs, or perched on beer boxes, yakking like in a social club. During Habs playoffs, the place is filled with locals celebrating each goal with ginger ale.
My favorite dep was the one across the bridge from Pembroke Ontario in the 1990s, a corner store without a town let alone a corner. It's likely still there. It mainly serviced the Ontario market, especially on Sudays before the laws allowed sales on this side of the river. It was called "De Beaus" but, strangely, there was no Dutch family by that name running it. Everyone just called it "De Beaus shop" because it was.