Binette & Filles: The Florist That Stands Out
Myriam Binette grew up at Jean-Talon Market where her parents sold their vegetables. The Binette family began as market gardeners but gradually converted to horticulture and floristry and saw their seasonal stand become a market staple. Decades later, Myriam upholds the family tradition with her cut flower stand, located in the heart of the market, and her brand-new houseplant shop overlooking the Place du Marché du Nord.Photo : Daphné Caron
“I spent my childhood in our greenhouses in Oka,” says the dynamic flower seller. “As soon as I could, I came to the market with my father. I used to spend my Christmas holidays helping him make the flower boxes to transport our plants in summertime.”
At the time, her family mainly grew annuals for flower beds. When cut flowers were added to the stand, Myriam, then a young adult, began to do things differently. She started, for example, to let her customers create their own bouquets.Photo : Dominique Viau
“I wanted them to have the option to pick and choose their own flowers! That’s what made my reputation, much to the dismay of my father who was old school and was afraid that customers would break the stems,” she says proudly. So, she started writing the name of the flower and the price per unit on the vases. The quality of her flowers and word-of-mouth did the rest.
Father and daughter worked together until 2005 when Myriam made a career move towards special education, another passion of hers. For 10 years, she worked with young people with behavioural problems. She then decided to return to her first love, the market. That’s how, after being closed for 10 years, the Binette et Filles flower stand was reopened in 2015. This time Myriam surrounded herself with a team of outstanding collaborators who keep an eye on the shop when she travels to the Magdalen Islands where she owns a house and spends more and more time.
A Natural Evolution
Even though Myriam kept the former yellow sign of the family stand, Binette et Filles’ offer has been adapted to the market’s new reality. Starting with a growing concern for the environment. “We still have some of our best-sellers such as carnations, daisies and chrysanthemums,” she says, “but we’re moving as much as possible towards fair trade farms that use fewer pesticides, whether in cut flowers or houseplants. My flowers from Ecuador, for example, come from an eco-friendly farm. I always know who packed the flowers because their photo is on the box!”Photo : Dominique Viau
In season, she favours Québec producers, many of whom are located only kilometres from Montréal. The shop also features local dried flower arrangements, as well as creations by Québec artisans, such as vases and planters, a great way to add local colour to your décor.Photo : Dominique Viau
She may be approaching her 60th birthday, Myriam Binette still has many projects. Right now, the author is putting the finishing touches on her third book … then, it will be spring!Photo : Dominique Viau
Can you describe the market in a few words?
I love market life. It’s like a small parcel of countryside in the middle of Montréal. I wouldn’t want to have a shop anywhere else but here!
A childhood memory of the market?
When I was 4 or 5, I loved going to pet the rabbits and goats – there were still animals at Jean-Talon Market at the end of the 1960s – but I always got lost. Fortunately, there were always customers who knew me to take me back to my father’s kiosk!
A must-have product from your shops?
Mimosa flowers! During the season, which runs from December to sometime in February, customers make a special trip here for a bouquet! My Prince Edward Island tulips, which I think are even more beautiful than those from Holland, are also very popular for Easter and Mother’s Day.
Text by Jessica Dostie, magazine Caribou
Photos by Dominique Viau, BODOÜM Photographie and Daphné Caron
Producers, merchants and artisans together make up the Montréal Public Markets’ extended family. For years, often for generations, they’ve been getting up early, experimenting, sometimes starting over, nurturing, harvesting and flourishing! Day after day, they stand proudly behind their stalls as if by their own dining-room table, inviting us to feast. They’re the heart and soul of the markets – their very essence – and the reason we keep coming back. The Family Portrait series aims to pay tribute to all the pillars of our public markets.
Ce projet a été financé par le ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation dans le cadre du Programme d’appui au développement de l’agriculture et de l’agroalimentaire en région.