Motel 55: Gone but not forgotten

© 2004 David Lepitre

Posted 07.21.04

STANSTEAD, QC | Future generations will not experience Stanstead's Motel 55. The wreckers were there last week and it was down before noon.

A family business for most of the last fifty years, Deguire's or Motel 55's beginnings were quite humble.

It began life as the Wonder Dairy Bar built by Art McHarg. Mme. Olivine (Surprenant) Deguire purchased the business from McHarg in the late '50s or early '60s and expanded the little stand into a nice family-style restaurant.

Thirty-two years ago Mrs. Deguire son Fernand started working for the family firm. During his time the business again enlarged to include banquet rooms, a bar. and the motel. Mr. Deguire's children, a third generation of the family, worked with him for a time.

The business went out of the family for a very short spell but was soon back under their management. In later years it was not the family restaurant it once was but catered more to the professional driver and the working man. And whether you liked the place or not it will be missed.

There are many memories of the events that took place under its roof. Along with the wedding receptions, banquets and such, the Rotary club met there for years.

Among the onlookers as the old 55 breathed it last was J.P. Fournier, the first bartender in the new bar back in 1975. Maria Demers one of its last employees was there to see it go.

And one or two of the assembled folks confessed that they learned to party in the place many years ago. No matter what the reason there were a few misty eyes as the shovels did their work.

Copyright © 2004 David Lepitre/Log Cabin Chronicles/07.04