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Lots of love going out for Louise Lemieux


Mid-March looked to be just another quiet month for Louise Lemieux as she tended to her little corner grocery store on Laurier Street in Rockland. Little did she suspect that one of her former customers was doing his best to get her face and name known far and wide all across Canada. “Somebody toldme,” Lemieux said, lau- ghing. “I don’t have a computer. I’m old- fashioned that way.” What has taken the 68-year-old shopkee- per by surprise is an online petition launched on asking for support to have Lemieux put on the list of potential nomi- nees for the Bank of Canada’s proposed new $50 bill due out in 2018. OnMarch 8 this year, as part of International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to issue a new $50 bill in 2018 which would feature the image of “the iconic Canadian woman”. The Bank of Canada is accepting nominations now at www.bankofcanada. ca/banknoteable for possible candidates. Meanwhile Stephan Pigeon feels that the woman who made a big impression on him and many others during his child- hood with her kindness and her caring is as good a potential candidate as anyone else to become known as The Iconic Cana- dian Woman. And there seem to be a lot of agreement on that score because so far his online petition as gained closed to 250 signatures at pigeon-louise-lemieux-from-rockland-on- tario-on-the-50-dollar-bill. “She helped so many people in her life,” Pigeon stated on his petition site. “Lent money. Gave groceries. She deserves a nomination.” “Great woman,” stated Chris Ville of Cla- rence-Rockland, a petition signee. “I remem- ber when I was younger going to her store for penny candies and gag toys. She was always there to help and provide an ear to talk to. Mine and many others’ childhoods wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for her.” “Cette femme fait parti de notre jeunesse et, oui, elle a aidé beaucoup de personnes dans sa vie et le fait encore aide,” stated Serge Desormeaux, now living in Chénéville, QC. “Great lady, always willing to help others when they’re in need,” stated Chantal Bélan- ger, now in Alfred. Lemieux remembers Pigeon, just as she remembers many of the children-now-grow- nup who used to frequent her little corner store. What surprised her was that so many think she should be on the Bank of Canada’s list and that there is a petition in place to get her name there. “I found it funny,” she said, smiling. “I had

Louise Lemieux, with her two faithful friends, Spike and Lady, lives a quiet life at the Dépanneur Lemieux. Nothing surprised her more than finding out one of her past customers is trying to get her on the list of nominees as the iconic representative of Canadian women for the new $50 bill coming out in 2018. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

a call fromKitchener. ‘Did you know you’re on a petition?’ I said, ‘What is it, April Fool?’” Lemieux moved to Rockland from Em- brun with her familymore than six decades ago. Her mother, Yvette Plante, ran le petit dépanneur then at a time when the Town of Rockland’s main grocery store was an IGA outlet. Comfortable chatting with drop-in cus- tomers in either French or English, Lemieux reminisces about her childhoold. Her mo-

ther raised her children while still putting in long hours managing her little store seven days a week. Lemieux recalls getting up at six in themorning to help prepare the home- made ice cream. Even now, with big franchise stores like the Giant Tiger, Food Basic, Grenon Your Independent Grocer, and the WalMart in operation, Lemieux still has her own regular trade of customers and makes enough to satisfy her simple needs. And she still allows

a bit of credit for those in need. “My mother used to do it,” she said, shrugging. “It’s hard these days for some people. Some pay me back.” She shrugs. “Some don’t.” Every morning before opening up at 11 a.m., Lemieux takes her two canine compa- nions, Spike and Lady, for their walk. When she has amoment, she likes to go visit up at the public library. “I like books,” she said, smiling.

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