La p’tite Brûlerie has always taken local social impact to heart. Since the beginning, it has aimed to offer a place of gathering and exchange for the Portneuf community. An inspiring and friendly venue was thus essential as a place of operation. First located on the chemin du Roy, La p’tite Brûlerie moved in June of 2017 to a heritage house built in 1840. This house has an exceptional history and seemed predestined to become a public space again, such as a coffee shop.
Traditionally referred to as the “salle des habitants”, it is located in Deschambault’s historical and institutional core, across from the church. It was built by the parishoners around 1840 and initially comprised 2 rooms: one for the women and children and one for the men. People would come here to rest after travelling by horse to go to mass. With the arrival of cars however, the building lost its use and was turned into an apartment for the sacristan, and then a conference room where the municipal council sat for over a century.
Around 1974, the house was threatened with demolition by the government of Canada who wanted to build a post office in its stead. The Société du Vieux Presbytère and local citizens were opposed and intervened to save this public space, of which there remain few rare examples in Québec, and won their battle. Since then, the house—called “salle des habitants”—has known several vocations: an artisan counter, the parish priest’s home and a bakery, after which it was sold to an individual who operated a bistro there from 1994 to 2000 (Le Clandestin). The house still holds architectural value for the village and was listed historic monument in 2008 by the municipal council.
The salle des habitants had been exclusively residential since 2000 and many villagers hoped to see it become a public place again. A hope which became reality, as La p’tite Brûlerie is now found there, with its quaint shop and terrace.