Video tour of Maison Alphonse-Desjardins

Video tour of Maison Alphonse-Desjardins (4 min 59 s)

Added on September 4, 2014


Visit Maison Alphonse-Desjardins in Lévis, near Quebec City, where the founder of Desjardins Group created the first caisse populaire.

Video tour of Maison Alphonse-Desjardins (4 min 59 s)

Added on September 4, 2014 | Desjardins Group

Note: The text in square brackets describes audio and visual content in the video other than the dialogue or narration.

[Maison Alphonse-Desjardins, Lévis (Quebec), Canada]

[Shot of the Desjardins family dinner table. The camera then moves to the living room, then to the host, Zoé Couture, and the interpretive guide, Vanessa Laprise.]

[The host and her interviewee, Francine Chevrier, Educaton and Communications Advisor at Maison Alphonse-Desjardins, are in the exhibit room where the interview takes place. A large coloured map of Lévis, from the time of the Desjardins, sits in front of the window.]

Host: Ms. Chevrier, you're inviting us to live a cultural, historical experience in Old Lévis. On the map here we have a bird’s eye view of Lévis in 1881. Can you show me where Maison Alphonse-Desjardins is?

Francine Chevrier: [Close-up on the map] Maison Alphonse-Desjardins was not yet built in 1881. There’s an empty lot at the corner of Guenette and du Mont-Marie streets. This empty lot is where Maison Alphonse-Desjardins currently stands. So we’re located transversely to Notre-Dame church, close to Collège de Lévis and École Marcelle-Mallet. The house was built in 1883 by Alphonse Desjardins who wanted a home for him, his spouse Dorimène Desjardins and their growing family.

[Close-up on the sign outside Maison Alphonse-Desjardins, then on the front façade on the house]

But the house was also the birthplace of the first caisse populaire founded by Alphonse Desjardins, Caisse populaire de Lévis, which is the first savings and credit cooperative founded in North America.

[Back in the Alphonse Desjardins library, where the first Caisse populaire de Lévis activities took place, and close-up of the large book of accounts in which the first deposits were recorded]

So it’s the cradle of a large cooperative movement.

Host: So the first caisse was actually inside in the house?

Francine Chevrier: Exactly.

Host: Tell me, what can we see inside today?

[Exterior shot of Maison Alphonse-Desjardins and the neighbouring house, Maison Blanchet]

[Shot of the exhibit, then the host and the interpretive guide walking through various rooms in the house]

Francine Chevrier: When we visit Maison Alphonse-Desjardins, there are actually two houses to see. First we start with the neighbouring house, house Blanchet, where we can discover a beautiful permanent exhibit, a brand-new exhibit by Société historique Alphonse-Desjardins, entitled The Legacy of a Couple. Halfway through the tour, we enter the historical house, as it was in 1906 when it served as the head office of Caisse populaire de Lévis, at the time when the Desjardins family welcomed shareholders [members] who came to carry out their financial transactions in their residence. We then return to house Blanchet where we continue with the exhibit. This is where we finish the tour.

[Back to the host and Ms. Chevrier]

Host: Actually, I checked out the exhibit earlier and I noticed that there are values written a little all over the place, such as honesty, sharing, democracy. Why write these values, are they related to Desjardins Group?

[Close-up on each of the inscriptions: honesty – altruism – transparency – social responsibility – democracy – solidarity]

Francine Chevrier: Yes, they are, because behind the history of the caisses populaires there are some extremely important values that we wanted to expose, showcase, because they are key values for social developments.

Host: I imagine this is what has ensured the longevity of the company?

Francine Chevrier: Exactly. So we wanted to clearly showcase these values throughout the story of Mr. and Mrs. Desjardins. If you look closely here, we can see their 2 lifelines, showing the highlights of their lives: their wedding, the births of their children, the happy times, the sad times, just like any other life. But through all this we want to demonstrate the values that have led to the creation of the caisses populaires. It’s important to present them all in our exhibit.

Host: And we can feel a particular atmosphere. What message are we giving the visitors?

[Shots of the exhibit at various angles]

[Back to the host and Ms. Chevrier]

Francine Chevrier: We want to show just how much this couple was generous. Actually, we don’t even need to show it because we can see it through their story. We’re struck by their generosity. It touches us and that’s partially what we discover through their beautiful story.

Host: In closing, can you quickly tell us who this exhibit, and the house itself as it stands, is addressed to?

[Back to the host and interpretive guide walking through various rooms in the house]

Francine Chevrier: The house welcomes everyone. It’s open to the public all year round, 7 days a week and we even have a youth tour for the children who visit the house. For the school groups, we have an educational program. So everyone is welcome and there’s a website for those who want to find out more. There’s more detailed information on the history of the house and how we can visit it.

Host: Thank you very much, Ms. Chevrier. This really makes us want to visit the house, be it on our own or with the entire family.

Francine Chevrier: Thank you, Ms. Couture.

[Host: Zoé Couture]

[Education and Communications Advisor: Francine Chevrier]

[Interpretive Guide at Maison Alphonse-Desjardins: Vanessa Laprise]

[Montage Assistant: Ghislain DesRosiers]

[A special thanks to the Télémag Québec team]


[Société historique Alphonse-Desjardins 2014]