A long sailing trip


It has been quite a while since a European cargo ship arrived on Quebec’s shores without having first having crossed the ocean on a huge container ship, the same ships that produce annually as much Greenhouse Gas emissions as all of Canada.

To highlight the first arrival in the 21st century of cargo from France by sail boat, Maison Simons and Port Franc decided to commemorate this unique adventure with a specially commissioned film shot by Martin Pariseau and the talented team at Gorditos, in Montreal.

The film follows the journey of the goods imported by Port Franc (Portfranc.co). It starts in the traditional French workshops where they are produced by hand, then heads to Rochelle, their departure point. From there, they sail on the Picton Castle, a 179-foot sail boat built in 1928 with 12,500 square feet of sails. The film ends with the boat’s arrival at the Port of Quebec.

These products, like the wool Mariners by Fileuse d’arvor (1927), the Charentaise slippers from Rondinaud (1907) and Guy Cotten raincoats and bags (1964), are all exclusive brands in Canada. The film focuses on both the traditional manufacturing techniques used and the pride shared by the artisans making them.

The project also looks directly at Simons’ history. How at the start of the 19th century, John Simons made 18 trips across the Atlantic to import products and build from the ground up the institution that bears his name. Peter Simons, the current owner, is also well known for his commitment to environmental issues and the wider society.

For Port Franc, this video shines a light on the principles and values, which have guided our work from the very beginning. We believe in a return to “slow trade,” connecting artisans with demanding yet discerning consumers. We are committed to developing the greenest supply chain possible able to face up to the environmental challenges of our time. 


Clément Sabourin