Through its 60-year history, La Cordée has helped shape the outdoor adventure landscape in Quebec. What started as a small shop in 1953, has become a leading resource for outdoor enthusiasts in North America.
1953 - First and foremost, an outfitter for scouts
La Cordée opened in 1953 as a cooperative selling Scouting uniforms and reasonably-priced light camping gear. The first ten years of its existence are spent serving the needs of this clientele.
Over time, a growing number of customers begin to shop at the store, drawn to its expanding selection of specialized products. Soon, La Cordée becomes the undisputed leader of outdoor sporting goods in Quebec.
During this time, as climbing gains a foothold in the province, the store begins importing ropes, helmets, pitons, ice axes and carabiners from Europe, becoming the first store in Quebec to offer climbing gear.
In the early ‘70s, La Cordée plays an active role in the expansion of cross-country skiing’s considerable popularity at a time when millions of Quebecers are discovering the sport. Many enthusiasts opt for skis made by the Norwegian company Norge, imported exlusively by La Cordée and long considered the best on the market.The store becomes the most important cross-country retailer in the province.
In May 1974, La Cordée moves to its current address, on Saint Catherine street, in Montreal.
During the ‘80s, long one of the rare bicycle touring specialists, La Cordée also becomes a pioneer of mountain biking when it stocks its first such two-wheeler in 1984.
In the winter of that same year, La Cordée is the first to introduces a binding specifically designed for backcountry skiing, the Petzl Skalp 8007. A bold move, made 20 years before the sport became popular in Quebec!
At the same time, following a change in the laws governing cooperatives, the status of the organization is modified, allowing it to become a duly formed enterprise. In 1982, La Cordée creates the Scout Foundation to administer the store’s profits.
In the mid-‘90s, LaCordée launches Back to the Roots, a program that suports the development and the preservation of Quebec’s outdoor infrastructures. Starting in 1997, 1% of sales of LaCordée-branded products are dedicated to the program.
Following a major expansion and renovation, the Saint Catherine street store reopens in the spring of 1997.
In 1998, La Cordée launches the Gear Swap Event and a tradition is born. Ever since, twice a year, outdoor enthusiasts line up for the chance to sell or buy used outdoor gear.
In September 2001, in order to meet the demands of a growing clientele, La Cordée opens a second store at 2777 Boulevard Saint-Martin in Laval, west of autoroute 15.
Then, in October 2005, to better serve its customers from the Monteregie, La Cordée expands to the south by opening a third store, this time in Saint Hubert at 1595, Boulevard des Promenades, just south of the Promenades Saint-Bruno mall, close to autoroutes 116 and 30.
At the turn of the decade, La Cordée award-winning www.lacordee.com website becomes transactional. This new address quickly enables customers who are in a hurry or who live further away from current stores to shop from the location of their choice, at a time that suits them.
In the fall of 2015, La Cordée, acquires Montreal’s Le Yéti – well-known for backcountry skiing and adventure biking – in a bet to focus on these flagship disciplines. Renamed La Cordée Boutique, this Saint-Laurent Street business continues to offer the same specialized products to outdoor enthusiasts as before.
In April 2018, in a first-time expansion outside the greater Montreal area, La Cordée acquires La Vie Sportive sports store on Bouvier Street in Quebec City. Renamed La Vie Sportive – La Cordée, this store continues to specialize in alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and cycling while offering more outdoor gear than ever.
From a small shop founded in 1953, La Cordée has become one of the largest store dedicated entirely to outdoor sports enthusiasts in America. The 125,000 square feet of store floor between its stores allow the most demanding of outdoor enthusiasts to find everything they are looking for. More than 400 outdoor enthusiasts willing to share their passion guide customers in their purchases and advise them on where to practise their favourite activities. Online and in-store, the most significant brands come together to constitute the best choice of specialized products that one can wish for.