Montreal record stores need our support this holiday season.

From the charm of their facades to the depths of their treasures, they are essential organs of our local culture. In the past weeks, they have faced unhealthy scrutiny and fines from the Ministère, who activated by-laws dating back to 1970, charging La Rama, Death of Vinyl, Phonopolis and Sonorama with up to $2,900 for store hours going past 5pm on weekends. The hours were extended for ‘Record Store Day’ 2019.

Montreal record stores
Sonorama – © MAXWELL SCHIANO – @newyorkcityvibe


Although the rules have been set since 1970, they have never been enforced to this day, and were set up in a time where record stores played a different role in the cultural and economic ecosystem. The enforcement of these rules threaten the livelihood of vital and soulful small businesses operating in an increasingly gentrified area. The full statement of how and when the fines were enforced can be consulted here; but read on to see how you can help.

As a community of music lovers and consumers, we must be active in advocating for the spaces that promote, encapsulate and preserve music – because who else will if we don’t?


montreal record stores


We encourage you to take the following actions:

  1. Help share and publicize the statement published by 14 local record stores in Journal Metro, available in French and English
  2. Write to Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation, with the below statement of support – or preferably your own adapted version:
  3. Call the office of Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon to vocalize your support – 418-691-5650 or 514-499-2552
  4. Go record shopping!

Statement of support:



English version

Subject: Support for Formal Demand to Add Record Stores to the Current List of Exemptions

Mr. Minister,

I am a Montreal citizen writing to voice my support of our city’s record stores, calling for their case to be handled in good faith, and for their contribution to local cultural and economic wellbeing to be recognized and protected. I stand by and second all the points and requests made by 14 of our city’s record stores in their letter of December 16th, “Formal Demand to Add Record Stores to the Current List of Exemptions”.

It is essential for the livelihood of these spaces that they be legally protected under the same framework as small local businesses. While we understand the context of the original 1970s by-laws, denying their revision would be short sighted and out of touch with the current situation. Record stores should be considered as independent distributors of cultural goods on the same level as book stores, art galleries, antique stores, craft shops and newsstands.

The extended hours and activities marketed by these stores for ‘Record Store Day’ is an example of healthy commercial decisions, increased accessibility to the public and promotion of local and international musical culture, in spaces which favor interaction, connection and exchange. Their entrepreneurial efforts, which positively affects the economy, tourism and vibrancy of the Mile-End should not be penalized by outdated rules. Moreover, record stores are vital arenas for the distribution and sales of local music, which advances financial stability and visibility of our province’s artists, an important phase in the diffusion of Québec’s music.

We ask for the list of exemptions to the bylaw to expand and include record stores. We ask for the dissolving of their fines, that would knowingly pressure their operational capacity . We ask for your understanding of small businesses as essential to the draw of tourism that enables a healthy flux in the Mile-End and other Montreal districts. We ask for all ceasing of legal action against the stores, and the cancelling of sanctions.



Version Française


Monsieur le Ministre,

Je suis un citoyen(ne) montréalais(e) vous écrivant pour exprimer mon soutien aux magasins de disques de notre ville, demandant que leur dossier soit traité en bonne foi et que leur contribution au bien-être culturel et économique local soit reconnue et protégée. Je maintiens et j’appuie chaque demande formulée par 14 des magasins de disques Montréalais dans leur lettre du 16 décembre, “Demande officielle d’ajouter les magasins de disques à la liste actuelle d’exemptions”.

Il est essentiel que ces espaces soient légalement protégés dans le même cadre que les petites entreprises locales, afin d’assurer leur survie. Bien que nous comprenions le contexte des règlements administratifs originaux des années 1970, nier leur révision serait réducteur et déconnecté de la réalité. Les magasins de disques devraient être considérés comme des distributeurs indépendants de biens culturels, au même niveau que les librairies, les galeries d’art, les antiquaires, les boutiques d’artisanat et les kiosques à journaux.

Les horaires d’activité prolongés communiquées par ces magasins pour «Record Store Day» sont un exemple de décisions commerciales saines, augmentant l’accessibilité au public et promouvant la culture musicale locale et internationale, au sein d’espaces favorisant l’interaction, la connexion et l’échange. Leurs efforts entrepreneuriaux, qui affectent positivement l’économie, le tourisme et le dynamisme du Mile-End, ne devraient pas être pénalisés par des règles obsolètes. De plus, les magasins de disques sont des zones vitales pour la distribution et la vente de musique locale, améliorant la stabilité financière et la visibilité des artistes de notre province, une étape importante dans la diffusion de la musique québécoise.

Nous demandons que la liste des exemptions au règlement inclue les magasins de disques. Nous demandons la dissolution de leurs amendes, source de pression sur leur capacité opérationnelle. Nous demandons votre compréhension des petites entreprises comme étant essentielles à l’attraction touristique du Mile-End et les autres quartiers de Montréal. Nous demandons l’arrêt de toute action en justice contre les magasins et l’annulation des sanctions.





montreal record stores
Death of Vinyl – © MAXWELL SCHIANO – @newyorkcityvibe


Montreal is a city with soul, artistic effusion and an incredible relevance of culture. Together, we may preserve these values and spaces that contribute to everyone’s wellbeing. Happy music-filled holidays!

Cover Photo: The Vinyl Factory