Tuesday, 26 August 2008

This Day In LWOT History

Aug. 26, 1987.

The last remaining LWOT Store® closes after more than 40 years of service to its Montreal clientele. At its peak, the official LWOT Store® took up space in a dozen strip malls and Main Street store fronts across the country. With a unique blend of literary greatness and affordable clothing the stores peddled everything LWOT.

After years of harassment from the Quebec language police, the magazine's editorial board decides to close the money losing store. Every other store closed years earlier when the rise of upstart Roots cornered the market on clothing with giant logos on the front. Longtime editor Gradey Alexander refused to close the Montreal store, despite rumoured yearly losses in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Although sales were brisk at the flagship store, repeated fines from the language police kept it in the red. The Crescent Street store boasted a bright red sign in English only, in defiance of provincial law.

The store soon became known more for its display of the fine notices plastered to the front window than it was for its middle-of-the-road fashion. Rene Levesque once visited the store and was heard to say "I will see Gradey Alexander dead or in prison before I let that sign stand."

Levesque lived to see the store close but the garish sign still clung to the old brick at the time of his death. Alexander was one of the many dignitaries to attend Levesque's funeral, dressed in LWOT clothing from head to toe. It's rumoured Alexander dropped an issue of the magazine with the words "I win" scribbled on the cover into the grave before the casket was buried.

Some of the items sold at the LWOT Store® included Lies With Occasional Tubesocks, L'Eyes With Occasional Truth sunglasses and Lies With Occasional Tooth soothers from the LWOT Kids® section.

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