Our History

This is Doris

HP_dorisThe inspiration for opening the day shelter came from a few honest words of a young woman trying to survive life on the streets of Montreal.  Her name was Doris.

Little is known about Doris’ life before coming to Montreal from Halifax except that Doris was a sister, a friend and a mother to four small children.  She was often described as a beautiful woman inside and out, who was lively and generous.

Alone, impoverished, and battling alcoholism, Doris soon became one of a growing number of destitute women trying to survive life on the streets.  A community worker began interviewing women living on the streets of Montreal to determine their primary needs.  When Doris was asked what help she felt would most benefit women living in her situation she replied, “A place to go without prying eyes and too many questions.”

Shortly after the interview, on November 3, 1974, Doris’ body was discovered.  She was found in a shed near de la Gauchetière and St-Urbain streets.  She had been raped, tortured, beaten and left to die.  Four decades later, her murder still remains unsolved.

Doris never had the chance to find her sanctuary but her words have helped our day shelter provide refuge to women for close to 40 years.  In honouring her memory, Chez Doris continues to offer a safe haven for women – no questions asked.  Our doors are open to all women in need; inclusion is our motto.

Thanks to the many generous partners in the community, the extraordinary volunteers and the staff, Chez Doris has grown over the years.  We have developed and continue to pioneer programs and services in the hope of providing women with all the help and support they need.