Can There Be Only One?

Universal Appliances, 409 Rideau Street. January 24, 1954. Image: City of Ottawa Archives CA042915.
Universal Appliances, 409 Rideau Street. January 24, 1954. Image: City of Ottawa Archives CA042915.

Universal Appliances, 409 Rideau, and a car painted in a tartan pattern to promote Maytag’s Highlander automatic washer. Unlike the case in a certain movie, it was a popular line and far more than one was produced. Interestingly, the well-known appliance brand does not seem to have been entirely common in Ottawa: it was rarely advertised in either of the local papers when the photograph was taken. Instead, Ottawa was a Connor town, with Inglis, GE, Westinghouse, Easy, Viking, Beatty, and a few others being a common sight in the city’s laundry rooms.

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Parkdale’s Kinghurst Plaza (1961)

Kinghurst Plaza, May 2016. Image: Google Maps.
Harry's. Image: omgrealestate.ca.
Harry’s. Image: omgrealestate.ca.

Admittedly, I’ve never been to Harry’s. I’m absolutely certain that the love it earned in Parkdale over its 48 years was absolutely earned and well-deserved. Though I’m not familiar with Harry’s itself, the story is one I believe we’re all familiar with. The family-owned establishment becomes a neighbourhood staple, the owners retire, and a new one comes in with promises not to radically alter what has been established. The promises are often broken as the new owners soon discover that the business fundamentals weren’t as healthy as the community love or that an entrepreneur close to retirement is rarely motivated by future growth. Sometimes, as is the case with Boushey’s on Elgin street here in Ottawa, the retirement means the end of business entirely. For the purposes of this story, however, it is not actually Harry’s that has captured my imagination as such,1Though I do now regret not stopping in at least once on my walks in the area. but rather it is the smart midcentury retail plaza on King West between Jameson and Springhurst that has served as its home that has.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. Though I do now regret not stopping in at least once on my walks in the area.

Demolished Ottawa: Wrens Fly Away With St. Michael

Beechwood House or St. Michael's Nursing Home, 37 Beechwood, in 1991. Image: City of Ottawa Archives CA024423.
Beechwood House, Cosby House, the Wren’s Nest, St. Michael’s Nursing Home or St. Michael’s Residence. Whatever it was knowns as, here is 37 Beechwood as it appeared in 1991, not long before it was due for demolition. Image: City of Ottawa Archives CA024423.

Between 1943 and 1991, the pentagonal lot bounded by Beechwood, Springfield, Bertrand, Vaughan, and MacKay street in New Edinburgh was home to this smart stucco clad concrete building. A project of F.X. Barrette, it was intended to serve as a residence for women and mothers involved in war work and was leased by the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (Wrens) between 1943 and 1946. Today the site is occupied by the New Edinburgh Square seniors’ complex.

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Toronto (Telephone) Exchange

A TTC bus all decked out for Christmas in front of the Andrew's Manor Apartments, 896 Eglinton East, at Don Avon. 1958. Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1567, Series 648, File 37.
A TTC bus all decked out for Christmas in front of the Andrew’s Manor Apartments, 896 Eglinton East, at Don Avon. 1958. Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1567, Series 648, File 37.

Earlier this week, I wrote a short piece about the Andrew’s Manor Apartments at 896 Eglinton East, in Leaside. Today, I transcribed the apartment’s entry in the 1954 Might’s Directory and filled in any missing information from the subsequent year’s edition.

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What’s Cookin’ at Metcalfe Court?

To the left, the glistening and recently-constructed home of Fred Cook, journalist and Mayor of Ottawa between 1902 and 1903. Image: Bytown Museum, 1902.
To the left, the glistening and recently-constructed home of Fred Cook, journalist and Mayor of Ottawa between 1902 and 1903. Image: Bytown Museum, P1902.

Metcalfe street was once more akin to the Montreal’s Golden Square Mile than to the mixed-use neighbourhood that it is today. After having been subdivided, the Colonel By Estate’s lots were quickly purchased by local merchants and politicians who constructed large homes, some of which, like the Booth House or Birkett’s Castle, were quite ornate and continued to be appreciated today.

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A Traffic (Light) Snarl in Westboro

A corner that remains somewhat familiar: Richmond Road and Churchill in Westboro. July 20, 1956. Image: City of Ottawa Archives CA039635.
A corner that remains somewhat familiar: Richmond Road and Churchill in Westboro. July 20, 1956. Image: City of Ottawa Archives CA039635.

Outside of the specific commercial mix, the built form of the intersection of Richmond Road and Churchill Avenue in Westboro has not changed dramatically in the last 60 years.

It's difficult to replicate the specific angle using Google Maps. Image: Google Maps, June 2016.
It’s difficult to replicate the specific angle using Google Maps. Image: Google Maps, June 2016.

Demolished Ottawa: Union Station Bowles

It's cute, isn't it? Source: Malak Karsh / LAC Accession 1985-070, Container 27, Assignment 1228.
It’s cute, isn’t it? Source: Malak Karsh / LAC Accession 1985-070, Container 27, Assignment 1228.

Bowles Lunch was once legendary in Ottawa. The location on Sparks was once the haunt of many movers and shakers, while the Rideau location slung millions of lunch plates and became a local legend in its own right, attracting a varied clientele.1”75 Million Lunches Served In His Regime,” Ottawa Citizen, August 13, 1947, p. 15; Eric Minton. “Remember the ‘Lunches? Uwanta, Bowles, Allen’s,” Ottawa Journal, August 12, 1972, p. 31.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. ”75 Million Lunches Served In His Regime,” Ottawa Citizen, August 13, 1947, p. 15; Eric Minton. “Remember the ‘Lunches? Uwanta, Bowles, Allen’s,” Ottawa Journal, August 12, 1972, p. 31.

Toronto-Dominion Sparks a Conversation

A view of what was lost. August 8, 1956. Source: City of Ottawa Archives CA039900.
A view of what was lost. August 8, 1956. Source: City of Ottawa Archives CA039900.

When I wrote about the recently demolished TD Bank branch on Sparks Street, I had noted that the one-storey midcentury gem necessitated the demolition of existing buildings. Here is a view of the facades taken on August 8, 1956. It’s all academic now, but I still prefer Mathers and Haldenby’s work to what it replaced.

Borrowing The Mall

Following the success of the in-mall Carlingwood Branch, the Ottawa Public Library decided to replicate the success at Elmvale. Source: City of Ottawa Archives CA024723.
Following the success of the in-mall Carlingwood Branch, the Ottawa Public Library decided to replicate the success at Elmvale Acres. Gosh, I love that lettering. Source: City of Ottawa Archives / Peter Brosseau CA024723.

On January 14, 1957, the Ottawa Public Library made history.1”Library Branch To Open Jan. 17, Ottawa Citizen, December 14, 1956, p. 7. As I wrote about previously, the recently-completed Carlingwood Shopping Centre was reputedly the first in Canada to host a public library branch.2”Locating Branch Library In Carlingwood Centre,” Ottawa Journal, May 12, 1956, p. 4. Encouraged by the success of that branch, the city’s library board sought to repeat it elsewhere. The second one, which was located in the Hampton Park Plaza and opened in 1961, was the third in Canada.3I have yet to locate where the second Canadian mall branch was located. “Library Board Okays Shopping Centre Branch,” Ottawa Journal, February 13, 1960, p. 14. The city’s third, a branch located at the Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre, was opened in 1963. The space was a design of Craig, Madill, Abram, and Ingleson,4Ottawa Journal, March 30, 1963, p. 32. and the $11,870 contract was awarded to Russ Wilson.5Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51. Work on the new branch progressed through the Spring6Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Wellington Used to be a Fine Business Street,” Ottawa Journal, May 25, 1963, p. 28. and it officially opened for business on July 15.7”New City Library Opens,” Ottawa Journal, July 16, 1963, p. 3. Just as it was the case with the branch at Carlingwood, the branch at Elmvale Acres proved exceptionally popular: the 6,500 volume branch saw an August circulation of more than 14,000.8”Big Hike in Library Circulation,” Ottawa Journal, September 16, 1963, p. 20. Though few mall branches remain in the city’s 33-branch system, the board’s approach to “go where the people are” appears to have been both cunning and successful.

Notes   [ + ]

1. ”Library Branch To Open Jan. 17, Ottawa Citizen, December 14, 1956, p. 7.
2. ”Locating Branch Library In Carlingwood Centre,” Ottawa Journal, May 12, 1956, p. 4.
3. I have yet to locate where the second Canadian mall branch was located. “Library Board Okays Shopping Centre Branch,” Ottawa Journal, February 13, 1960, p. 14.
4. Ottawa Journal, March 30, 1963, p. 32.
5. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: 50 Years of Change on Sparks Street,” Ottawa Journal, April 27, 1963, p. 51.
6. Charles Lynch. “Real Estate: Wellington Used to be a Fine Business Street,” Ottawa Journal, May 25, 1963, p. 28.
7. ”New City Library Opens,” Ottawa Journal, July 16, 1963, p. 3.
8. ”Big Hike in Library Circulation,” Ottawa Journal, September 16, 1963, p. 20.