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Retail & Commercial

A Bank, A Spark, and the Fight to Keep Uptown Ottawa (Tinder) Dry

Sparks Street at Bank, looking east. The Rochester-Belmont at foreground right. Undated, but likely 1938. Source: Public Works / LAC Accession 1970-140 NPC, Box RV1-036, CP 677.
Sparks Street at Bank, looking east. The Rochester-Belmont at foreground right. Undated, but likely 1938. Source: Public Works / LAC Accession 1970-140 NPC, Box RV1-036, CP 677.

When I last wrote of Stephens Block on the southwest corner of Bank and Sparks streets, I left off with the purchase of The Belmont Pharmacy, Tea Room, and Rainbow Tea Room by local restauranteur Peter Karson. In this instalment (the third and final), I focus on the various fires, both literal and figurative, which beset Stephens Block and Karson’s Restaurant in particular. It was only after having being forged in these fires that the resulting Embassy Restaurant was able to stand as the well-loved establishment that it was. At least until the need for federal office space proved too potent a foe.