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Imbro’s Restaurant, Rideau (1968)

Detail of a CMHC photograph taken from the corner of Rideau and Friel, April 1968. Image: CMHC 1968-395, April 29, 1968.
Detail of a CMHC photograph taken from the corner of Rideau and Friel, April 1968. Image: CMHC 1968-395, April 29, 1968.

Having recently referred to Imbro’s Restaurant twice recently, I figured that it would be a good idea to share its Rideau street context in 1968. Note the Parkway Motor Inn (1957) in the distance.

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City Parking, Metcalfe (1973)

City Parking's L-shaped lot at the corner of Queen and Metcalfe, as it appeared in 1973. Image: Bill Cadzow / CMHC 1973-102, Image 4.
City Parking’s L-shaped lot at the corner of Queen and Metcalfe, as it appeared in 1973. I’d click for the full size image. There’s a whole lot of fun detail. Image: Bill Cadzow / CMHC 1973-102, Image 4.

I recently wrote a bit about the adventures and misadventures in development experienced by Bernard Herman’s City Parking Ltd. (Citicom)  in Ottawa. The photograph above was taken by Bill Cadzow of the CMHC in  February 1973, just before City Parking announced its Canada Centre project. For all it could have been, the Canada Centre was permanently iced when the National Capital Commission purchased the developer’s entire downtown portfolio in 1976. It would not be until 1984 that the site would be constructed on, with the Manulife Place office being completed in 1987.

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Bank between Laurier and Slater (1960)

TED GRANT
Ted Grant captures the view of Bank Street, looking north between Laurier and Slater. That neon, maintained, would look snappy today. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Accession 1981-181 NPC Series 60-695A, Image 173.

Another photograph from Ted Grant’s series “Meter Maids“. This time looking north on Bank, half way between Laurier Avenue and Slater. Outside of James Strutt’s rather disappointing renovation of the Jackson Building, one thing to notice in the shot of the Stage Door Restaurant. It’s difficult to make out on the southwest corner of Bank and Slater: just beside the third car parked on the left.

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Ted Grant Photographs Ottawa’s new ‘Meter Maids’ at Bank and Clarey

From the series "Meter Maids" (1960), Ted Grant captures some of the action at Bank and Clarey in the Glebe. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Accession 1981-181 NPC Series 60-965A, Image 177.
From the series “Meter Maids” (1960), Ted Grant captures some of the action at Bank and Clarey in the Glebe. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Accession 1981-181 NPC Series 60-965A, Image 177.
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The Regent and Stephen(s) Block

The Tulip Festival Parade, May 15, 1965. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Accession 1981-181 NPC Series 65-0151 Image 92.
The Tulip Festival Parade, May 15, 1965. Image: Ted Grant / LAC Accession 1981-181 NPC Series 65-0151 Image 92.
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Captured Moment: Wellington Street (1957)

A busy afternoon on Wellington street, June 17, 1957. Image: City of Toronto Archives Gilbert A. Milne & Co. Ltd. Fonds (1653), Series 975, Box 149960.
A busy afternoon on Wellington street, June 17, 1957. Image: City of Toronto Archives Gilbert A. Milne & Co. Ltd. Fonds (1653), Series 975, Box 149960.

I’ve always been a fan of this picture. One of the busy Ottawa street scenes captured by Gilbert A. Milne & Co. on June 17, 1957. I wrote a bit about one of the shots previously, and Robert Smythe has taken the whole series in turn.

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Then and Now: Timmins Daily Press

Here is a quick hit Then-and-Now from my hometown.

The Timmins Daily Press launched the Thomson Media empire.
The Timmins Daily Press (“Thomson Building”): c.1936 and c. 2010

In spite of passionate community opposition, the Timmins Daily Press (Thomson) building was demolished in 1997.

But in Thomson’s world, sentimentality can only be stretched so far. In Timmins, where father Roy got his start, some of the old-timers still fondly remember young Ken from his stint as a reporter in 1947, says Syl Belisle, publisher of the now Hollinger-controlled Timmins Daily Press. Thomson returned in 1984 to donate the old press building as a historic site to the city of Timmins. It later fell into disrepair and was demolished. But The Daily Press is thriving since the Thomsons sold it in 1996, Belisle says. “We’re bigger now. We’re up to 16 pages minimum. We’ve added more staff, new products. We’re even putting out a phone book.” There is still life after the Thomsons move on. [1]

Although the paper survived (and perhaps thrives) without the Thomson family, the physical history of their empire did not.

The words about Timmins were touching, the town and the paper, one would think, corporate icons. But the empire’s origins had already been extinguished by the bottom line.

Susan Goldenberg visited the isolated town in her researches in the ’80s and found the Press, by then a daily, in total disarray, the look of it Dickensian. Blue paint peeled off the newsroom walls, torn pieces of plastic served as window blinds, reporters in a computer age still pounded away at wounded typewriters. In 1996 the Timmins Daily Press passed out of the Thomson fold like a ship in the night, sold quietly with a group of expendables. If the queen of English-language journalism, the Times of London, couldn’t survive Thomson’s bottom-line economics, how could the Daily Press? Emotion paid fewer dividends than front-page sewer stories. The founding paper was dismissed without even a note in the corporation house organ, the Thomson News, which handled the obituary as part of the sale of 14 unnamed Canadian papers “east of Thunder Bay, Ontario.”

“They don’t have an emotional bone in their body,” says Bill Sternberg, Thomson’s former Washington bureau chief who now works at USA Today. Sternberg spent seven years building up the bureau, then saw it gutted in one night over dinner at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, the staff to be told in the morning. The Washington bureau is now down to two reporters, one writing for Thomson’s Arizona papers, the other for the Wisconsin group. “Just look at Timmins. They sure had enough money to have kept the paper for sentimental reasons. But they didn’t. They don’t have sentiment and they don’t have ideology. The ideology is dollars.”

By the time of the bureau upheaval, however, in January 1997, both the overarching Thomson Corp. and Thomson Newspapers had moved into a dramatically new corporate era.

Historically, the newspaper business has been remarkably recession-proof. Fortunes were made off screaming headlines during the Great Depression and, despite constant hand-wringing, the business had a Wall Street reputation for holding up throughout the periodic recessions since the end of the Second World War. The recession of the late `80s and early ’90s was startlingly different. [2]

Doubtlessly, an inglorious end to a building that deserved better.

[1] Sheppard, Robert. 2000. “A License to Print Money.” Maclean’s February 28, 2000.
[2] Prochnau, William. 1998. “In Lord Thompson’s Realm.” American Journalism Review. October 1998, pp. 45-61.

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Then & Now: Brewers’ Retail

Front: 1958 and 2013

Located at 1860 Bank, the Brewers’ Retail warehouse and retail outlet was completed in 1958 and its design is credited to John B. Parkin & Associates.

As the organization’s warehouse and distribution centre, it was served by CP Rail’s Prescott Subdivision.

Then somewhat isolated along Bank St. and south of Walkley, the facility was sometimes an attractive target for theft.

Joyriding and stolen beer.
Not a well-replicated shot, but the idea is there.

It remains a Beer Store outlet to this day, while the warehousing facility has since been moved out to 2750 Swansea Cr.