“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” At least, so the popular saying goes. The market for apartment buildings in the early 1960s was hot. Really hot. It was during this time that such large builders like Mastercraft, Assaly, Minto, and numerous others started looking upwards as much as they were outward into the greenfield development they had been through the 1950s. The action wasn’t limited to the larger players, however.
Back in March, I transcribed the list of apartment buildings from the 1945 Might’s Directory of the City of Ottawa and ran some minor analysis of the proportion of apartment buildings in each of Ottawa’s neighbourhoods. I decided to jump ahead to 1955, as a massive transition in the Canadian housing market was well underway.
It’s the consummately ordinary that that tends to grab my attention.
If you’ve run into me lately, you were doubtlessly entreated to some words about apartment buildings in Ottawa. I can’t help it, the topic has been rolling around in my mind for a decade or so.
This is just a shortie to show that I’m alive.
This small commercial facade first captured my attention back in the spring of 2013. I walked past it last weekend when I was on the way to have brunch with a friend, so I took a quick snap and decided to briefly look into it. Located at 204 Lebreton St. S. (corner of Louisa), it has served the following purposes:
- Dominion Stores. Rochesterville and Mount Sherwood residents were likely more than happy to have a location to purchase groceries. What’s somewhat interesting is that an area of town that’s something of a food desert today1Though the area lacks the presence of a large grocery store, there are a few smaller stores that carry produce. Additionally, there are two community gardens nearby., there were at one point a large number of small groceterias.
- Lingerie. A small factory operated here assembling lingerie at what were advertised as rock-bottom prices. Given the offshoring and manufacturing revolution that began to take place 20-30 following, that bottom wasn’t so bottom. 65 years ago, it was a relatively expensive to purchase a “dainty negligee”. This is an aspect to local social history that could use a little more coverage.
- Cam Grant Electric. During the later 1950s and 1960s, many of Ottawa’s industrial and commercial properties were transformed. As more manufacturing became concentrated in cities like Montreal or Toronto2While these were always the dominant centres, in Ontario in particular, the manufacturing industry was traditionally more spread out across the province with more local concerns., such properties took on a more “heavy retail” feel. Today, we’d see more of these operations located in industrial parks than we would in “workers'” or low-income neighbourhoods.
- Arctic Refrigeration.
- Battleship Linoleum.
- Built Ideas (contractor).
- A stained-glass shop.
- Stephen Fenn Photography.
- Today it’s occupied by StyleHaus, an interior designer.
|↥1||Though the area lacks the presence of a large grocery store, there are a few smaller stores that carry produce. Additionally, there are two community gardens nearby.|
|↥2||While these were always the dominant centres, in Ontario in particular, the manufacturing industry was traditionally more spread out across the province with more local concerns.|