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Saro’s Corners Bank and Slater

An artist’s rendering of Saro’s, at the corner of Bank and Slater. Source: Ottawa Jewish Archives, Fonds B0020, Item OJA-2-313.

Last summer, I wrote a very brief story about the corner of Bank and Slater that mentioned Saro’s Stereo and Television Centre.

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Quickie: Lord Elgin Hotel (1941)

The Lord Elgin, lookin' good at 75. Image: Google Maps.
The Lord Elgin, lookin’ good at 75. Image: Google Maps.

Recently, the Lord Elgin Hotel celebrated its 75th anniversary. The wartime hotel on federally-owned land couldn’t have been constructed at a better time for a capital that was about to undergo a dramatic transformation. I was recently thumbing through the pages of some back issues of the RAIC Journal for an unrelated project and came across the following from the December 1941 edition.

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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.

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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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Retail & Commercial

Demolished Ottawa: Toronto-Dominion Bank, Sparks Street

Nearing last call. The Toronto-Dominion Sparks branch served as a sales centre for the development that is poised to replace it. Image: September 2015.
Nearing last call. The Toronto-Dominion Sparks branch served as a sales centre for the development that is poised to replace it. Image: September 2015.

Earlier this spring, the Toronto-Dominion Bank branch on Sparks street was demolished to make way for Ashcroft’s much-delayed reResidences project.1Also known as the Canlands ‘A’ development. See Contentworks Inc. 111-113 Queen St. & 106-116 Sparks St., Cultural Heritage Impact Statement. June 2013; Patrick Langston. “Cosmopolitan Mr. Choo,” Ottawa Citizen, December 12, 2009, p. 19; Mark Brownlee. “Still waiting for a spark,” Ottawa Business Journal, October 30, 2012; NCC Watch, Canlands ‘A’ Archive; “Ashcroft to start over on facade of long-delayed Sparks street project,” Ottawa Business Journal, February 13, 2014; David Reevely. “Decrepit Sparks Street building to be demolished for Ashcroft project,” Ottawa Citizen, February 13, 2014; Ashcroft Homes / CNW. “For the first time in 150 years; 108-116 Sparks St. heritage façade work underway.” May 11, 2016. While the heritage façade of the former Centre Theatre seems to have garnered most of the attention, for one reason or another, it is the demolition of the midcentury modern Toronto-Dominion Bank branch that has captivated me.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Also known as the Canlands ‘A’ development. See Contentworks Inc. 111-113 Queen St. & 106-116 Sparks St., Cultural Heritage Impact Statement. June 2013; Patrick Langston. “Cosmopolitan Mr. Choo,” Ottawa Citizen, December 12, 2009, p. 19; Mark Brownlee. “Still waiting for a spark,” Ottawa Business Journal, October 30, 2012; NCC Watch, Canlands ‘A’ Archive; “Ashcroft to start over on facade of long-delayed Sparks street project,” Ottawa Business Journal, February 13, 2014; David Reevely. “Decrepit Sparks Street building to be demolished for Ashcroft project,” Ottawa Citizen, February 13, 2014; Ashcroft Homes / CNW. “For the first time in 150 years; 108-116 Sparks St. heritage façade work underway.” May 11, 2016.
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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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Office

It’s All Looking Up For Bill Teron

The building formerly known as Teron, 251 Laurier Avenue West. Image: July 2016.
The building formerly known as Teron, 251 Laurier Avenue West. Image: July 2016.

In the same way that Ottawa grew out during the 1950s and 1960s, it also grew up. The names were even the same: Robert Campeau, Garfield Weston, Ken Greene, and of course, Bill “Mr. Kanata” Teron. The Teron Building, located on the northeast corner of Laurier and O’Connor was Teron’s second office building in Ottawa and, at the time of construction, his tallest.

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Civic & Infrastructure Downtown

It’s a Library and it’s an Archive and it’s My Favourite

In all its glory. Image: July 2016.
In all its glory. Image: July 2016.

Maligned by some, I have never hidden my love for the Library and Archives building at 395 Wellington. I’ve always found Alvan Mathers’ design for the building to be both monumental and welcoming at the same time. To my eye it is certainly a “building befitting, in design and size, the dignity of the Dominion and the importance of the undertaking” of a National Library (and Archive).1F. Dolores Donnelly. The National Library of Canada (Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1973): 41.

Notes   [ + ]

1. F. Dolores Donnelly. The National Library of Canada (Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1973): 41.
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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.

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Retail & Commercial

“The busiest corner on the busiest street.”

POSTCARD.
Postcard depicting the intersection of Bank and Sparks streets, looking south. Stephens Block is the stone building to the right. Undated.

Last week, I wrote a short piece about Spero Andrews’ Embassy Restaurant, which was located at the south west corner of Bank and Sparks streets. As I concluded that story, I noted that there would be more to come, as that particular corner has, unsurprisingly, had a particularly storied history. In this instalment, I explore its history from R.W. Stephens’ purchase of the property to Peter Karson’s purchase of the the Rochester-Belmont Pharmacy, Tea Room, and Rainbow Tea Room.