Friday, September 24, 2010

Lament for the Corner Store

It's official.  There are no more corner stores in my neighbourhood (near Dovercourt).  When we moved in 9 years ago (9?!) there were 4, all within a 10 minute walk of each other and 3 of the 4 on Churchill.  Now there are none.   

The first to go was the Daily Convenience at the east side of Churchill near Carling, then the Roosevelt Confectionary closed its doors.  Fred's Fine Foods (love the full name though it was definately a misnomer!) was personally our biggest loss last summer.  We can't get milk, juice, yard waste bags, flower baskets or pink mints at the new condos that are being constructed.  And now the Churchill Groceteria, across from Churchill School near Byron, is gone with the building to be leased to MilkFace. 

The Daily Convenienve became Aahar Restaurant ( and I don't mind that so much.  The convenience store had started selling good Indian food before it closed and simply transitioned into something new.  The owners, as far as I know are the same.  It's a great little addition and gets excellent foodie reviews.  The owners of the Roosevelt Confectionary, as far as I know, retired.  Fair enough.  I think they still live in the building though presumably they will eventually sell and something new will be built.

Fred's I would have loved to have bought.  It, together with the accompanying lot, was the perfect spot for a fabulous food place - maybe a cross between the Piggy Market and Herb & Spice.  My kids miss Fred.  They still talk about him.  He wasn't even particularly friendly to them but they thought of him as a fixture in our neighbourhood.  But even those we think of as fixtures leave. 
And now the Churchill Groceteria.  I rarely shopped there - it was a little far.  Convenience stores need to be truly...convenient.  But I miss it just the same.

And no I don't count the Shell on the corner of Churchill and Carling - it's too far for a really quick walk and the milk is expensive.  So now we drive to Shoppers DrugMart (what a waste) and continue to try to plan more in advance (buy milk whenever you are near a store - we always need it).

I just found a fabulous collection of photographs of corner stores in Ottawa by Patrick Dumais.  Three of the 4 mentioned above are reproduced here (with permission from M. Dumais) Many more can be found at

Thanks Patrick!