The Woodroffe Corner Store- Neighbourhood Institution- Under Threat, 2012
In 1915, a two storey brick building was constructed at the corner of Woodroffe Avenue and Richmond Road(927 Richmond Rd). At the time, Woodroffe Village was sparsely populated. The neighbourhood was a combination of summer cottages, a few permanent homes, and farms. The building was bounded to the north by the Ullett House and the CPR rail line, to the south the streetcar line. Richmond Roadwas paved, but Woodroffe was still a dirt road. [Rail, River and Road: Woodroffe Memories, Woodroffe North Community Association, 2011]
The Ulletts operated a grocery store on the ground floor, and there was a residence on the second floor. The store closed in 1919 because many of the customers couldn’t pay their debts.
In 1943 the store was re-opened by Peter Jason, who then sold it in 1948 to the Shouldice family. They ran the store until the mid-1970s. It continued to operate as a corner store up until the end of last year as Pronto Mart.
This store has served the Woodroffe community through two World Wars, massive residential expansion, annexation to the City ofOttawain 1950, expropriation of river front lands to create the Parkway in the 1960s, and the construction of Carlingwood Shopping Centre in 1957. And now it, and the Ullett house at108 Woodroffe Avenue(behind it) are slated to be demolished to make way for a fourteen storey condo development [seeUrban Design Review Panel Richmond Rd/ Woodroffe Ave 17 Nov 2011]
Shouldice’s Grocery represent the corner grocery store, where the retailer lived above the shop and served his neighbourhood. It represents the community of Woodroffe, which has continued despite the Parkway expropriations. This is a neighbourhood that in the last century grew from a rural village to an urban residential district.
The building itself, while not unattractive, is utilitarian in design. It was built as a store and home, and has not been altered in its lifetime to serve any other function. Few examples of this kind of building still exist. It should be preserved for its heritage value.
No doubt proponents of the condominium will espouse the architectural values of their very large planned building, but I want to put a different slant on this issue.
Heritage preservation is not the sole domain of the grand and the monumental. It includes preservation of buildings which were important in other ways to the areas where they are located.927 Richmond Roadholds heritage value. It was, and is a building closely tied to its community, and its community’s history. Everyone living in its environs has been inside it, bought a litre of milk, a newspaper. It is an intrinsic part of the community’s everyday life.
[This was the store where my brother and I would go on Saturday mornings to spend our allowances on candy or pop. My mom would go there regularly for groceries, and also phone her grocery order, when she couldn’t get out. Mr Shouldice would wrap big beef bones in brown paper for our dog Woody’s birthday. This was the anchor of our life in the area. Sure we moved around the neighbourhood going to church, school, etc. But Shouldices, (and its successors) was the place to go to see people, and to get supplies.]