177 Armstrong sits empty today. No doubt another entrepreneurial Ottawan can launch another successful venture from here. March 2014.
It may be considered a strength for a neighbourhood to have a number of smaller and relatively inexpensive places for new businesses to hatch. More often than not, these spaces are older and have long since ceased to be used for their original purpose. This diminutive example, located at 177 Armstrong, was most recently the home of Twiss & Weber (now at 1282 Wellington West) and began life as the administrative offices for the Albert Dore Ice Company.
It was around this time that Albert and his brother, who had inherited their father Napoleon’s ice and firewood business together, split up and Albert struck out on his own, leaving the firewood behind. At the time, it likely seemed like a good bet. Refrigerators using Freon-12 hadn’t yet become as widespread as they would later be and many of Ottawa’s families were holding on to the old ice box.
While the family business may have occupied the lot for a few decades, the use of 177 Armstrong to sell ice turned out to be a short-term proposition. Although the Iceman, like the Milkman, Breadman, and mobile knife sharpener, was a job with an impending expiry date, it was likely that Dore’s troubles with the Department of National Revenue had some influence on the speed at which he exited the ice business.
Dore’s book keeper, John Civin was also found complicit in the tax evasion. Source: Ottawa Journal, May 29, 1950.
In November 1953, Dore took out an ad in the Journal announcing his retirement and thanking his customers for their business. His rolodex, as it was, was transferred to the Ottawa Ice Company at 387 Nicholas.
-- Original photos & text by Christopher Ryan.
(See more on our blog from Christopher...)
See also: Ottawa HIstory Guide
If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!