Tag Archives: downtown Ottawa

I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes –Flash Cadilac Ottawa

I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes –Flash Cadilac Ottawa

The Flash Cadilac Burlap Bag, thanks to Wanda Jane who sent it all the way from California( see below)

I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes

I learned some valuable lessons during my initial employments. One of the most important things I noticed was never let your paramours be involved in your business. I watched short-duration girlfriends be allowed to become fashion buyers and awarded free living quarters for their unqualified work. Eventually, the boss realized running a few residences could drain his finances quickly and make or break any future retail developments in mind.

Sometimes when the girlfriends, aka buyers, were ceremoniously dumped; the style direction their stores took was disastrous. But then again on rare occasions, a change in buyers every few months kept their styles current and fresh. But I watched them as I hemmed pants, and loved it when a few clever ladies brought in recycled clothing to sell.  I was impressed that it was made so well that the inside looked almost as good as the outside.

In the 70’s vintage clothing began to evolve, and some of the cool stores I went to in NYC like Reminiscence on MacDougal Street mixed surplus and vintage together to create a unique fashion style. There was such an upsurge in the vintage fashion trends that Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy came out with the great book called Cheap Chic in 1975. This particular book, considered a fashion Bible is worth almost 100 dollars if you find it and re-sell it today.

When I opened my store Flash Cadilac, there were very few thrifts stores in Ottawa except for The Salvation Army, Ste. Vincent de Paul, and Neighbourhood Services. Local vintage fashion stores included: “Yes We Have No Bananas” on Elgin Street, Paddlin Maddlin’s, and Ragtime on Bank Street, and of course my friend Catherine Landry’s shop’s “Pennies From Heaven.”
The quest for good vintage finds in Canada was sparse and I used to go to Flushing, N.Y. and buy 500 pound bales of “silks” which cost me 50 cents a pound. The first time we bought such a bale we crushed the roof of the rental car we were driving when the forklift put it on top of the car. We had no clue about customs forms, and when the agent at Ogdensburg, N.Y. didn’t want to deal with us, he sent us to Prescott Ontario.

Arriving at the Prescott border the agent looked at us and the load on top of the car we had just driven 12 hours with and dryly said,“Ya got forms for this?”We had no idea that all commercial products brought into Canada needed forms and duty had to be paid.Needless to say the Canadian customs also made us cut the compressed clothing bale open. I don’t think I need to tell you what 500 pounds of compression looks like when it’s finally free. Three trips to the Canadian customs office on Carling Avenue and 10 station wagon trips later made from Prescott, N.Y. to Ottawa– we learned about importing the hard way.

At that point fashionistas were just beginning to realize that vintage was just not wearing old clothing. The fabrics and quality of vintage clothing were better because they were all made here. Gradually through the years what’s old is new again and today’s malls seem to contain stores of endless disposable clothing. When I was a child of the 50’s my mother used to say, “you dress appropriately because nobody likes an eyesore”.  After all Grandma didn’t wear Pink stretch pants that had the word “Juicy” plastered across their rear ends.

The Flash Cadilac Burlap Bag, thanks to Wanda Jane who sent it all the way from California

I was pretty naive when I opened the store in 1976. Ordered 5000 bags from a salesman thinking they would be in customers hands in a month. LOLOL

Had no idea they werebeing made in India and they took the slow boat to China back to Ottawa. Little over a year later they arrived. Boxes and boxes and boxes… and yes we had to go to customs to pick those up too.

Click on photo to see description…

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

04 Dec 1986, Thu • Page 56

Amanda Lynne Jamieson —– Linda Seccaspina! I thought I’d share a fun childhood memory with you. I was only about 6 years old so some of the details are vague but just the same, I remember it fondly.

One hot summer day, our teenage babysitter decided to take my brother and me on the bus from Gatineau to downtown Ottawa so she could go shopping. Our adventure included a stop in at your store Flash Cadilac which in turn became a very fun glitter fight! My babysitter then tried to rush us home to get cleaned up before my mom got home. But we were caught when we ended up on the same bus as mom! Sorry for the mess 😬 but thanks for the memories!

Happy 2023 Amanda..🙂

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Chapter 2 –Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

Flash Cadilac -Sex Lies and Video Tape?

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac

Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!

Remembering Nash the Slash at The Black Swan Pub

Documenting Mr.and Mrs. William Fest Transportation Building or—I Want Candy

Documenting Mr.and Mrs. William Fest Transportation Building or—I Want Candy
Located on one of the busiest intersection in Ottawa, the Transportation building almost remained unchanged; only its ground floor was modified and became one of the main entrance to the Rideau Centre. Photo- Ottawa Archives- from PastOttawa
Lost Ottawa
December 19, 2013  · 

Ottawa’s “Transportation Building” at Rideau and Colonel By, seen from the from the southwest. In the bottom, the old Elephant and Castle.

The building opened in 1916 by JR Booth’s son, CJ Booth, and has many federal civil servants over the years — I think the NCC was in there at one time. Still good looking.

The building served as Ottawa’s City Hall between 1931 (when the City Hall on Elgin burned down) and 1958, when the new — now old — city hall was built at Rideau Falls.
Blair StannardOld Ottawa And Bytown Pics
March 1  · 

Ottawa – 1966 – the Transportation Building at Rideau and Sussex. It was the site of the Ottawa city hall, after the former city hall at Elgin and Queen burned in 1931. It served as such until the new city hall building was built on Green Island. (1958)
City of Ottawa Archives CA 000155

Lost Ottawa

August 27, 2016  · Here’s a major Ottawa corner in January of 1910. This is Rideau and Little Sussex, which is now the southeast corner of Rideau and Colonel By. Sinkhole to the left.This building once housed jeweler James Tracy, the drug store of William Roger, and the Dairy Lunch. Kind of a mini Rideau Mall.The corner would be transformed in 1916 with the construction of the Transportation Building (once the home of the NCC, and once also the home of City Hall).(LAC PA-042564)

The Fest Family

In 1887 on the site of the Transportation building southeast corner of Rideau and Little Sussex streets, there stood a 2and one half storey tin-roofed, solid stone building. That old building, a relic from the 1850s, was occupied by Mrs. William Fest. Her shop was the candy and pastry centre of Ottawa in the 1880s.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Nov 1931, Sat  •  Page 32

Everybody in the 1870s- 1880s in Ottawa knew the Fests. Fest’s confectionery store, at the southeast corner of Rideau and Little Sussex streets, was known to everybody in Ottawa, It occupied the same position in the public eye that Scott’s confectionery on Sparks street did in the 1860s and 1870s. The Fests came to Ottawa from the county Donegal in the late 1860s and opened a confectionery store in the 2 1-2 storey stone building where the Transportation building now stands.

Mrs William ( Pender) Fest in the early 1880s was an indefatigable worker. The Fests attended St. John’s Anglican church on Sussex street. In church work Mrs. Fest was always just as busy as she was in her store. Mrs. Fest was noted for her equable and calm disposition. She always had a cheery word for her customers and was a good judge of human nature. Whenever a new girl came to the store to serve, Mrs Fest would say, “Now, my dear, eat all the candy you feel like eating, but do not take any home. If I find you taking any home I will have to discharge you. It will not be necessary for you to wait till I am out to eat. You may do it when I am present.”

The result of such talks was that Mrs. Fest’s girls, or parcel boys, used invariably to start in to gorge themselves on candy (mostly when Mrs. Fest was not around). The further result was that they always got sick, their stomachs turned upside down and candy became repulslve to them. Thereafter the Fest candy became as safe from attack as though it had not been there. Mr. Fest was seldom seen by the public. He was always too busy at the back making cakes and candies.

1901 Census

Name:William Fest
Racial or Tribal Origin:English
Marital status:Married
Birth Date:26 Mar 1875
Birth Place:Ontario
Relation to Head of House:Head
Hourly Wage:432
Working at Trade in Factory or in Home:F
Months Employed at Trade in Factory:12
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
District:Ottawa (City/Cité)
District Number:100
Sub-District:Ottawa (City/Cité) Central (Ward/Quartier)
Sub-District Number:5
Family Number:72
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:NameAgeWilliam Fest25Margurite Fest27Margurite Fest5Katherine G Fest2George Fitzgerald29
William Fest
Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Dec 1891, Thu  •  Page 4

Transportation Building — It was incorporated into the Rideau Centre and is heritage designated.

Joy Eastop WatsonNCC was definitely in there, My mom worked for the NCC for 26 years & I remember looking out those big 1st floor windows when the Santa parade went by in the 70’s… Those were also the days when you could open the window and smoke in the office.

Andrew DeBeaupréWasn’t it also known as the Dominion Bridge building before WWII? NCC was there in mid-70s

David TwolanI miss the Elephant and Castle. Great pub.

Blair StannardOld Ottawa And Bytown Pics
March 1  · 

Ottawa – 1966 – the Transportation Building at Rideau and Sussex. It was the site of the Ottawa city hall, after the former city hall at Elgin and Queen burned in 1931. It served as such until the new city hall building was built on Green Island. (1958)
City of Ottawa Archives CA 000155

From Ottawa City Directory 1870-1871 Simpson Book Collection

From Ottawa City Directory 1887-1888 Simpson Book Collection

Memories of Mulvey’s Candy Store and Joie Bond — Larry Clark

Documenting Isabel Hogan’s Candy Store

It Started in the Candy Kitchen Restaurant– Kerfoot Fire Smiths Falls

Memories of the Ideal Candy Shop

Coffee Talk– Coolidge’s Penny Candy and Rochester Street– For Tom Edwards

From Chocolate to Lofts- Memories of Patterkrisp Candy?

Pour Some Sugar on Me! The Demise of the Penny Candy

Candy Stores Shoes and Plungers– Ray Paquette

The Candy Man — George Dummert

Margaret Love -From Sweet to Sour