Early Photography and Photographic Studios in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada



November 7, 2014: Added photograph of W.J. Topley, photographer to this page.

             Sketch by F.H. Varley of the Group of Seven                            Thanks to Judy Reveal of Maryland, USA, for the following image

          Sketch of a Photographer by Frederick H. Varley                            Pittaway Photography Studio, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  


December 29, 2002: ----- Original Message Subject: Maria Street/Laurier Avenue? Dear Al Lewis, By way of roughly dating an S.J. Jarvis photo from the booklet VIEWS OF OTTAWA ("Bank Street, looking north from Laurier Avenue") I was wondering when exactly "Maria Street" was renamed "Laurier Avenue?" Thanks for your help & CHEERS, Rod Anstee _____________________________________________ Hi Rod: Thanks for your e-mail.I'm not sure when Maria Street was renamed. On the 1879 map of the city of Ottawa it is still named Maria. If memory serves me, Laurier became Prime Minister in 1896 so it was probably after that. In 1879, Laurier Avenue East (in Sandy Hill) was called Theodore Street (after Theodore Besserer) and west of the canal it was called Maria. Gladstone Avenue was called Ann or Anna Street and Lyon Street was called Sally Street. I read somewhere that these feminine names were for wives of Colonel By, Nicholas Sparks and others. South of the Queensway, the present day Chamberlain Avenue was called Isabella (west of Bank Street). This is interesting. Maybe I'll start a new web page on the site dealing with street names. Do you mind if I add your e-mail address? You may get an answer to your question about Maria Street. There are quite a few streets on Lebreton Flats - Duke Street, Broad Street and Fleet Street, names which have now all disappeared.It would also be interesting to know about the early photographers in the city. I think they began about 1860. Jarvis may have been the name on an old photo here of my GreatGrandmother. I'll have a look.... Al _________________________________________ Hi, Al. Just thinking about it tonight, it seems unlikely to me that they would have renamed the street until Laurier ended his career as an active politician, and maybe not even until his passing. (Can you imagine a Mulroney Street, for example!?) In that regard, Laurier was PM until 1911, and died in 1919. Someone must know -- sure add my email to the site or notice board. If your great-grandmother's photo was taken at the Jarvis Studio, I'd be interested to know details -- i.e. year it was taken (roughly) and what address appears on the folder or frame -- I think the earliest ones I have are from a shared studio, "Pittaway / Jarvis". Later Jarvis was on his own. And there were quite a number of competitors in the early days. Oddly enough, in Ottawa now, in the area that lies north & east of the Conroy & Hunt Club Road intersection is a neighbourhood in which some of the street names commemorate a few Ottawa photographers. CHEERS, Rod A _______________________________________________ Hi Rod: The photo of my GreatGrandmother (Catherine Sullivan) was taken by the Pittaway Studio in Ottawa. Unfortunately there is no address or date on it. She was born in 1851 and died in 1927. The photo, judging by her apparent age, seems to have been taken around the time of the First World War. There is another photo of my Grandparents, taken in 1908. It seems also to have been taken in a studio. It does not include the name of the photographer (unless it is printed on the back of the photo - it's in a frame). My grandparents lived in Osgoode Township at the time and it's possible that the photographer made the rounds of the Manotick area taking pictures of families. Either that, or more likely, the families travelled to Ottawa for the sitting. The National Library (second floor) has annual Ottawa City Directories going back to the 1860's. All households and businesses are listed. Sometime, when I'm there, I'll have a look for the first appearance of Laurier Avenue and see what they have on early photographers. ... Al
January 8, 2003: Hi again, Al. I was out and about today and learned a few things. Alfred G. Pittaway went into business for himself, after a brief partnership with Samuel J. Jarvis from 1882-1890. His first solo studio opened right after that, at 58 Sparks Street. Now, it is confusing, but it turns out that there were actually TWO different photographers, both named "Samuel J. Jarvis" -- the older one ( the uncle) operated first out of 69 Sparks (Jarvis & Arless studio) and then in 1875 went solo out of 141 Sparks. He was there until 1890 or so. The younger one (nephew) apprenticed with his uncle for three years at 141 Sparks, then did the brief partnership with Pittaway at 117 Sparks. In 1890 they split, Jarvis stayed at 117 Sparks & Pittaway went down the street to 58 Sparks. Then in 1912 Samuel J. Jarvis ( the nephew) moved his studio off Sparks altogether, to a new studio at 281 Bank Street. Also, Maria Street was renamed Laurier Avenue in 1904 -- this surprised me, since it happened during the period of Laurier's active political career. I guess things were different in those days! CHEERS, Rod A Note: Rod Has updated the above e-mail. See the revised version under date of February 14, 2003.
February 13, 2003: Hi; Looking through some of my old pics , I have one of my grandmother Rebecca Alexander and seven of her cousins taken about 1890 at Pittaway Studio, 58 Sparks. Another of her grandmother Mary Shannon taken at Parker, 140 Sparks ,St. I am not sure of the year but she is quite old and died in 1898 at 93 years. Very interesting site. Garry Owens. ___________________________________ also posted on February 13, 2003: (Thanks Rod!) Hi, Garry. This IS pretty interesting. It's clear that Ottawa's Sparks Street was utterly infested with photo studios in the latter half of the 19th century. I'm only just beginning to get a handle on the endless combinations & permutations. I didn't know about "Parker" at 140 Sparks Street (is that right?), however circa. 1875, 140 Sparks housed the first solo studio of Samuel Jarvis (elder) -- earlier he had been at 69 Sparks in partnership with Arless, and later, circa. 1878, he moved his studio again, this time just across the street to 141 Sparks. Sometime after Jarvis vacated 140 Sparks, it was occupied by another photographer named J.D. Wallis, formerly of 61 Sparks, and THAT space (61 Sparks) was taken over by the Wood Studio! Like one big square dance. CHEERS, Rod Anstee ___________________________________ It seems as if the proliferation of photography studios in Ottawa in the last quarter of the 19th century was Ottawa's first high-tech boom. Camera equipment required expertise and capital to operate until the advent of the Kodak Brownie camera in the 1930's (I think). Once the "Brownie" was introduced, photography was within the price range of many families. ... Al
February 14, 2003: Hi All; I have several old pictures, taken in the 1870s/1880s/1890s and early 1900s, and several of the earlier ones were from the Jarvis Studio located at 141 Sparks Street, I also have a few taken early 1890s at the Snider Studio located at 134 Bank Street, and a few more probably taken around 1910-1915 or so, at the J.H. Bunting & Co. Corner of Bank and Wellington Streets, Ottawa, Ontario. Add these to the pot. Ken Armstrong ___________________________________ Hi again; Going thru some more of my old stuff and found a few more.There is an E. Spencer, not sure of date of pic but I believe it is 1860s or 70s.Also a Wallis , Sparks ,St. 1880s. Lots of S.J. Jarvis, Another S.J. Jarvis "Elite Studio",117 Sparks ,St. Also have a Royal Studio, Ottawa, pic is dated 1888. Photography at this time in history was certainly a growth industry. Most of these old pics of this era have stood up very well, I don't think our modern pics will look as good in 120 years. Garry. ___________________________________ Ottawa's most famous photographer was Josef Karsh. Some of his best known photographs are at the National Archives web site. July 19, 2014: Joseph Karsh, a world famous photographer, lived in Ottawa and is buried at Notre Dame Cemetery. His wife was Solange Gauthier.
Yousuf KARSH, photographer, grave marker
___________________________________ Hello again, I was just reading over this thread again for the first time in a while, and I would like to offer some revisions to a letter I posted back on January 8, 2003 -- based upon some further information. First of all, the older of the two Samuel Jarvis photographers may NOT have shared the same middle initial ("J") with his nephew, as I indicated. In several sources these two guys tend to get conflated, not overly surprisingly I guess, but in one archive source I found recently the older one was referred to as Samuel "T." Jarvis, and looking again at the actual photos & ephemera I have, I realize now that the older one is only ever identified only as "Samuel" (i.e. no middle initial), whereas the younger one is always identified with the additional middle initial "J.". Second, prior to opening up his most long-lived photo studio at 141 Sparks Street, the older Samuel Jarvis did business at TWO previous addresses, first at 69 Sparks Street (in partnership with Arless), and then (solo) at 140 Sparks Street. Finally, as previously noted, when the nephew, Samuel J. Jarvis completed his apprenticeship in 1882 he went into business first with A.G. Pittaway (opened on 15 February, 1882 = 121 years ago tomorrow!) at 117 Sparks Street -- which address had been previously occupied by Thomas Stiff, photographer. Over the years in question, the Stiff brothers worked out of several Sparks Street addresses, 56 and later 24 & 78 Sparks Street -- and 24 Sparks Street had itself previously been occupied by an even earlier photographer, named Elihu Spencer, who operated between 1859 & 1869. And even THAT doesn't exhaust the "Sparks Street Photo Roster" -- no one has yet mentioned William Topley at 104 Sparks, or a studio I have so far not been able to identify by name, but which was located at 82 1/2 Sparks (i.e. I have a cabinet photo from that address.). And I am sure there were others as well. I always wondered what a studio session & subsequent prints cost in those days? As the technology became more consumer friendly, some of these photographers supplemented their dropping studio income by expanding into the business of providing the necessary equipment & supplies to the amateur -- Samuel J. Jarvis & Pittaway revived their original partnership and opened a store specifically to meet this demand. One step ahead of the curve, as it were. CHEERS, Rod __________________________________ Note: The National Archives has many of the photographs taken by William James Topley, 1845-1930, in their digital photography collection. To see what is available, enter the word "Topley" (no quotes) into their Search Engine. (see also material posted on June 20, 2003 regarding William Topley ... Al)
New November 7, 2014:
W.J.Topley, Ottawa photographer, Thanks to Taylor Kennedy for this photograph Sketch of a Photographer by Frederick H. Varley
... Al
February 16, 2003: I have one more as well - Chas. Binks, 45 Bank St. Ottawa. I don't know when or who is in the picture? I have a whole binder full of old photo's that don't belong to me - they were in my Grandmother's attic and belonged to the people who once owned the house and left them there. I would love to return them to the rightful heirs. I have one old photo taken by Pittaway & Jarvis that has "Second Quality Work" in small print at the bottom! Al -- would you like me to keep some sort of data base so everyone can narrow the dates of their photo's. I can even keep track of reference #s on the back's of photos (that I hope are in sequential order) and I think that could help people narrow the dates even further -- or even make possible connections. I have attached a copy of my sample spreadsheet and look for other ideas if you have them. ttfn Marilyn ______________________________ Hi Marilyn: Thanks for your e-mail and your offer to set up a database with dates and locations of the early photographic studios. I'll be in touch with you later today regarding your idea. ... Al
June 20, 2003: I came across your notices of Ottawa Photographers. William Topley was married to my great aunt and over his lifetime became quite a renown photographer in Ottawa. His entire collection (and numerous family photos of my Ottawa relatives) is located in the National Archives and documented on the Archives' Web site. Now, if only we can find out where his Topley descendants ended up. There is also an 1866 photograph of him in the Notman collection at McCord Museum when he was a young photographer in Montreal. Anyone looking for photos of Montrealers from 1856 onwards should check out that site. Regards Bob in Toronto E-mail racarswell@sympatico.ca
June 23, 2003: Hi, Bob. Thanks for this. As you know, Topley came to Ottawa to run the Notman Studio when it opened, late in 1867, or maybe early the following year. (It was announced as "now bulding and which will shortly be opened" in the 25 November, 1867 OTTAWA TIMES.) That studio was located at the top of Metcalfe at Wellington. Then in May 1875 he (Topley) sold the Notman studio property & moved to a temporary studio located in the "Rajotte's Block 5 doors west of his old stand." This was while a new permanent Topley studio was being built. That new studio was opened on Thursday, 23 December, 1975. In the press account printed the previous day it received a glowing review, unfortunately the actual address was not given. All of the early Topley photos in my small collection that have an address marked on them (front or back) say "104 Sparks St.", so I assume that this was the location of the new studio. He closed in 1926. Attached is a CDV version of Topley's photo of Father Tabaret, founder & President of the University Of Ottawa. CHEERS. Rod A
P.S. There was also J.G. Topley who later did photography out of a studio at 164 Rideau Street -- presumably a relative (son?).


July 21, 2003: Hi, I am collecting J.D. Wallis photographs, and I'm curious to know more about him. As well, if anyone knows whether or not his records are available - I've been to the National Archives site without success, but thought someone may know another place to look? This is a rather new hobby, so any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Fiona (Ottawa) _______________________________ also posted on July 20, 2003: Hi, Fiona. Yeah, it'd be nice to learn a little more about these guys. (By the way, I have found that there was at least one female doing studio photography in Ottawa at the same time, in that early wave of photographers -- her name was Lockwood & her studio was above Gibson's Confectionary at 15 Sparks Street. She was in business in 1874.) As for J.D. Wallis he seems to have been amongst the second wave -- i.e. not quite as early as pioneers Spencer & the Stiff brothers, but older than Pittaway & Jarvis by a few years, as the advert below indicates, . He seems to have had several locations -- mind you, they all seemed to move around quite a bit. The Wallis ones I have are listed below, plus one "oddity" which is a cabinet photo labelled "C. J. Wallis" which is either a typo, or indicates that a relative was part of the business when it was at 61 Sparks. Have you tried the Ottawa Archives incidentally? At least you could go through the city directories and nail down the basic chronology -- they have them on microfilm there, and in original form at the NAC/NLC. This is all pretty new to me as well -- but fun. Cheers, Rod
J.D. Wallis Photographer, 24 Sparks St. "Man With Beard" (CDV- card is pink) "Woman with Pamphlet" (CDV - states "Over Bazaar Store") J.D. Wallis Photographer, 56 Sparks St. "Man With Beard" (CDV) "Man With Whiskers" (CDV) J. D. Wallis Photographer, 61 Sparks St. "Woman With Chair" (CDV. size. #1678) "Woman With Hat" ("Miss McMillan/Small "Peek-a-boo Panel") "Young Man With Bowler Hat" "Young Man Seated" (Card is dark green, #1118) "Woman With Chair" ("No. 61 Sparks St." on back, #4386) "Two Gentlemen" ("Life Size A Specialty" on Back.) "Old Man With Whiskers" (Same as above, back is pink) "Man With Bowler Hat" (Brown card, #4577) "Woman With Letter" (As above in white, #4825) "Young Man" ("S" tie pin, states "Cabinet Photo") "Young Man (Same person as above? rolled frame design.) "Two Couples" ("Instantaneous Process Used Exclusively", #7859) "Old Woman" (Detail of a larger shot?) C.J. Wallis, 61 Sparks St. "Man With Topcoat And Gloves"
August 10, 2003: Hello Carrying on from the previous posts, this is just a list of all the early Ottawa photographers that I have run across. After each name & location, in square brackets the approximate dates are given (if known), and then in regular brackets is the evidence I have for listing them, i.e. mostly it'll say "(photos)" meaning that I have photos from this studio, but in some cases (where I don't actually have photos) other kinds of proof of their existence is noted. NOTE: The list is organized by street: Sparks/Bank/Rideau & Welllington/Sussex/Murray, and on each street the studio is listed in order of the street address. Some studios, as you will see were located at multiple addresses. Now, if anyone has additional information (additional names/additional locations/dates), PLEASE SEND ME THE DETAILS and I will update the list. Be sure and tell me what you have that documents this information. Personally, I'm interested primarily in studios pre WWI -- this seems to be the time frame for most of our previous posts. Okay, here we go. Best, Rod A ************************************************************************ Draft List of Early Ottawa Photo Studios Sparks Street: Miss M. L. Lockwood Gallery, 15 Sparks St. (2nd floor) [1874-1875] (1st of 3 Ottawa locations, she also had a studio in Almonte, Ontario: photos). Elihu Spencer, 24 Sparks St.[1859-1869] (Booklet, REFLECTIONS ON A CAPITAL , plus photos) Stiff Brothers (Philander & Thomas), 24 Sparks St. [1869-?] (Booklet, REFLECTIONS ON A CAPITAL) J.D. Wallis Photographer, 24 Sparks St. [1874-1875] (2nd of 3 locations, photo) Miss M. L. Lockwood, 44 Sparks St. [1875-1879] (2nd of 3 Ottawa locations: City Directory) (Philander S.) Stiff & (Charles) Gregory, 56? Sparks St. [1865-1867] (photo) Stiff Bros. (Philander & Thomas) 56? Sparks St. [1867-1869] (Booklet, REFLECTIONS ON A CAPITAL) J.D. Wallis Photographer, 56 Sparks St., [1873-1874] (1st of 3 locations: photos) Alfred G. Pittaway, 58 Sparks St. [1890-1925] (photos) J. D. Wallis Photographer, 61 Sparks St. , [1875 - 1895?] (3rd of 3 locations: photos) C.J. Wallis, 61 Sparks St. [dates?] (photo) Wood Studio, 61 Sparks St. [dates?] (photo) Lancefields Studio, 61 Sparks St. [dates?] (photo) (Samuel) Jarvis & Arless, 69 Sparks St. [1874-1875], (photos) Samuel Jarvis, 69 Sparks St. [1875], (photos) Stiff Bros. (Philander & Thomas), 78 Sparks St., [until 1875] (Booklet, REFLECTIONS ON A CAPITAL) ?? Bros., 82 1/2 Sparks St. [Name? Dates?] (photo) John Powis, 87 Sparks St. [Dates?] Topley Photo, 104 Sparks St. [Closed 1926] Thomas Stiff, 117 Sparks St. [1875-1878] (Booklet, REFLECTIONS ON A CAPITAL) J.J. Abbot, 117 Sparks St. [Dates?] (1881 Ottawa FREE PRESS advert) (Alfred George) Pittaway& (Samuel James) Jarvis , 117 Sparks St. [1882-1890] (photos) S.J. (=Samuel James) Jarvis, 117 Sparks St. [1890-1912] (photos) Topley, 132 Sparks St.[circa. 1880's] (photos) Samuel Jarvis, 140 Sparks St. [1875-1879] (photos) C. W. Parker, 140 Sparks St.[Dates?] (photos) G. E. Willis Photo, 140 Sparks St. (Ottawa Directory, 1899) (Earlier studio located in Carleton Place, Ontario: photo) Dorion & Delorme Photographers, 140 Sparks St. Stiff Bros., 141 Sparks St.[Dates?] (1875 Ottawa FREE PRESS article). Samuel Jarvis, 141 Sparks St. [1879-1892] (photos) Miss Kate Wood Studio, (above) 141 Sparks St. [Dates?] (City Directory, 1895) Panel & Ping Pong Studio, 164 Sparks St. [Dates?] (photo) Donaldson Studio, 164 Sparks St. [Dates?] (photo) Bank Street: Chas. Binks, 45 Bank St. [opened by 1895] (photos) Huber Studio, 103 Bank St. [Dates?] (photos) Snider Studio, 123 Bank St. [Dates?] (photo) Huber (Bros.) Studio, 127 Bank St. [Dates] (photos) Snider Studio, 134 Bank St. [Dates] (photos) A.S.Dickenson, 134 Bank Street, ["Successor to Snider"] (photos) Wellington & Rideau: C.B. Taggart, 198 Wellington Street, Corner Bank St. [opened 1889] (photos) J.H. Bunting & Co., Corner Bank & Wellington Sts. [opened by 1895] (photos) Notman Studio, (Wellington Street) [1867- 1875?] (photo, article Ottawa FREE PRESS, 13/5/75) Royal Studio ("Late Notman & Sons"), Wellington St. [Dates?] (photos) J.G. Topley, 164 Rideau St. [Dates?] (photos) Miss M.L. Lockwood, 386 Rideau St. [1880-1883] (3rd of 3 Ottawa locations: City Directory) Sussex: L. Belanger, 460 Sussex St. [Dates?] (photo) J.B. Dorion, 569 Sussex St. [Dates?] (photos) Murray Street: Madame Damase Leger, 10-12 Murray St. [opened 1882] (photo) (Possibly owned later by Madame Desiree Leger?) Unknown Studio Locations: Batterton, ??, Ottawa [Dates] (photo) Harry W. Sproule, ??, Ottawa [Dates?] (photos) Finley, ??, Ottawa [Dates?] (photo) ... Rod Anstee
February 9, 2004: Hello, I am a descendant of Alfred G. Pittaway and am looking for any info on him. I know he and a man named Jarvis had a photography studio in Ottawa. He died around 1935 in Ottawa. If anyone has info please me e-mail me at dhilt@frontiernet.net Thank you Deb Hiltbold
February 3, 2005: Dear Mr. Lewis, Found your site by chance while googling a distant branch of family. Because I have abt 100 old family photos 1885-1910 I decided to check them against Rod Anstee's list. I found another studio on Sussex -- Charron Studio at 460 Sussex, inscription on back gives date of Jan 5,1897. I do wish they had put the names of the subjects there too. Did anything come of the idea of a database of reference no.s etc.? My real interest is the Craig and Moxley families of Conc. II Ottawa Front, Gloucester, but as with all this stuff everything seems to expand into wider and wider circles. Regards, Al Craig
November 26, 2005: I have many old family photos from the 1800s but the oldest (based on subjects and clothing etc) seems to be one by: A. de Champlain, (on the back of cardboard is written) A. de Champlain Photographer, 89 1/2 Duke Street, Ottawa (Lebreton Flats) Have any of you run across this name before? Thanks. ... Mary Note: Mr. de Champlain was well-known as a photographer. He worked from his studio on Duke Street in LeBreton Flats for years but was burned out by the fire of 1900. Phil Jenkins has written quite a bit about him and his neighbours in his book An Acre of Time. See sample photo below, posted in June of 2010. ... Al
March 7, 2008: Thanks to David for sending in the following restored photograph taken by the Parker Studio on Sparks Street, c. 1890: Hello Allan, I'm in the middle of restoring this old photo. The embossed cardboard mount is as important to the restoration as the photo and I don't have to explain why to this group. The following photograph was taken by the Parker Studio at 140 Sparks Street. Here is the finished image. I am very certain that the shot was taken close to 1890. These are the Pell sisters. I just discovered that my great grandmother's family settled in Rockingham (Renfrew County) with John S. J. Watson (apparently the son of the Earl of Rockingham, England). They were part of a group of settlers who arrived in the Ottawa valley with Watson in 1859. My great Grandmother married into the family that had arrived from England about 45 years earlier. By the time this picture was taken they were all living in the Ottawa area. Cheers, David ____________________________ also posted on March 7, 2008: There are some references to photographic studios in Ottawa in 1893. References to photos and addresses of the buildings are available. See posting dated March 2008 at www.bytown.net/indprof.htm. ... Al
The Pell Sisters

June 23, 2008: I am trying to determine the age of an ancestral photo which is from "Fraser's Photography Gallery" located at 460 Sussex Street. Rod's Aug 10 2003 entry shows L. Belanger operating from this address, but without a date. The 1874-75 Ottawa Directory lists "Fraser's Photographic Gallery" at 104 Sussex Street and a "Fraser, Joseph Alex, photographer". Any additional information would be appreciated. Also, is this Fraser a son of John Fraser, the noted photographer/artist? Mark Cullen
June 25, 2010: In answer to Mary's post (Bytown or Bust) dated Nov 26, 2005. Today I came into possession of a photograph from A. de Champlain Photographer of 89 1/2 Duke Street, (LeBreton Flats), Ottawa. It is undated and might be of Rudolphus & Julia (Chamberlin) Morehouse / Moorehouse of Low, Quebec. Can anyone verify?
Debby Was
August 28, 2010: Barclay postcard prints sold by Simpson's Department Store, 1950's Hello, I believe I wrote to you many years ago promising a photo of the seal from Pittaway - Jarvis Ltd. Sorry for the delay :-) A bit of background: I was researching some etchings I bought signed by C. Barday and decided to investigate who framed the etchings in hopes of getting some information. I ended up finding your site, which is very int eresting. I did not gather any further info I wanted but I promised you a photo from the studio. I noticed today that there is no mention on your site of a Pittaway Jarvis studio on Elgin Street so perhaps this will make some photographer or history buff's day. If I may add a comment that may help further my research, Barday postcard prints were sold by Simpson's department stores in the 1950's. While my pieces are not postcards they were framed in Ottawa and (I am stretching here) and possibly purchased in Ottawa at Simpson's. Perhaps one of your readers might know something of this and if so may contact me at this address. All the best, Patty King E-mail: a_p@cogeco.ca
Hi Patty: Thanks for this interesting material. I remember the Simpson's Department Store in Ottawa. They were one of the first stores to distribute catalogues to households and were among the first to have trucks and provide delivery to the door. Actually, when I was about ten, I ordered (on my own, by 'phone), a pair of black motorcycle boots. My parents were not at all impressed and the boots had to go back. Sometime, probably during the early 1960's, the Simpson's chain merged with Sears, the big retail system out of Chigago, Illinois, USA. Sears had started in the 1890's and spread like Tim Horton's. At one time they were called Sears-Roebuck. In Ottawa, at first, the merged companies were called Simpson's Sears. Never did buy a pair of motorcycle boots. ... Al


October 5, 2010: Thanks to Allen Craig for this reply to Roberta regarding the early Stiff and Gregory photographic studio in Ottawa. Stiff and Gregory were in Ottawa very early on in the photographic business. Hi Roberta, The Stiff and Gregory photo dates pre 1867; the giveaway was the C. W. ie Canada West which was the name of the province of Ontario prior to Confederation. The Stiff Brothers photographers show up in the 1871 Ottawa Directory at 24 Sparks. Image here http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/001075/f4/nlc008141.0082-v6.gif Stiff and Gregory show up in the 1866-67 Counties of Carleton and Russell Directory at 56 Sparks St. Image of the ad here Stiff and Gregory, Photographers There are several additional entries for them in this same directory including their home addresses etc. here is one example. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/001075/f4/nlc008139.0119-v6.gif Iif you would like the rest let me know and I'll dig them out for you. Elihu Spencer, photographer is listed in the 1864-65 Directory here http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/001075/f4/nlc008139.0119-v6.gif The card reference is here http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/001075/f4/nlc008138.0161-v6.gif this is the earliest listing for him I could find. The latest is in the 1869-70 City of Ottawa Directory here http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/001075/f4/nlc008148.0177-v6.gif and is a real gem. Hope this helps, ... Allen Craig
See also our Art History in the Ottawa area (images from before photography)
November 14, 2010: Hi Al, I was wondering if you or one of your readers could help me date a photo that I have. The embossed photo card has the studio written as J.B. Dorin, at 569 Sussex St. Ottawa, Ontario. I think it is a photo of my maternal great great grandparents, Elizabeth Rooney (1855-1921) and Edward Hayes (1847-1924)- photo on the right, below. There is writing on the back of the photo stating it is great-great-grandfather & grandmother Hayes. But no first names are specified. So if it is not them, then perhaps it is Patrick Hayes (1822-1898) and Mary Kennedy (1825-1905). I am trying to date the photo to narrow down the guessing! I have another photo of my great grandparents, this one I'm sure of -- the picture on the left, below. It is Dennis Patrick Corkery (1868-1924) and Helena Mary Hayes (1877-1951) with my aunt Mary Stella Corkery (1897-1971). The dress Helena is wearing is her wedding dress, and since Stella is an infant, the photo was probably taken around 1897-1898. The photographer studio was S.J.Jarvis, 117 Sparks St. Ottawa. Any help on dating the photo of the older Hayes couple would be most appreciative. sincerely, Amanda Owen E-Mail
November 20, 2010: Thanks to Allen Craig for the following detective work for Amanda: Amanda, As near I can figure from the City Directories, J. B. Dorion operated his studio at 569 Sussex under his own name from 1888. He had previously been in partnership with Joseph Delorme and operated at that address and at 140 Sparks under the name Dorion & Delorme. So if you allow a year or so to clear old card stock you can make a fair estimate of when the pic was taken. Hope this helps ... Allen Craig
June 29, 2011: We have just started a new web page by Lynne Wilson: Contemporary Photography of Flora and Fauna in the Ottawa Valley. Lynne will be contributing photographs to the web site in general.
October 29, 2011: Al I was interested in your "Pittaway" photo sign and here is why Deaths (07/24/03), Ottawa Citizen PITTAWAY, Ronald F. (R.P.) World War II Veteran Peacefully, on July 22, 2003 at age 86, long-time resident of Aylmer, Quebec. Beloved husband and best friend of Betty (nee Fogarty). Dear father of Ron Pittaway (Jean), Richard Pittaway (Donna), Mary Larose (Peter), Michael Yetts (Sharon) and Paula Hines (Dal). Dearly loved, R.P. will be fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Natasha, Barbara (Troy), Amber, Avery, Jeffrey, Virginia, Tara, Brad, Dal and Shannon, and by his great-granddaughter, Alexus. Predeceased by his first wife, Barbara Kehoe. Ron was a very proud veteran of the Second World War, former Manager of Photographic Stores Ltd., and an accomplished amateur athlete, having played in the 1930s for the University of Ottawa in the Ottawa Junior City Hockey League. Ron was a long-time season ticket holder of the Ottawa Rough Riders and an original supporter of the Ottawa Senators. One of his last wishes was that he be remembered at Grey Cup time and during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Ron also asked to be remembered with smiles and laughter, for that is how he will remember his family and many friends. A private ceremony for the family and closest friends will be held at the Central Chapel of Hulse Playfair & McGarry. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Perley Hospital or the Salvation Army, both causes dear to Ron's heart, would be appreciated. Betty Fogarty is daughter of George Fogarty and Lucy Langill. George Fogarty is son of William Fogarty and Bridget Devine, and William is Thomas Fogarty's brother of Bouchette, Quebec. ... Taylor Kennedy
December 31, 2013: New Book: A History of Photography, from 1839 to the present, many editors from the George Eastman House Collection, 2012, Taschen Publishers, 2012, Los Angeles, ISBN 978-3-8365-4099-5, 770 pages.
October 20, 2014: The daguerreotype camera was invented in France in the 1830's. It was patented in England and thereafter became widely used in the colonies, including British North America.
A Daguerrotype Camera, invented in the 1830's in France

New February 23, 2015: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation begins to upload 200,000 old photographs of Old Ottawa.
E-mail Rod Anstee, Bob, Garry Owens, Ken Armstrong, Marilyn Cottrell, Fiona, Deb Hiltbold, Al Craig, Mary, Mark Cullen, Debby Was, Patty King, Amanda Owen, Taylor Kennedy and Al Lewis

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