Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Retro Tuesday: Ogilvy's a Montreal landmark

Today in my lunch break, I took a walk and ended up on the corner of De La Montagne and Ste-Catherine street at Ogilvy's.

Ogilvy's is a unique department store. It was opened in 1866 by James A Ogilvy, it only had one counter and one clerck and was a linen shop.

It moved across the street from its present location in 1896. The construction of the present building was finished in 1912. It was declared the most modern store! One of the store's signature was their tartan; the owner being from Scotland.

This is the tartan I remember but I could be wrong....the 80's were hard! I'm sure my Dad will set me straight. Their shopping bag were of that tartan and their gift boxes too.
In 1928 a fifth floor was added including Tudor Hall, Montreal's first Music Hall. I've seen this room today and it's beautiful all in beautiful wood panelling.

Yep I was there today! Minus the chairs

All this for shoes? WOW!

Thank god the McCord museum kept archives!

I tried to find a pic of the elevator operators from my childhood but didn't find any. Those young ladies were dressed in full scotish garb, kilt, sash, the little bag with the horse hair and a little beret...oh my I'm forgetting the white gloves! They would spend all day opening the doors, operating the elevators and announcing each floor (2nd floor women's wear, lingerie and thingamaggigs). My mom would take me there often, I found it soooo exotic! My favorite counter? The sweet counter of course! They sold little candy mice made of vanilla fondant then dipped in dark chocolate. Their tails were made of twine. Oh how I loved these mice! Since I was small my eyes were just at the right level to look at them real good. It was a big drama if I didn't get a mouse!  

Another must from that store? The Christmas animated window!

Since 1947 this window has fascinated kids of all ages for the holiday season.
Progress has changed my beloved Ogilvy in deep profound and not so good ways....long gone are the candy mice, but thank the lord the christmas window remains!

Not only I learned new things for my job today, I also learned that if you visit Ogilvy's between 12 and 1pm anyday you will get to hear a real live piper!

Yep I saw this today! I bet it's the same guy....

Now Ogilvy's is a space where designers and chichi products have their counters....Louis Vuitton, MAC make-up,Chanel, Longchamp (like the handbag Crazy Suburban Mom bought...did you win the loto Tracy? Ok I know none of my beeswax) you get the pic.

I saw scented candles by Dyptique, they smell great, really. I reached to see the price and I nearly fell in the display.....

This 8oz candle was....wait for it.....wait for it......72$. I think about it and I feel faint! Yankee Candle is actually a bargain! Have a great night ;) 


grunge-queen said...

Love it - back in the day when retailing was romantic. There used to be an Ogilvy's in my hometown of Ottawa - I remember it as a tweenie but sadly it is long gone ....

Thea said...

Thanks for the great post .. if I'm ever in Montreal I'll be sure to go. I faintly remember the big downtown department stores in Washington DC. Seven floors of all sorts of stuff. This was before shopping malls and stores everywhere ...

Jenifir said...

There was still an Ogilvy's when we first moved to Ottawa in 1990 but is now long gone. I still have the decorative tins (lovely paisley pattern) I bought for the shortbread made for our first Christmas in the city. I also still have the bag that came with these shoes:(http://thoroughlymodernvintage.blogspot.com/2009/06/clicking-my-heels-to-limestone-city.html)

De tout, de rien said...

Oh things were so civilized back then! I too miss the elevator ladies. We actually didn't shop at Ogilvy's though, we shopped at Dupuis & Frères or Morgan's (predecessor to the Bay store). Ogilvy's Scottish feel was too exotic for my French family, lol!

Douce France..... said...

I like when you bring back to life the "patrimoine" ! I am from Scottish descendant and I am sure my grand mother used to shop there!
Have a nice lunch hour today,

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

OMG - that place is fabulous! And no, on the lottery :) lol, Longchamp compared to most 'desighery' bags are really less money.

I actually had some broken jewelry laying around that I hadnt fixed for years and decided to just sell it...

So no lottery, just sold some gold chains that I hadn't fixed in years so it wasn't likely I was going to get around to doing so. Also some chains were kind of questionable that they could be even fixed....so I got a purse instead!

I remember a store where there was an elevator operator and that place seemed to elegant to me!