When I was growing up, our family’s groceries came home in big, sturdy paper bags. At the hardware store, strong paper bags of various sizes were available near the wooden bins for nails, or bolts with accompanying nuts and washers. After a visit to the neighbourhood candy store, my penny treats were carried up the street in a little paper bag.
The arrival of plastic bags in later years caught my attention. They were brightly coloured, soft to the touch, and could be scrunched up or folded flat in the bag drawers of the nation. In no time at all they were a normal part of household life.
More than a few were put aside for my modest collection as the art and science of graphic imaging developed. Others were added in a time capsule sense as a testament to our ever changing landscape of retail stores.
Selected here are some examples of plastic bags from stores in Almonte and Carleton Place over the years. With Ottawa so close, bags came home too from the national capital region.
Shopping in Almonte
Murray Guthrie`s recollections of the stores that once operated at 14 Mill Street are recorded with the heading “In The Beginning” at the website of the Mill Street Crepe Company. You should take a minute and read it at http://millstreetcrepecompany.com/.
When John Erskine (1897-1992) was interviewed for the Almonte Gazette in February 1987, just a few days shy of his 90th birthday, he was IGA’s oldest employee in Canada.
Stewart Lee’s hardware store occupied two floors. Toys and bicycles, our children recall, were up on the top floor. The business moved to a new building at the east end of town past the Royal Bank and Independent Grocer mall. This is the building currently occupied by Equator and Almonte Printing. The store didn’t survive long at that location.
Carleton Place Stores
Bringing Home Bags from Ottawa Area Stores
When I was working downtown in Ottawa, it was convenient at times to bring along my shopping list after a quick sandwich during lunch hour. After work, on the way home, errands could also be completed. Sometimes on a weekend, a family trip to the city was planned. Here’s a sampling of plastic bags that came home during those years. Most of those stores are no longer in operation.
Wintario was the first lottery game of the Ontario Lottery Corporation, introduced in 1975. Over its lifespan, the lottery was held across the province in community centers, high schools, theatres, and other locations as very popular televised events. Wintario draws launched plowing matches, fiddle competitions, and bi-centennial celebrations too. Although discontinued in 1996, it was brought back in 2010 as a scratch game for only 3 months.
In addition to its famous Rideau Street location, the store operated at 3 suburban malls in Ottawa. With the expansion of department store chains into Ottawa, and the tough economic climate of the 1980s, Ogilvy’s didn’t survive.