A taste of Ottawa's past

As Canada celebrates chefs at the cutting edge of their craft, we remember eateries of the past.
'Government House chef Mr. Zonda putting finishing touches on the coronation coach and gate he designed [in] Ottawa' in April 1953. Government House is the official name of Rideau Hall. (Chris Lund/Library and Archives Canada)

Vancouver's Roger Ma won this past weekend's Canadian Culinary Championships in Ottawa.

The prestigious event, dubbed 'Canada's Great Kitchen Party,' celebrates homegrown chefs at the cutting edge of their craft.

Of course, Ma and the other contestants follow in the footsteps of a long line of men and women who made meals to remember, and served them in style.

Today, we remember Ottawa's eateries of yesteryear, and the culinary pioneers who made history there.

Some pre-dated the photography trend.

'Mrs. Firth's Tavern' in 1830, a detail of a larger map whose original author may be familiar. The family's tavern in the LeBreton Flats area opened in 1819 and closed in the 1860s. (John By/Library and Archives Canada)
'View of the settlement at Chaudière Falls showing the mill and tavern of Philemon Wright,' the founder of Hull, Que., now Gatineau. (Henry Robert Duvernet/Library and Archives Canada)
'Andrew's Tavern' in 1819 on the St. Lawrence River west of Brockville, Ont. (John J. Bigsby/Library and Archives Canada)

Some reflected the fashion of the time.

Bing Yee, assistant manager of Shanghai Restaurant, in February 1976. The family-owned and operated eatery opened in 1971 and is still going strong today. (Bill Grimshaw/City of Ottawa Archives | CA025619)
'A group of people at the dog derby reception at the Embassy restaurant' in 1954. A restaurant by that name used to sit at the corner of Bank and Sparks streets in downtown Ottawa. (City of Ottawa Archives | CA003155)
A family dressed to impress dines at the Green Valley restaurant in Ottawa in 1971. (Gar Lunney/Library and Archives Canada)

Some showed our changing community.

Fleet Soda Bar Restaurant on Fleet Street in LeBreton Flats in 1962. The street now runs through the middle of a condo development. (City of Ottawa Archives | CA020924)
A shot of Rideau Street near Sussex Drive in 1965. The building that includes de Mar Restaurant was demolished to build the Rideau Centre in 1979. (City of Ottawa Archives | CA018683)
A 'Victory Loan Café' next to what's now known as the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council building on Wellington Street in 1918. These cafés were part of the Victory Loan campaign to help finance the First World War. (Bytown Museum)

Where we ate and drank were sometimes as important as what we ate and drank.

The bar at the King George Hotel at 74 Metcalfe St. in Ottawa in either 1912 or 1913. The block is currently home to the World Exchange Plaza. (Library and Archives Canada)
Ottawa's Samuel de Champlain restaurant in 1979. An eatery by that same name opened in 1977 on Bate Island on the Ottawa River. (City of Ottawa Archives | CA025851)
The Shavy's Restaurant dining room in Ottawa in 1954. (City of Ottawa Archives | CA004596)
Brockville's New York Restaurant, which opened in 1930 and just closed in December, in an undated ad. (Brockville Museum)
The Brockville Museum says Wayne Gretzky, Pierre Berton and former U.S. vice-president Walter Mondale have eaten at the New York Restaurant. The distances here are marked in miles. (Brockville Museum)


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