Yaghi’s – A Century of Convenience on Fifth Ave. Ending

There is one place on Fifth Avenue that has been a fixture of the street forever: Yaghi’s Mini Mart.  Part of a dying breed of these independent convenience stores in older city neighbourhoods, this was a place where you could rely upon buying some milk, or rent a movie, or buy candy, without having to go all the way to a main street such as Bank Street.


Someone who makes a living of sketching and drawing these places is artist Colin Whyte, and you can see his take on the store here (on Flickr). Going back a little further into the past, we find an August 1980 article from the Glebe Report that talks about the person who had owned the store from 1968, Ziki Wahab:

Who was Yaghi? Still a mystery.  That willl have to wait another day, but what can be said is that in 1911-12, the city directory lists the place as a groceteria operated by Matthew Anderson and 10 years later in 1923, the directory lists Alex Masson as the owner.  Both lived above the store.

Now the news has come that Yaghi’s is closing, as the current operators of the store, who lease it from the current owner, have been told that their lease will not be renewed as of July 31st, 2012.  The owner – who also owns the parking lot and the brick building on the east side of the store – apparently wants to tear down the buildings and redevelop the property for condos. We’ll have to wait and see what exactly happens, but it will be sad to see  a century of convenience come to an end.

170 Clemow – home of a former Ottawa Mayor Frank Plant

Frank Plant (1884-1952) commissioned architect Cecil Burgess to design this house located at 170  Clemow in  1926-27.  Plant had been mayor of Ottawa from 1921-23, and was living at that time in a more modest  house on Pretoria Avenue. He was mayor again for a brief time in 1930, before quitting to look after his personal business affairs.  A few years later, he became the city council representative for the Ottawa Hydro Commission, a post he held for fifteen years.

He was responsible, among other things, for the construction of the Plant Bath (see Flickr images), on Preston Street.

170 Clemow is now the High Commission for Cameroon, and is currently undergoing some exterior renovations.

245 Clemow – A look inside a Spanish-Colonial Georgian Revival

245 Clemow was designed by noted Ottawa architect W.E. Noffke in 1927 for Herbert A. Plant, an accountant who was also the brother of Frank Plant. mayor of Ottawa in the early 1920s and then again in 1930.  Herbert lived for a time on Glebe Avenue, but in 1927 commissioned Noffke to design this Spanish Colonial Revival house with Georgian accents.  It was profiled in the July 1928 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Journal (shown above).

Herbert Plant lived here until the 1950s. This is a well-designed  house with attractive grounds.

The owner of the past 30 years showed me around the injterior a few weeks ago before the property was to be transferred to a new owner, who will do extensive renovations.  As you will see from the following set of images, there are some very nice Arts and Crafts interior finishes that hopefully will be restored.  A more detailed article about this house will be published in an upcoming issue of the Glebe Report.

Entrance to front living room, east side:

Wood details around doorways:

Dark wood door with diamond window from front living room into pantry and kitchen:

Fireplace in front living room, west side:

View up stairs to second floor library/study:

Study, with dark wood panneled ceiling, original light fixtures, built-in wall book cases, and part of fireplace:

View of second floor and ground floor from study:

Wrought-iron detail on door to second floor “morning room”:

Detail of part of second floor master bedroom:Another second floor bedroom showing original hardwood floor:

Third floor servant’s bathroom with clawfoot tub and tile floor:

The last image shows what seems to be a Noffke trademark: a billiard room and billiard table in the basement, with door leading to a safe designed by Goldie and McCulloch of Galt.  You’ll also note the basement windows, which, though now blocked up, would have originally brought natural light for those playing billiards in the daytime.