Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Neighbourhood Improvement?

Bronson and Gladstone

Here in the Centretown neighbhourhood that many of us still think of as Dalhousie Ward, there are a number of signs that we are not in the Glebe. In addition to the houses being smaller and closer to the sidewalks and all the autobody shops, there's the pawn shop, the Money Mart, and the sex-trade workers. But a strange thing is happening -- some of these signs are going away.

Last summer, the Blue Moon porno store next to the Money Mart closed down and Dolmades Greek Delights opened in its place.

My energetic neighbour Pam finally had enough of the johns cruising the neighbourhood and started campaigning to make the neighbourhood safer. [Centretown News Story] I can tell you that if you're looking for a sex trade worker, there is no point cruising our corner any more. Word seems to be out. (On the other hand, over at Bell and Gladstone, there still seems to be a high likelihood of finding a woman looking for a "party".)

50% Off Everything Must Go!

A few years after I moved here, the Invicta war memorabilia store turned into the Pawn-Da-Rosa. Today it has signs in the window that say "50% Off Everything Must Go!" and a big "For Sale" sign on the building. They're selling CDs for a dollar each. (There's a Shania Twain on the shelf, if you're interested.)

I'm eager to see what will go in there after the sale. [Tip for entrepreneurs: There's no Starbucks, Second Cup or any coffee joint for blocks and blocks!]

Okay, Dave, you're thinking, porno, prostitutes and pawn shops are on the decline, but you've still got the Money Mart bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood.

Yes, you're right, but maybe not for long. Last week the Supreme Court denied leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision to prevent MoneyMart from shutting down the Ontario class action lawsuit against them for charging criminal interest rates on their "PayDay" loans. [Toronto Star article here] If the class gets certified and they lose, could they go out of business? I don't know, but maybe, right? [Tip for entrepreneurs: Bronson and Gladstone would be a great corner for a fruit market!]

Of course, I shouldn't be so cheery about all this. If I ever do get burglarized, I'll have to go further to find the pawn shop with my cds and TV set. The people who can't get payday loans will go to loan sharks. And the johns? Maybe we're stuck with them, but I'd like to see them get a visit from the police every time they hit on a woman who is not a sex-trade worker. Maybe even a law that has them lose their drivers licence for a month for street solicitation.


Anonymous said...

Well that explains the sudden influx of sex-trade workers into my neighbourhood, which borders on yours! (Tell Pam thanks a lot for me.)

I'm totally with you on the coffee shop thing. I have long bemoaned the total absence of any good (or even not-so-good) coffee shops anywhere within reasonable walking distance.

Didn't there used to be a violin shop where the Money Mart is now? And after that, a Public Optical or something? A fruit market would be good there, or maybe a used book store or an antique shop.

David Scrimshaw said...

A violin shop? It was a Public Optical when I moved to Ottawa in '86. I got me a pair of glasses with nice big blue frames there. They were great for shooting pool.

And, Zoom, what a great entrepreneurial idea: a used book store with a café that sells fresh fruit and you sit at antique furniture that's for sale!

And while we're at it, let's make it an art gallery too!

Anonymous said...

We could explode the myth that nothing can be all things to all people! We could call it Cafe Everything.

S said...

From someone currently living in the Glebe, you're welcome to one of the 4 specialty coffee shops within a brief jaunt of my place. I don't need them all. If only they were easy to move.

Now, there is a nice espresso place on Lebreton at Willow is there not? Kind of a corner store/authentic Italian coffee place with a few seats. I thought their latte was pretty good last time I was there.

David Scrimshaw said...

The Pho 99 is at Lebreton and Willow. The #52 (Coffee with condensed milk) is mighty tasty.

I'm guessing you mean the corner store/authentic Italian coffee place with a few seats on Booth.

I've always felt like I'd be intruding on the regular customers if I hung out there.

zoom said...

I haven't been in there myself, however one of my neighbours said they serve excellent coffee but she felt awkward there. All the regulars (older Italian men) stared at her and she felt maybe non-Italian non-males were non-welcome.

S said...

Yes thank you for the address correction. Yes I do mean the Italian place. As a woman, I have felt like I was entering a somewhat foreign territory. But everyone was nice, and the server/barista (to use perhaps a Starbuckism, or is "barista" real Italian?) was a woman too each time I went. I even stood outside sipping with a non Italian male companion.

Still, there is a lack of seating if I recall correctly. There might be a few chairs.

I recommend this place should be tried out by a wider public.

Jennifer Jane Whiteford said...

while waiting for the bus on Wednesday night at Somerset and Booth I was cautiously solicited by no less than three men. Each of them had the same M.O.: cruising slowly by me with their window down, staring. When I gave them each my customary angry "WHAT?!" they sped away. What I wanted to yell was, "I'm wearing GLASSES! And a TRENCH COAT! I'm so not a hooker!" Apparently the nookie business is moving north.


David Scrimshaw said...

Glasses and a trench coat don't really set you apart. But pretty and healthy-looking does. I'm surprised they didn't make you for an undercover cop.

Anonymous said...

good riddamce to pawn-da-rosa. the last (and possibly only time) i stepped in there, the guy working was smoking and there was definitely Nazi SS material on the walls.

David Scrimshaw said...

The Pawn-da-rosa people probably weren't Nazi supporters.

Before it was a pawn shop it had been a war memorabilia store (Invicta) and they still have WWII stock from both sides of the conflict.

Anonymous said...

Hey David,

Has the pawn shop closed down now for good? I was trying to get ahold of that owner and now the number he gave me isn't working.. Go figure.

Anywho I hope you all in that area get some sort of Cafe/Fruite market/Antique store of some kind there now.

David Scrimshaw said...

Hi Amy,

I hope he doesn't owe you a lot of money.

So far the space is still empty, but we can still hope for something nice in there.

Anonymous said...

haha. No he doesnt owe me any money.

You make this guy sound like one of those shify characters.. lol

Anywho, thanks for the info.

Have a good one!

Anonymous said...

You have no idea about the Pawn.Da.Rosa....
David was absoulutley right about the owner not being a supporter of Hitler or any other nazi, socialist, or terroist regime.
Mr. Perkins was an indian immigrant that moved here at a young age and worked very hard and put up with a great deal of discrimination (from ignorant people such as Paul). As David said, the pawn shop was a war memorbillia store when Mr. Perkins took ownership. The left over surplus was included with the sale of the building.
Also... Mr.Perkins work and persistance, in making that corner and whole community a better and safer place with lighting, video survalence (not on or on that store, on the surrounding areas) A very good relationship and constant communication with the Ottawa Police Department.
David...As far your little pipe dream of someone breaking into your shallow ignorant world and stealing your Shania Twain CDs and broken ol' black and white TV, the Pawn shops in Ontario must now have a police run program and everything that goes or comes through the doors of a pwan shop must be held for a certain time and run through a Canadian wide database for stolen items.....i have already wasted to much of my time trying to let you people know that your rash judgement or actual out right racism is very uncalled for and just shows societies socialist trends.....
Paul.. I am more than likley the guy that was having a cigarette selling the Nazi memorbiallia.
Mr. Perkins was a good and dear friend and has passed away..
And yes the Pawn*Da*Rosa is closed for good, and has been sold.
I wish you all the best in your quest for a starbucks/furniture/fruit/book store., you can drive your big ol suv driving, tree hugging, starbucks drinking sorry ass right over there and support your own little dream world.
One last piece of info, until just recently "Brother's" on the corner of Bell/Gladstone made one of the best breakfasts in Ottawa had and great coffee.

Anonymous said...


David Scrimshaw said...

Yes, Anonymous, pwn'd indeed.

Mr. B, thank you for the background info on Mr. Perkins and for pointing out the uninformed speculation I wrote about pawn shops.

For the record, I love shopping in pawn shops and do not own a sport utility vehicle. I think I have a Shania Twain cd, but I never listen to it. Maybe I should sell it.

Anonymous said...

sell it to a pawn shop Dave lol