Ogilvy's

Charles Ogilvy Limited, or "Ogilvy's", was a department store in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, founded in 1887. For much of the 20th century, Ogilvy's was one of Ottawa's higher-end department stores.

Charles Ogilvy (1861-1947) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and emigrated to Canada with his family in 1863. His father, James Ogilvy, established a stationery store in Ottawa, and Charles followed in the retail business by opening his own dry goods shop at 92 Rideau Street in 1887. The business prospered and moved to new premises at 126 Rideau Street in 1907. The new store was designed by Ottawa architect W.E. Noffke, and the building was expanded in 1917, 1931 and 1934. Ogilvy's was a thriving retail enterprise, famous for its "tartan boxes". The success of Ottawa's local department stores, such as Ogilvy's, Freimans, Murphy-Gamble and Caplan's discouraged the expansion of national chains (including Eaton's, Simpson's, Simpsons-Sears and The Bay) into the National Capital Region until the 1950s (Simpsons-Sears opened its Carlingwood outlet in 1955).

Over time, Ogilvy's opened a woodworking shop in Westboro and a number of small satellite stores in proximity to its Rideau Street store. In the 1960s, Ogilvy's opened a second location at the suburban Billings Bridge Plaza in south Ottawa. In later years, new suburban outlets at Lincoln Fields (in the west end) and Place d'Orléans (in the east end) were opened.

A major fire in the 1970s, followed by the expansion of national department store chains into Ottawa and the harsh economic climate of the 1980s, proved disastrous for Ogilvy's. The chain merged with the southern-Ontario Robinson's chain, and operated under the Robinson-Ogilvy banner for a number of years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Eventually, the "Ogilvy" was dropped from the store name, and the small chain became known as "Robinson's". An era in Ottawa retailing was over.

The Place d'Orléans Robinson's store was the first to close in 1992, and the closure of the remaining Ottawa locations followed soon thereafter. In 1996, the Hudson's Bay Company acquired the remaining assets of Robinson-Ogilvy Ltd, although by that time the firm had been absent from Ottawa for four years.

Ogilvy's former Rideau Street store remains, although it has been vacant for a number of years. Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2000, most of the building's Rideau and Nicholas Street façades will be preserved when the building is incorporated into a planned expansion of the downtown Rideau Centre shopping mall.