|Fate||Merged with Robinson's, liquidated 1992, assets sold to The Bay|
|Defunct||1992 as Robinson's|
Charles Ogilvy (1861-1950) 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 (top 2 floors built in 1931 and 1934 were designed by architect A.J. Hazelgrove). 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).
The store's appearance modernized in the 1940's removing the original "ribbed" bricks on the front in favor of a more "refined" look. The larger windows were removed in the 1950's and smaller ones added with granite tops.
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 fire occurred on December 29th, 1969 which caused some water damage to the main store and the collapse of a warehouse affected the store for a one week closure, 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 till early 2013, although it has been vacant for a number of years. Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2000, only the original 1907 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. In November, deconstruction was approved before a final plan was set so that another Canadian winter doesn't destroy more heritage elements
Heritage deconstruction started in December 2012 with removal of "test bays" in preparation of the facades they're going to keep and remount on the new Rideau Centre addition. As of early March 2013, partial deconstruction of the 3rd, 4th, 5th floors are underway. On Saturday, March 23, 2013, a partial building collapse temporarily halted demolition and closed streets surrounding the entire block cornered by Rideau, Nicholas and Besserer Streets. The collapse doesn't affect the 2015 rebuild of the facade as all the proper bricks being saved had already been taken down and stored offsite for the rebuilding along with the original windows and decorative pieces. Deconstruction is set to resume in the coming days.
In March 2013, the Charles Ogilvy Ltd Facebook Page was created to document the Past/Present/Future of the building and company. Its updated regularly with new photos and tidbits regarding the company. Its fan run.