Bridgehead Coffee

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Founded 1981
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Products coffee, tea

Bridgehead is a fair trade coffeehouse chain based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In addition to coffee and organic teas, it sells soups, salads, sandwiches and snacks made in its own kitchen.[1] In November 2006, Bridgehead was voted Ottawa’s “Best Coffee/Tea House” by readers of lifestyle weekly Ottawa XPress.[2] Bridgehead also sells coffee by mail through its website.


Bridgehead was formed in Toronto, Ontario, originally as Bridgehead Trading, in 1981, by two United Church ministers and two social activists who were concerned with small-scale coffee farmers in Nicaragua.[3]

Bridgehead was the first company to offer Canadian consumers fairly traded coffee, as a group of volunteers sold coffee from the basements of churches in Toronto. The business grew rapidly and was soon acquired by Oxfam Canada in 1984.[3]

Under Oxfam Canada, Bridgehead became a formally incorporated, for-profit company. Oxfam Canada’s aim was not to focus on the coffee that Bridgehead was funded and grew from, but to bring in a more diverse fair-trade product line. This eventually led to a decrease in profits and eventually a dip into losses.[3] A profile of Bridgehead’s post-Oxfam management in the Ottawa Citizen claimed that Oxfam Canada's Bridgehead ultimately failed in the mid-1990s due in part a “lack of sound business practices."[4]

In May of 1998, Bridgehead was acquired by Shared Interest. This U.K. based lending society held the Bridgehead name in hopes of finding a buyer. Shared Interest only needed to hold the name for a year as in 1999; an offer arrived from Tracey Clark.[3]

Clark wanted to restore Bridgehead to its former status as a fair-trade coffee and tea company. In April of 2000, Bridgehead Inc. was formed, and on June 17, 2000, the first Bridgehead Coffeehouse opened at 362 Richmond Road in Westboro, Ottawa, Ontario.[3] Clark originally relied on financing from family and friends, but by 2002, Bridgehead was owned by 30 investors.[5] Bridgehead expanded from one outlet in 2000[6] to nine by 2008,[7] and currently operates twenty outlets.[8]

June of 2012 marked the opining of Bridgehead’s own roastery, which is now where all of the coffee that is sold by the company is roasted.[9] A further development is the introduction of alcohol to Bridgeheads beverage lineup. As of September 2015, select Bridgehead locations began to offer beer from local breweries Beau’s and Beyond the Pale, as well as wine and coffee-inspired cocktails.[10]


  • 130 Anderson St. (at Preston St.)
  • 109 Bank St. (at Albert St.)
  • 366 Bank St. (at Gilmour St.)
  • 750 Bank St. (at Second Ave.)
  • 1172 Bank St. (at Grove St.)
  • 131 Beechwood Ave. (at Putman)
  • 224 Dalhousie St. (at Guigues Ave.)
  • 282 Elgin St. (at Maclaren St.)
  • 151 O'Connor St. (at Slater St.)
  • 362 Richmond Rd. (near Churchill Ave.)
  • 440 Richmond Rd. (at Golden Ave.)
  • 96 Sparks St. (at Metcalfe St.)
  • 344 Slater St. (between Kent St. and Lyon St.)
  • 1277 Wellington St. (at Caroline Ave.)
  • 1024 Wellington St. (at Fairmont)
  • 2745 Iris St. (at Greenbank St.)
  • 4025 Innes Rd. (at Jeanne D'arc)
  • 2140 Carling Ave. (at Fairlawn)
  • 1437 Ogilvie Rd. (at Bathgate)
  • 50 Rideau St. (Rideau Centre)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Coffee Houses Bridgehead website. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
  2. ^ Ottawa Xpress, 23 November 2006 (The annual "Best of Ottawa" issue)[1]
  3. ^ a b c d e "History". Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  4. ^ Chianello, Joanne (2002) “Bridgehead bounces back: Sticking to your ethics can work as long as the business plan is based on more than good intentions” in Ottawa Citizen [2] (May 4, 2002), p.H1, H4.
  5. ^ Chianello, 2002:H4
  6. ^ Cook, Gay (2000) “Bridgehead Offers Coffee with a Difference” in Ottawa Citizen (July 12, 2000)
  7. ^ "Locations" at [3]
  8. ^
  9. ^ "History". Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  10. ^ "Bridgehead to start serving liquor in September". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  11. ^ "Locations". Retrieved 2015-11-12. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°23′29″N 75°45′17″W / 45.39150°N 75.75465°W / 45.39150; -75.75465