Pure Spring Company

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The Pure Spring Company Ltd. was an Ottawa, Canada-based bottler of soft drinks. Pure Spring products included Pure Spring Ginger Ale, Minted Grape, Swiss Cream Soda, Honee Orange, Grand Slam, root beer, and Gini, a mix.[1] Its products were distributed from Alberta to the Maritimes, making Pure Spring the largest independent soft drink firm in Canada.[2]

Pure Spring Ginger Ale had the highest per capita sales of any ginger ale in North America, according to Ottawa historian Shirley Woods Jr.[3]

At its peak, Pure Spring had annual sales in the $50-million range. It had about 50 trucks, at least one of them driven by Paddy Mitchell, a legendary bank robber. According to Peter Mirsky, at one point in the 1960s and 1970s, Pure Spring was selling a larger volume of soft drinks in Eastern Ontario than Coca-Cola.[4]

It was founded by David Mirsky, who was a son of Jacob Mirsky, Ottawa’s first rabbi. Jacob, a Talmudic scholar and cantor, arrived from New York City in 1894.[5]

As a teenager, David (1890–1962) was a newsie, selling papers, magazines and snack items on the Canadian Pacific Railway's Gatineau line. David began to collect bottles and return them to Bradings Brewery, where he struck a business deal. By 1920, he was selling bottled water, drawing it from a spring at the base of Nanny Goat Hill, then added soft drinks. Pure Spring was incorporated in 1925.

David’s son, Mervin (1904-June 2010), took over the company after serving in the Canadian Forces in Europe during World War II and after a brief legal career with his twin brother, Jack.

Pure Spring opened a plant on Aberdeen Street, off Preston Street, in the heart of Ottawa’s Italian community.

The Mirsky family sold Pure Spring to Crush in the mid-1960s, though Mervin continued to run it until about 1987.

Pure Spring is credited with introducing canned soft drinks and the twist-cap to Canada.[6]

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