a peek inside the fishbowl

20 May, 2010

Exciting news for Westboro

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Westboro

Do you know that cute little vintage architectural lighting and design store in Westboro? It’s on Richmond Road right in the little strip between MEC and Lululemon. (Pictured here in a Google map.) 

moving out

WELL, a reliably-informed little bird told me that Milagro’s has snatched it up and will be converting it into an Irish-style pub in the very near future.

So what do you think, Westie residents? A good addition to the neighborhood?

Me: I can’t wait. 

Now if only the new mortgage broker would move out of the old Chinese Bible Church and restore it to its former grandeur as a movie house … my life would be perfect.

Word has it that Puzzles is changing over to a restaurant too, but I can’t confirm. Anyone have scoop they can share? (ETA: Please see the comments for updates.)

32 Responses to "Exciting news for Westboro"

1 | Kaitlin

May 20th, 2010 at 2:45 pm


Ugh. I can think of a handful of other, more useful and desirable purposes for that space, aside from an Irish pub. Particularly given all the other changes our neighborhood is undergoing.

I just think that our neighbourhood needs more diverse shops, rather than the same old, same old.

Maybe I would be happier about it if it weren’t Milagro taking over the space? I haven’t had a good experience there in the four times that I’ve been.

2 | andrea

May 20th, 2010 at 2:48 pm


You don’t think a really nice pub would make a good addition to the mix? It’d be more useful than say another chiropractor or optometrist or botox stand. Or heaven forbid, a coffee shop or sportswear store!! :)

3 | patti

May 20th, 2010 at 3:13 pm


Yay yay yay! This is exactly what we need!

4 | Thomas Prowse

May 20th, 2010 at 5:03 pm


While I will welcome an Irish pub within “stagger” distance, I will really miss the “cute little vintage architectural lighting and design store”.

5 | archie

May 20th, 2010 at 5:07 pm


i will miss the lighting store as well. it had a certain charm. what will happen to the business? where will i buy my cute little vintage architectural lights?

6 | lacoop

May 20th, 2010 at 5:57 pm


My prayers have been answered. All bow to Dionysus. This is sooooo long overdue.

I’m sure we can find a couple of good “lite” beers to honour the previous business. :-)

7 | Liisa

May 20th, 2010 at 7:35 pm


An Irish Pub really doesn’t excite me. I’m not against it, but can’t imagine I will go more than once or twice a year.

Plus, have to second the very mediocre opinion of Milagro… though I will still go for a salad on the patio occasionally.

Another good neighborhood restaurant or restaurant/bar with character would be welcomed. Maybe in the Puzzles space?

8 | Tatiana

May 20th, 2010 at 8:07 pm


Sigh, the architectural lighting store was one of my favourite spots :(

9 | andrea

May 20th, 2010 at 9:37 pm


I have mixed opinions about Milagro as well, but I do welcome this new addition.

I received an email tip re: the Puzzles space.

“Not sure how much info Domicile wants public but I can be an ‘anonymous but reliable little bird’ confirming that Puzzles will be closing (August, I think) and replaced by a quite swanky-looking restaurant.”

So there you have it.

Other sources tell me it’s going to be a seafood place, but I cannot confirm nor deny. :)

10 | andrea

May 20th, 2010 at 9:37 pm


Haha, lacoop, I just got your joke. :)

11 | Kaitlin

May 20th, 2010 at 10:39 pm


Hm. A seafood place might be nice, but I’d rarely go because my husband doesn’t eat fish.

I think there are less useful thngs that could go in that space, like you said a sports store or a coffee shop.

But, aside from Swiss Pastries and The Piggy Market, neither of whom make their bread in store, why not a bakery? Why not a little cheese shop or other grocery store to nicely complement what the Piggy Market has brought to the neighbourhood? Or a small independent bookstore (now I’m dreaming, I know). Or a kids’ clothing store that has independent designers? (Something like the shops on Dalhousie, only for children)?

I just don’t know if an Irish pub shows the diversity and character of our neighbourhood as well as something else might.

12 | lacoop

May 21st, 2010 at 5:32 am


Without a hint of sarcasm, I have to say an Irish pub does reflect the diversity of this area. This is the neighbourhood that kids joking refer to as “whiteboro”. It is a fairly plain jane area. Not that I wouldn’t want something groovy to make it more diverse. But in terms of reflecting the diversity, I think the Starbucks across the street from the Bridgehead says it all. But it is also reflected in the choice in cars…”shall I drive the Explorer or the Subaru?”. Or the fashion…”will I wear the Lululemon top or the MEC jacket?”. The list goes on…all pretty much upper middle class, main stream, consumer culture. We live here by choice, so obviously we have bought into this somewhat. But a bit of diversity is what we need. A pub at least holds the promise of introducing some culture…it might have some live music (like Gentle Annie’s used to provide)…new owners, are you listening…just a little floor space for a singer and a guitar :-)

13 | andrea

May 21st, 2010 at 7:14 am


Another person has stepped forward to add some info:

“Puzzles will be closing at the end of June for sure. The building will be gutted and hopefully reopened by the fall. The people who own Milagro have indeed taken over the light store and are hoping to have it opened by August/ September. The chef/ owner, Lino’s menu will be similar to the Brig in the market. He made their menu and set up their kitchen.”

14 | J.

May 21st, 2010 at 7:44 am


This just makes me love this area of town even more :)

15 | andrea

May 21st, 2010 at 8:06 am


Just walked down to the village to pick up a coffee. The store is moving to 145 Spruce Street (map)

16 | Mark

May 21st, 2010 at 8:19 am


I second Thomas’s comment about a pub within “stagger” distance. As it stands now, I drive over to Preston street for a Pint and rarely can enjoy a second one because I have to drive home. Westboro needs a good Pub with a good selection of Beer.

17 | Tiana

May 21st, 2010 at 8:43 am


The food at the Brig is really good so you can likely expect something fairly yummy!

18 | Jennifer

May 21st, 2010 at 10:00 am


Awesome!!!!!!! Can’t wait for the pub. Yeah!

19 | tz

May 21st, 2010 at 10:22 am


domicile told puzzles they could stay if they come up with $11,000 a month in rent.

i don’t like domicile, they also pulled the same stunt with the bakery that was a few doors down…

20 | Tosca

May 21st, 2010 at 11:10 am


Ugh. Honestly there are enough places in the neighborhood to have a drink if I want to go out and have a drink. I’d rather have something like a hardware store a la Home Hardware at Parkdale & Wellington, or a good independent bookstore like Collected Works.

And I’m not sure I like how Domicile works either.

21 | Binki

May 21st, 2010 at 1:13 pm


A Pub? I guess that’s not so offensive but it’s kinda boring. I’m with Tosca on the Hardware Store or Book Store. You know what would be great? A little hardware store (just the basics) that has a good gardening and book (bestsellers) section. ;-)

22 | andrea

May 21st, 2010 at 1:22 pm


Here’s the think about a hardware store. Do you think the average Westie would walk to a small hardware store, or would they rather take the car and drive a few blocks up to the giant Canadian Tire on Carling where they’ll know for certain they’ll be able to find the kind of masking tape/hinges/paint they’re looking for?

And would you want to walk home with two cans of paint? :)

You know what I’d like? A Nicastro’s. I would like a GOOD, a reasonably-priced deli/grocer/cheese shop.

23 | Binki

May 21st, 2010 at 1:33 pm


I’d go to the small hardware store. For sure. Seriously.

Hate the jumbo Cdn Tire. Remember the wee Cdn Tire on Wellington? Sigh….I miss that little place.

24 | tz

May 21st, 2010 at 2:18 pm


i don’t think a small hardware store could be profitable enough to support westboro rents. in fact, many practical stores can’t afford the rents, so we are left with ’boutique’ stores…

25 | Tosca

May 21st, 2010 at 2:24 pm


I’d walk to that hardware store too- I live just off of Island Pk and I walk to the one at Parkdale and Wellington quite often as it is- and one at Churchill & Richmond would actually be more convenient for me, making me shop there that much more. And I absolutely loathe the CT on Carling- I was a big fan of the old one on Richmond but the one on Carling I actually go out of my way to *not* shop there, it’s so awful in there. It’s all the worst things about big box shipping conveniently located in one place.

26 | Binki

May 21st, 2010 at 3:46 pm


Forgot about the craaazy rents in Westboro. I guess we’ll get what we get. It’s still nice to dream (and talk about) the perfect village.

27 | lacoop

May 21st, 2010 at 4:27 pm


What I would really like is something like the Bookshelf Cafe (http://www.bookshelf.ca/) that they have in Guelph…three stories high, with a bookstore and (great) restaurant on the main level, cinema upstairs, and then a bar and rooftop patio. How can a little town like Guelph have such a cool place (and it has been there for 20 years plus) and we have … well, not. The rents probably are part of the problem. Perhaps it is time for shops to start moving up and down Churchill where the rents will likely be cheaper.

28 | Mary

June 26th, 2010 at 3:18 pm


I would love to see a cute little Irish pub in Westboro, especially one with great food. I used to enjoy going out to the Brig in the market but really prefer to stay in my own neighbourhood rather than make the treck downtown. I love going to Whispers, and it would be great to have an alternative choice as well, within walking distance. Can’t wait for it to open:)

29 | Sarah

June 28th, 2010 at 3:35 pm


I think a pub might be a nice idea… only because it’d bring in competition and force Whispers to refresh their premises a bit. I find it a bit dingy and dirty – scared to sit in their booths sometimes. Carpet looks filthy too. The only reason it hasn’t been updated and changed because they don’t have a need to – they’re the only patio pub around the area so they’re always full.

Other than that, I would liked to see something like the Papery on Bank St. More scrapbooking paper, gift wraps or other specialty paper and crafts products. It’s too bad Wabi Sabi (yarn store) is all the way down the sketchy part of Wellington St., but I don’t imagine it’d make enough money to keep up with rent.

30 | Kaitlin

July 5th, 2010 at 2:57 pm



we have a paper store on Richmond, at Athlone. It’s called the Village Quire and it’s quite nice. I like the Papery too, but the service is never that good…

Also, the ‘sketchy’ part of Wellington is becoming rather gentrified, don’t you think?

31 | andrea

July 5th, 2010 at 3:10 pm


I second the motion re: Village Quire. The service is excellent.

32 | glggal

July 5th, 2010 at 10:51 pm


With a pub going into the lighting store (yay!) it would be great to have a nice restaurant instead of another pub-something with good food, a lounge but relaxed atmosphere.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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