Our Stamp Store Is Closed

I was attending the Washington 2006 International Stamp Exhibition when we received notice that we were to be expropriated from 112 Sparks Street to clear the building for planned renovations. After several months of active looking, the choice came down to a slightly smaller store with a similar rent on Bank Street or the large and potentially grand building at 62 Sparks with a huge rent.

Custom built as the Ottawa headquarters of the Imperial Bank of Canada, the building had been vacant for over a decade. But with over 6000 square feet, marble floors, ornate plaster, and a ceiling over 30 feet high, one could imagine that with restoration it would be a showcase for philately. I arranged a meeting to discuss the possibility of leasing the building.

My opening remarks were that I would love to lease the building and see it restored but that I had no money for restorations and couldn’t afford the rent. After an amiable discussion the elements were put together in less than an hour. The narrative of eight wonderful years can await, but a memory of the last week is fresh. And my sore muscles tell me to rest and lift only my fingers to the keyboard.

September 30th -- Almost all packed

The Store on September 30th — Almost all packed

The last day we were open was Saturday the 27th. The previous week we had moved all of British North America Philatelic Society Book Department, most of Sparks Auctions fixtures etc., and most of my reference library to their new location of Suite 202, 1550 Carling Ave. During the week we continued to empty the store, including several cubic yards of old auction catalogues. Customers kept us busy all of August and September (thank you, thank you, thank you) leaving what I thought was enough time to clean out the store during the last three days of September.

During those three days, six of us — plus a collector with a strong back and large truck — moved much of the fixtures, and packed most of the contents of the store. About 100 cartons was delivered to Sparks, and over 150 cartons were picked up for moving to Victoria. The landlord was apprised we would still be packing Wednesday but hoped to finish that day. Thursday the last of the philatelic contents were delivered to the movers; and Friday the last of the fixtures.

Elizabeth and I look forward to a fairly leisurely drive across Canada and to the next chapter of our lives in ice-free Victoria. And I will have over 150 cartons to organize, sort and price.

You will be hearing from me!

-Ian Kimmerly,
October 4, 2014


  1. Some other friendly wishes from correspondents:

    Good luck with the future in BC!

    Best wishes,

    -Isle of Man

    Congratulations, Ian. But I am sad that you’ll be gone. Visiting your shop always made my trips to Ottawa much more enjoyable.

    Best wishes,
    -Edmonton, Alberta

    Good luck Ian, and I look forward to dealing with you again in the future.

    -Stouffville, ON

    Many thanks for the many years of good information regarding your business and great help from your employee whose name begins with a “B” who helped me many times over the counter and by mail!

    Enjoy your trip across Canada to the warmer parts before the snow gets too deep!

    A former purchaser from Kingston.

    -Kingston, Ontario

    My dear Mr Kimmerly,

    Let me wish you an easy move and a good retirement, if that’s what this move means. On the other hand, if it’s a new shop and continuing life as a dealer, then good luck with that as well. Many years ago, I was in a cabin on Friday Harbour, Wash., on a short holiday. The cabin was equipped with a powerful telescope. We could look across the bay and see into office buildings in downtown Victoria, and see the lighthouse flying the Canadian flag as well. It looked absolutely lovely, so I’m very happy that you and your family will find a nice place to live in the coming years. Over the years, I’ve picked up some excellent material from you and I thank you for that, and for the decent prices you’ve always offered collectors. Perhaps we will run into each other some day at a stamp show.

    To add a personal touch, I was elected to membership in the Royal Philatelic Society of London last year. Friends in the Collectors Club New York, and the Royal sponsored me, so it’s to their credit rather than any great accomplishment of mine! Nevertheless, this is an honour for me, and very useful as a British Empire collector. To cite one example, I have a gorgeous set of the slip-cased six-volume De La Rue Collection printed-to-order edition put out by the Royal last year – a great addition to my philatelic library. Too, one gets discounts on all their publications.

    I just wanted to send you a personal thanks, and wish you godspeed on your new journey.

    Kind regards,

    -Stevens Point, WI

    Hi Ian. Congratulations ! Hope to see you in Victoria in Jan.

    -Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    Ian and Elizabeth, Best of Luck in the next chapter of your lives.

    Safe Journey,
    -Vancouver, British Columbia

    Good Luck Ian
    I have lived in Ottawa for the last 36 years and you have been a “go to” for me most of that time.

    -Ottawa, Ontario

    • Abdul .R.Rana on October 8, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Hello kimmerly and Elizabeth
    Wish you good luck and future in your life.
    Our eyes are filled with tears.come again to Ottawa and rent or lease a new shop.
    Abdul.R.Rana and family.
    613 265 7514 Ottawa

    • Kevin O'Reilly on October 19, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Ian and Staff

    Many thanks for your years of service to philately, not just in Ottawa but around the world with your auctions, website, BNAPS book sales, and wonderful library. My trips to Ottawa will not be the same.

    Kevin O’Reilly
    Yellowknife Northwest Territories

Comments have been disabled.