Leaside’s first general store – pop and ice cream, anyone?

Red Mulberry Building

Although there was very little development in Leaside during WWI, things began to pick up in the early 1920s when Canada Wire resumed building homes for its employees, according to local historian John Naulls.

“There was other industrial activity, too, with the Durant Motors factory opening in 1921 and the completion of the CNR yards on Laird Drive,” Naulls added.

But there was also news on the retail front.

“When Mrs. Perrem heard the news that 100 homes were planned, she bought a lot at McRae and Sutherland Drives on May 30, 1922 with the idea of selling ice cream and soft drinks during the summer months,” he said.

“That winter she joined forces with Mr. Knight, and in 1923 the store, known as Perrem & Knight at 322 Sutherland Drive, became the first general store in Leaside. The building remains today.”

On August 16, 1923, two separate applications were received by council for building permits to erect stores on McRae and Laird drives.

Perrem and Knight and John Osmond were each granted permits to build.

“Perrem and Knight, for whatever reasons, was credited as being the first store in Leaside, in 1923. I believe that Osmond’s was the second,” said Naulls.

In August of 1925, Perrem and Knight went into the gas station business, by installing a gas tank and a pump. In the beginning, the grade was too steep and under icy conditions cars would slide into the street. The police department was advised not to fill their tanks at Perrem and Knight during the winter.

It is stated that Perrem and Knight’s grocery store existed until 1947 when it became the town’s post office.

Today, both stores remain. Mr. Osmond’s store is now known as Olde Yorke Fish and Chips, at the corner of Lea and Laird Drive.

The Perrem & Knight property is still a storefront, but the business, Red Mulberry health store, closed last year.

About Ken Mallett 40 Articles
Ken Mallett has spent his entire working career of 30 + years as a newspaper reporter and television news writer/producer. He worked for ten years as a foreign correspondent in London England for the Sydney (Australia) Morning herald and Toronto Star before moving into television news as a writer/producer for the CBC and later Director of News and Current Affairs for Global Television. He is a regular contributor to Leaside Life.