After 70 years in business, one of the last family-owned automotive garages in the Ottawa Valley has serviced its last vehicle.
Opened in 1953, Friday marked the last day at the O’Grady Brothers garage.
Current owners Pat and Helen O’Grady took over in 1998. Following a fire in 2007, the building was rebuilt with a flower and gift shop added in 2008.
“We’ve had customers in this week who said they’re going to really miss [Pat] because he was the most honest mechanic they ever had,” Helen said.
For the past 25 years, Pat O’Grady and his brother Jim have been the only mechanics servicing vehicles at the shop. In a week’s worth of work, they reckon they would get under the hoods of up to 100 cars.
“One was better at one thing than the other so it was a good combination,” Jim O’Grady said.
“They would come from all across the valley,” Pat said of his customer base.
“We got people coming up from Toronto that would get work done. They call us and they are on holidays, they come up. They want their work done.”
Pat and Helen O’Grady stand outside O’Grady Brothers Garage and O’Gradys Flowers and Gifts in Eganville. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)
After being rebuilt once already, the garage is now set for a third life, as the County of Renfrew has purchased the building with plans to renovate it into a new paramedics’ hub and ambulance bay.
“It’s a place that we can have along the Highway 60 corridor to further enhance services along this portion of the county,” said Dave Libby, acting deputy chief of operations for the Renfrew County Paramedic Service.
Currently, paramedics share a truck bay with the firefighters in Eganville. The service hopes to move into O’Grady’s by next spring.
Libby says the additional space at the garage will allow for expanded paramedic services.
“Currently, we have two vehicles that are stationed in Eganville at a different facility but with the expansion here we’d have the room to have an additional ambulance here, and also be able to have our community paramedics start out at the base here.”
Libby adds that no additional ambulances would be purchased, but rather a reserve vehicle would be introduced into the full-time fleet.
“I’m pretty happy with what we’re doing because we know it’s going to be a project for the community that’s needed,” Pat told CTV News.
“But right now, all the customers are coming in and out, and it’s kind of tough.”
Those customers stopped in on Friday to bid farewell to their long-time mechanic and wish the O’Grady’s a happy retirement.
“It’s going to be a big loss for the community and for us for sure,” said Megan and Kevin McGrath, who have been coming to O’Grady’s for more than 30 years.
The big question for them and many other Eganville drivers though is where will they get their car serviced?
“That’s a good question, we’re going to have to look into it.”
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