Ogilvy's piper tradition ends after 72 years
Published Wednesday, September 27, 2017 2:02PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 29, 2017 9:00AM EDT
A time-worn tradition at Ogilvy's has come to an end, as the department store's bagpipers played their final concert.
Every lunch hour for 72 years, pipers have made a slow voyage down the store's stairs and escalators.
That came to an end on Wednesday with the final procession.
Holt Renfrew, Ogilvy’s parent company, declined to give an interview about the matter, but said in a statement:
“After careful consideration, the decision was made to discontinue lunchtime concerts by the Ogilvy piper as we work to bring Holt Refrew and Ogilvy together. We will continue to establish new traditions and events that are inspired by both brands and honour Montreal’s rich fashion heritage.”
The decision to end the tradition in favour of starting something new is not yet being appreciated.
"I feel it's a disservice to the community. It's part of tradition," said Sheldon Merstein.
The Pittsburgh resident visits Montreal often, and has always enjoyed hearing the bagpipes.
He made a point of being in Montreal for the final performance.
"Traditions are dying today and that's a negative thing," said Merstein.
Others attending the final show said they had often come to Ogilvy's solely to hear the bagpipers.
"I used to work downtown and come over to listen to the piper at lunchtime and do some shopping," said Diane Brown. "It's so really sad that it's not going to be around anymore."
Tim Mundy, who played the bagpipes at Ogilvy's for two decades, drove in from Ottawa to catch the performance.
"It was short, but I'm happy I saw it," said Mundy.
Bagpiper Jeff McCarthy, who has been performing at Ogilvy's for 24 years, was told about his layoff several months ago.
"It was really something else to be there and be there 'til the very end. It was great,' said McCarthy..
Ogilvy's refused to allow CTV to film the final performance, but many people filmed it themselves.
Danny Doyle of the United Irish Societies was among those wondering what other traditions would come to an end with the merger of Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy's.
"What's next? Is the Christmas window going to disappear next?" he wondered.