Canada Book Company, 1896-2004

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Canada Book Company, 1896-2004

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In late 1896, Robert Martin and Peter Lamont, both of Regina, North-West Territories, merged their businesses and established the Martin and Lamont Company Limited. Robert Martin was proprietor of a drugstore and Mayor of Regina in 1894; Peter Lamont ran a book and stationery store. David Young, a journalist from Calgary, was a minority shareholder. The Martin and Lamont Company Limited store was located at 1925 South Railway Street, across from Union Station. The Martin and Lamont Company Limited was one of the oldest chartered businesses in Saskatchewan.

Martin and Lamont, along with drugstore owner William G. Pettingell and stationery store owner Charles H. Black, amalgamated their businesses into the Canada Drug & Book Co. Ltd. which was incorporated on November 30, 1896. The new store was located at the former Martin and Lamont Company Limited site. In addition to being a drug and book store, it also sold crockery, glassware and fancy goods.

Peter Lamont moved to Nelson, British Columbia soon after the amalgamated business opened. There, he established a branch of Canada Drug & Book Co. Ltd. and another in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Charles Black moved away from Regina around 1899. William Pettingell remained with Canada Drug & Book Co. Ltd. until c. 1904 when he opened the Pettingell and Van Valkenburg drugstore, located in the same block of South Railway Street as Canada Drug & Book.

Robert Martin was left as the sole proprietor of the Regina operation of the Canada Drug & Book Company. He also served another term as Mayor of Regina from 1913 to 1914. The store's location changed twice: in 1921-22 to 1873 Scarth Street and in 1932-33 to 1849 Scarth Street. Robert Martin retired as manager of the Canada Drug & Book Co. Ltd. in 1937.

Martin's successor was Jack H. Dougherty. It was around this time also that the store's location moved to 1861 Scarth Street. Cyril Blackham, a pharmacist who had previously worked at other drugstores in Regina, joined Canada Drug & Book. Blackham and Dougherty continued to operate the business until 1948 when the estate of Robert Martin (who died in 1942) sold the business to John Bushell, a pharmacist.

John Bushell owned and managed the Canada Drug & Book Co. Ltd., and Cyril Blackham continued on staff. Blackham remained at the store until 1955 when he left to manage Charlie Reid Drugs in Regina.

Bushell operated Canada Drug & Book with some assistance from his family members, particularly his son Barry who as a boy would sweep the store's floor and take mail to the post office. Barry Bushell continued to work at the store through his youth, and in 1979, became a shareholder and partner in the business. In the early 1980s, the pharmacy portion of the business ceased operation. The business name was shortened to Canada Book Company to reflect this change. John Bushell was actively involved in the operation of the business until two months prior to his death in 1993.

Barry Bushell continued as proprietor of the Canada Book Company and was active in the Regina's Market Square business community, and in the redevelopment of the Scarth Street pedestrian mall (later the Frederick W. Hill Mall.) The Canada Book Company ceased operation on December 31, 2004 when Barry Bushell retired due to ill health. Bushell died on May 24, 2005.

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