It Still Exists – Stedman’s V&S

If you are old enough to remember back in the day Wawa had a Stedmans V&S. For years, Wawa and many other small communities enjoyed this department store’s services. The one in Wawa closed its doors about 20 years ago. Soon after that the one in Chapleau closed as well to become a Bargain Shop. I thought that they were all gone.

On a recent trip to London, Ontario, while driving through Tobermory, I was amazed to find out they still exist. On the way back we made sure to stop in. Walking through the doors, it took me back to my younger days of finding almost anything I wanted or needed at Stedmans. I bought a souvenir of the area, and talked with the sales clerk to find out that there is still a handful of stores remaining in Ontario.

The story doesn’t end there though. Having been on the road since early morning, a restroom was needed. The clerk politely pointed out they didn’t have one available for public use but directed me to a museum, a mere 30 seconds up the road. This museum was once a school house and had a restroom.

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “What does it have to do with Stedmans V&S?”

Well, the sight of this 1898 school house intrigued my wife and I, so we went in and signed the guest book. Then a voice says, “You folks are from Wawa?”. We replied, “We are.”  Then this lady, who volunteers at the museum says, “Would you happen to know Wally East?” Surprised, I replied, “Well, of course. Wally was my Boy Scout troop leader some 30 yrs ago.” She then proceeded to introduce herself. “Hi, my name is Karen, and Wally is my brother-in-law. His wife, is my sister.”

So in finding a rare gem of a store in the middle of nowhere, I found ties to our town.

Luc Berthiaume

One comment

  1. E. Jayne Griffith

    There is a Stedmans V&S a little closer to home. Thessalon has a great Stedmans store.