Quick facts

Story kiosk location

  • Corner of Parent and Murray

Important dates

  • In 1924, Jacob Rivers rented 16 Byward Market Street for his fruit & vegetables shop.


  • No

What happened here?

  • A Rivers family business has been a cornerstone of the Byward Market for the past century! First a produce stand, then a clothing store, it is one of the most recognisable store fronts in the market.

Irving Rivers once said that his store “cornered the market”. You’ll find them continuing to do so a few blocks away from here, on the corner of Byward Market Square and York Street.

In 1921 the Rivers family of Jacob, Leah and their four children arrived in Ottawa after escaping pogroms in Russia. The Rivers’ business began when Jacob began renting a stand to sell at the market, and by 1924 he was able to rent a store at 16 Byward Market.


Their business would eventually outgrow this location and they moved to a larger store at 50 Byward Market in 1924 when it was renamed J. Rivers Fruits. Following the war, in 1945 Jacob and his son Albert opened a clothing store on York Street, eventually moving to a large shop at 24 Byward Market where they were joined by Jacob’s other son Irivng.


After Jacob’s passing in 1949, Albert left the business to become an accountant while Irving became the sole proprietor of the store, eventually being dubbed “Mr. Market”. The Irving Rivers clothing store is still in business today at the same address, and is one of the most recognizable storefronts in the market.


Acknowledgements: This story was researched by Carleton public history MA student, Meranda Gallupe-Paton.