Renfrew – More than 100 family members, friends and business associates of the late Ian Scott gathered at the Renfrew Curling Club Saturday to throw curling stones or yell out one last ‘hurry hard’ during a Celebration of Life in honour of the man who carried on the 100-year-old legacy of one of downtown Renfrew’s oldest businesses.
It may be hard to find any longtime residents who not only bought a pair of shoes or boots from Scott’s Shoe Store but also shared a laugh outside with the man who was rarely seen without a smile, but carried the multi-generational family store through good times and bad.
Hosted by the Scott family, it was a gathering where it was next to impossible to find any tears but instead the afternoon tribute was filled with laughter, amusing stories about the successful businessman and one or two toasts in his honour.
The jubilant atmosphere was exactly what Dr. Lauren Scott, his daughter who, along with her brother, Nathan Scott, were hoping would transpire.
“This is exactly what my dad would have wanted,” she said as she was heading on to the ice surface to play a game in his honour. “My dad loved to have fun and this is perfect. Even though he found fun in many sports, he was a very serious competitor who always worked hard to perfect his game. Whether it was curling, skiing or golf, he was all about trying to win the match until it was over. Then he was all about enjoying his time with whoever he was playing with that day.
“That is why we put on our curling shoes or sliders and went on the ice. I thought it might be hard to get out there, but once on the ice, there was nothing but laughter and good fun for all. But I must admit, I am like my dad when it comes to being competitive, but that was furthest from my mind as all started curling.”
Dr. Scott said when the time came to choose a venue for her father’s tribute, a couple of locations came to mind, but in the end, they realized the curling club was the best suited.
“Dating back to his high school days, my dad was either in the store or involved with the curling club in one way or another,” she said. “Whether he was playing a match with longtime friends or volunteering at the club, curling was a major part of his life. And today we will honour him by curling to remember him”
As several guests entered the club, they took the stairs to the second floor and many stopped to look at a framed photo on the wall. They saw four young Renfrew Collegiate Institute (RCI) students posing with the Ontario Schoolboy Curling Champions trophy they brought home to Renfrew.
The year was 1969 and standing alongside George Cox, Andy Fraser and Dick Lamourie, a smiling, yet serious 16-year old Ian Scott was part of a team that not only brought home the hardware, but were amazed at the reception waiting for them.
As Norm Bujold, a longtime friend and fellow RCI champion when he brought home several provincial and national wrestling championships recalled, the four young curlers were hometown heroes.
“They brought home that trophy to a giant parade through the downtown and it was something that was a one-in-a-lifetime event,” he said. “The streets were lined up for the four lads from Renfrew who were the best in all of Ontario. Not too bad for small town lads.”
Mr. Bujold recalled when he and Mr. Scott attended Algonquin College in Ottawa following their time at RCI.
“We were young lads off to Ottawa to get our diplomas and just like curling, Ian took it very seriously,” he said. “But we also had fun once in a while and enjoyed our time. But Ian knew he was there to learn about business and he came back home to Renfrew to help run the family shoe store and it was hard not to go downtown on any given day and not see him outside. I had my business across the street for many years and he was always busy.”
Four Generations Of Scotts
Mr. Scott was only six years old at the time of his father’s (Stewart) untimely death in 1960. His mother (Frances Scott Lockwood) took over running the family store until her retirement in 1978. Mr. Scott worked at the family store as a teenager before he left for high school and returned from college and eventually took over the store in 1978 until his retirement a couple of years ago.
It truly was a family venture as Mr. Scott and his present wife, Jane Galbraith, mentored not only their own children in the family business, but countless teenagers learned the importance of customer service over the years.
Their son, Nathan, worked away from Renfrew for a few years but returned home to take over the operations when his parents retired. Like her brother, Dr. Scott learned a thing or two about the business when she started working there at age 12.
“You could say shoes are part of being a Scott,” she joked. “I worked there all through high school and when I came home in the summer from Queen’s University. After receiving my Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, I returned and worked there until Lucas (her husband, Dr. Lucas Regier and co-owner of Renfrew Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Centre) and I had all the paperwork completed to open our business.”
She said nobody expects her brother Nathan to fill her dad’s shoes, but he will continue to serve the people of Renfrew and area with the same professionalism their parents instilled in them and treat their patrons not only as customers, but as friends and neighbours.
“He will be the fourth generation of Scotts in downtown Renfrew and when you think about that, it in itself is pretty amazing,” she said. “Just like my dad and his dad before him, Nathan and the staff will continue the genuine small-town tradition that has made the business last more than 100 years (est. 1895).”
There was one thing all the guests who filled the curling club on Saturday would agree on. Ian Scott was having a great time too as he looked down from above with his signature smile.
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader