It’s not by chance that J.T. Bradley’s Country Convenience Store is located in the heart of Navan. Since 1898 it has functioned as both food provider and community centre to five generations of Navan residents. Although the store has gone through some changes over the course of time, the basic tenets of being a hub for the community remain to this day. This is a brief look back at the history of the store.
The Bradley family has been fortunate in receiving excellent support since it arrived here in 1898 and for that reason it will be forever indebted to the Navan community. Tragedy struck the Bradley business in August 1948 when the store and principal home burned to the ground. Reconstruction began immediately and the new building opened for business in January 1949.
John Thomas Bradley, the founder of J.T. Bradley & Sons Ltd. was born in Blackburn Hamlet, Ontario in 1869. He moved to Navan in 1898 with his wife Florence to open up a general store in that community and to raise a family of 6. He also owned and operated a milk transport which remained in the family until the late 1970s. John Thomas Bradley died suddenly in September, 1932. Two of his sons, Morris Smyth and William Borden carried on the business until Borden’s death in 1952 and Morris’ death in 1975.
Morris was a charter member of the Navan Lions Club and a huge supporter of all community activities throughout his lifetime. His wife Elda was a tireless worker of the Navan Women’s Institute, the Navan Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society, particularly during World War 2, and a proud and faithful member of the Ottawa Women’s Canadian Club for many years. They raised a family of 3, Lorne, Ross and Marilyn.
Lorne Bradley, oldest son of Morris and Elda, carried on with J.T. Bradley & Sons Ltd. Lorne and his wife Joyce had four daughters, Joy, Lorna Jane, Wendy and Kathleen. Lorne founded M.L. Bradley Ltd. in 1965, a school bus company which today has 70 plus buses on the road and is now managed by Lorne’s son-in-law Gord Both, and his wife Kathleen. The headquarters of M.L. Bradley Ltd. on Frank Kenny Road was used for offices and meeting rooms by the local committee of The International Plowing Match 2001. Lorne was President of J.T. Bradley & Sons Ltd. from 1975 to 1991. He was a charter member of the Navan Lions Club (1952) and a staunch supporter of all community activities, mainly the building of the first Navan Arena in 1952, its rebuilding in 1955 and the installation of artificial ice in 1972 and the construction of the third Arena in 1982. He was President of the Navan Curling Club the year it opened its brand new facility in 1991. Lorne died in December, 1991.
Ross Bradley, second son of Morris and Elda had his entire working career at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, from 1954 to 1989. Ross was elected to the Cumberland Township Public School Board for the period 1965 to 1968. This was during the period when Meadowview School in Navan and Riverview School in Cumberland Village were built and the sod was turned for Queenswood Public School in Orleans. He has been a member of the Navan Lions Club since 1960 and was instrumental in having the Navan Tennis Club come on the Navan scene in 1976.
Ross was a driving force in the formation of the Navan Curling club in 1984 and in seeing its construction become a reality in 1991. He continues to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Curling Club. Today Ross can be seen at Bradley’s store almost every day of the week as he goes about many of the behind the scene’s activities there. Ross and Gwen raised a family of four. Their oldest daughter Carol works with the Treasury Board in Ottawa. Their second daughter Heather is employed in the Speaker’s Office of the House of Commons. Their oldest son, Don works in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley, California, while John is at the store in Navan. Marilyn, daughter of Morris and Elda, was owner of Winchester Tours and Travel in Winchester, Ontario. Marilyn has two sons. Bradley lives in British Columbia and Ken lives in Russell. She has recently sold her business in Winchester and lives in Russell.
John Thomas Bradley is the great-grandson of the founder of J.T. Bradley & Sons Ltd. and son of Ross and Gwen. He along with his wife Linda are the present owners of J.T. Bradley’s Country Convenience Inc. and have been since 1994. John worked in marketing and sales for J.M. Schneider Ltd. for 7years prior to coming to the Navan store. John was very active in the preparation of the bid to bring the International Plowing Match to Navan in 2001. He was the prime organizer for the Street Dances in Navan (1999-2001). From these events he was able to turn over almost $60,000 to the organizing committee of the International Plowing Match 2001. Most recently, Streetdance 2005 and Chicken BBQ raised more than $25,000 for the OutCare Foundation, the Navan Fairboard and the Navan Lion’s Club. To date, the Street dances in total have raised over $100,000. John is past Chair of the OutCare Foundation.