A friendly face from the past: Kel Kincaid of the Madoc IGA

Kel Kincaid in the Toronto Star

Longtime readers might remember that I’ve been known to reminisce about Kincaid Bros. IGA in Madoc. Back when I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and ’70s at the Manse here in the hamlet of Queensborough, Madoc was “town” – the big place. And Kincaid Bros. was a great big shiny modern supermarket compared to Queensborough’s two old-fashioned general stores – Bobbie’s and McMurray’s – where we bought most of our groceries, our gasoline, and lots of other stuff, ranging from penny candy to rubber boots.

Because my mum, Lorna Sedgwick, taught for many years at Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc, she did do a fair bit of shopping at Kincaid Bros. At the end of a long day of teaching, that’s where she’d stop in for wieners and beans or hamburger and the other essentials (remember the tasteless tomatoes from Mexico, the only tomatoes you could get in those days when it wasn’t August, that came three to a pack in a green cardboard base covered with Saran Wrap?) that she needed to make supper when she got back home to the Manse. (Because, you know, despite the fact that she taught full-time and had four small kids to deal with, of course it was her job to make dinner. Always. Those were the days, my friend.)

These days, when I go into the wondrous Hidden Goldmine Bakery in Madoc, which is housed in the building where Kincaid Bros. IGA was, I am stunned to think that the same relatively modest space housed what we thought of as a big supermarket – complete with aisles and a meat counter and a produce counter and checkout counters with a bunch of cashiers. But hey, everything was smaller and more modest back then. And I am not at all sure that that was a bad thing.

Anyway: the face of Kincaid Bros. in my memory (and, I think, in the memory of many other people) was Kel (short for Kelvin) Kincaid, who always seemed to be front and centre in the store with a friendly smile and a helpful presence. In a post here, I lamented the fact that the painted plywood figure of a grandfatherly grocer who looked a lot like Kel Kincaid was no longer adorning the side of the building where Hidden Goldmine now is. (After putting that post up, I received the reassuring news that, while “Kel” is no longer up there on the side of the building, he is safely in storage.)

So you might imagine how tickled I was today to receive in the old inbox the image that’s at the top of this post. It came from Keith Kincaid – fellow journalist, and chronicler of the Kincaids of central Hastings County, as I wrote here; and thank you, Keith! – and it shows a page from no less than the mighty Toronto Star in 1972 (back when the Toronto Star was really mighty) in which none other than Kel Kincaid of “Kincaid IGA, Madoc, Ont.” is “Mr. IGA.”

And I only have this to say: it takes me back to happier times and makes me feel better about the world in general to see Kel Kincaid’s smiling face and bow tie once more. (And to see those tasteless Mexican tomatoes on sale, 3 for 99¢!) For all those who, like me, remember Kincaid Bros. IGA – I hope it has the same happy effect on you.

8 thoughts on “A friendly face from the past: Kel Kincaid of the Madoc IGA

    • It’s probably a general ad for IGA that was in many of the newspapers, much the same as how today’s Home Hardware ads are in various publications (they have a spotlight on a particular owner/location for the various ads.) Notice those prices. Habitant soups 2 for 49 cents! What are they now? $1.99 each?

    • Hey Brenda, I am pretty sure it would have been a Canada-wide (or at least Toronto-Star-wide) ad that probably featured a different “Mr. IGA” every week, and that particular week it was Kel Kincaid. Who was probably the ultimate Mr. IGA, actually.

  1. When my sister and I were visiting Madoc last month, we stopped in at the Hidden Goldmine Bakery. What a lovely place! We also remarked on the size of the bakery, comparing it to how large we remembered Kincaid’s being. We tried to picture all the shelves and the checkout counters. And, of course, we also remembered our Grandma Sue working on the till…. Ahh, the memories.

    Oh, and the butter tarts that our aunt bought there were delicious! Thanks, Geraldine!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s