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Ireland’s Jewellery was started by Ralph Ireland and his new bride from Sioux Lookout, Eleanor Keefe, in 1945. They had met met on the CN train between Winnipeg and Sioux Lookout during the war. Ralph was a young instrument mechanic in the Air Force, en route from his posting in Prince Rupert and she was on her way from Winnipeg, where she worked in an an aircraft factory, to visit her family in Sioux Lookout. They wrote long letters to each other, he proposed and they married. After the early death of his father, Ralph had apprenticed at age 13, as a jeweller at his uncle’s jewellery store in British Columbia.
At the end of the war, the young couple drove to Sioux, rented two small buildings on a back lane, a one room shack in which they lived and and another small building that had been used by a bootlegger, sold their 1932 Ford Coupe automobile to pay for their first shipment of Bulova watches and opened for business. Some of their first customers were not looking to buy a railroad watch or an engagement ring.
Two children later, a girl and a boy, in 1952, after digging out the basement with a horse and plow, they opened their new store in downtown Sioux Lookout, at 16 Fourth Avenue. Both kids helped out in the store.
Ireland’s Jewellery is still a family and community business, still in the original building and is now being run by their son Ralph Ireland junior.
Ireland’s Jewellery still has a commitment to quality jewellery and community service.
Ireland’s serves Sioux Lookout and Hudson, Whitefish Bay, Frenchmans Head, local area towns such as Dryden, Dinorwic, Oxdrift, Vermillion Bay, and Treaty Eight, Treaty Nine and Muskeegowuk First Nations’ communities.
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