TWEED email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-05 published
'Nobody beats Arthur'
Victoria native left mark on Ottawa's business scene, while setting swimming records when he was over 70
By Randy RAY, Special to The Globe and Mail Wednesday, November 5, 2003 - Page R7
Ottawa -- When Arthur INGLIS moved to Ottawa from Victoria in the late 1960s, his goal was to leave his mark on the nation's capital. By all accounts, he succeeded, both in the world of business and in the swimming pool.
"When he arrived he thought he could make a difference," said his partner of 20 years Kimberly CROSS. " The place was a wasteland back then, but he did manage to leave an imprint."
Mr. INGLIS, who as recently as May set a world swimming record, died on September 1. He as 71.
After moving to Ottawa, Mr. INGLIS, who was born in Victoria on March 28, 1932, worked as director of store design for Hudson's Bay Co. and redesigned a handful of department stores purchased from their local owner by the Bay.
In 1976, he started two Vanilla Boutique clothing stores and later operated the Ecco Restaurant in downtown Ottawa. He founded the Mags and Fags newsstand that same year after he realized Ottawa didn't have an outlet with the variety of magazines and newspapers available in New York or London. The business also included Immigration and Naturalization Service News Service, which distributes newspapers and magazines to Ottawa's business and government sectors.
With a reputation as an innovative member of Ottawa's business community, Mr. INGLIS and a partner built Mags and Fags into one of the biggest newsstands in Canada, said Mr. CROSS, who added that local media individuals often visited the Elgin Street shop.
During the early 1980s, Mr. INGLIS and a business partner designed a bar named Shannon's in honour of Shannon TWEED, Miss Ottawa Valley of 1977 and Playboy Magazine's 1982 Playmate of the Year. TWEED, partner of Gene SIMMONS, bassist for rock band KISS, named her dog Vanilla after Mr. INGLIS's women's fashion shops.
His boutiques carried innovative lines of clothing from France and Italy that couldn't be found elsewhere in Ottawa. His Ecco restaurant and club was a downtown hotspot known for its elegant yet homey setting.
"It was hot, hot, hot with a library and outdoor terrace on the second floor, like something you'd find on 3rd Avenue in New York," Mr. CROSS said. "It was the place where all of the city's movers and shakers went, real estate people, fashion people -- you name it."
Mr. INGLIS and a partner also designed and introduced several Ottawa shopping centres to the sales kiosks that are now commonplace in most malls.
In 2000, when Mr. INGLIS was 68 and still operating the newsstand, his life took a dramatic turn because of cholesterol and blood-pressure problems. His doctors placed him on medication but instead of relying on pills, he quit drinking, adopted a healthier diet and started swimming and weight-training.
In 2002, he sold his share in Mags and Fags to concentrate on travel and competitive swimming, which he had excelled at as youngster and into his teens.
Mr. INGLIS's athletic prowess in his younger days also included skating with the Ice Capades, touring North America with his sister May in the 1950s.
To pursue his interest in swimming and to improve his fitness, Mr. INGLIS joined the Technosport masters swim and triathlon team in Ottawa and was soon setting Canadian and world swimming records in the 70-and-over age group. As his health problems eased, he challenged the best in the world in masters swimming in various locales, including New Zealand and Hawaii.
When he died, he held 17 Canadian or Ontario records in backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley, including all Canadian backstroke records in all distances in the 70 to 74 age group, said teammate Pat NIBLETT, who keeps track of records set by members of the Technosport team. Mr. INGLIS was also a member of an Ontario swim relay team that set a world record in New Zealand in 2002.
Ms. NIBLETT, who often travelled to swim meets with Mr. INGLIS, remembers her teammate as a "tall slim man with the twinkling eyes and wonderful sense of humour. I only had the privilege of knowing Arthur for three short years. I felt as if I had known him for a lifetime. There is a saying in our house that 'nobody beats Arthur.' This is true of everything that Arthur did."
At the Canadian National Masters Swim Championships in Montreal in May, Mr. INGLIS broke his own 200-metre backstroke record and set Canadian records in the 100 and 200 individual medley events.
Technosport coach Duane JONES, who was among those shocked by the incredibly fit Mr. INGLIS's death, said the swimmer worked out about five times a week.
"When we first met, he was 30 pounds overweight, he was not a healthy eater and he was lethargic. But soon after, he was setting records; when he was 71-years-old he had the body of a 35-year-old. He paid attention to detail and did his workouts, swimming, biking and weight-training consistently.
"The first time he dove into the water I could not believe how beautiful his strokes cut the water. I've coached more than 6,000 athletes during the past 35 years and have never seen a guy like Arthur INGLIS."
Ramona FIEBIG, manager of Mags and Fags for more than 14 years, said Mr. INGLIS was a dedicated businessman who did his best to ensure the newsstand had the best selection of titles in the city. He often showed up for work on weekends as early as 3 a.m.
"There are thousands of titles in the store. It was no small chore to keep on top of what was new, to find new magazines and locate suppliers."
To the day he died, Mr. INGLIS was an innovator, Mr. CROSS said, adding that as his health deteriorated, he wanted to try a novel drug treatment to prolong his life.
"After his stroke, the options were paralysis on his left side or trying a new drug," Mr. CROSS said, adding that the side effect was a 16-per-cent chance he would suffer massive bleeding in his brain. "His feeling was that if he didn't survive, the next person who came down the shoot might have a better chance."
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