Mr. Edward Braddock Sr.

In 1965, Messers Brook and Edward Braddock opened Brook & Braddock Opticians (B&B). Both men had a long history in the optical business.

Braddock Optical Company was a subsidiary of Standard Optical Company, and a retail division of the Imperial Optical Company.

Imperial, founded by Percy Hermant in 1990, was one of the first manufacturers and producers of optical goods in Canada.

Mr. Brook

Ed Brook, a well known optician, managed by J.C. Williams Opticians in the Park Plaza Hotel, in Toronto. He was a great friend of Dr. Page Harshman, who with a group of medical doctors from St. Joseph’s Hospital, was at this time planning to open a full medical centre in the old “Borden Dairy” Building on Bloor Street West on the Kingsway. They wanted to have optician services in the front of the building facing Bloor Street and persuaded Mr. Brook to take on this challenge.

Unfortunately and sadly, Ed Braddock, after critical surgery, suddenly passed away. Ed Brook was asked by Standard Optical to take the managers’ position of the Braddock optical chain. In doing so Standard Optical supported Ed’s opening for his dream store in the Kingsway to be renamed “Brook & Braddock Opticians”.

Richard Winter, was at that time the optician and manager of the Braddock Optical store on Avenue Road branch was asked to open and manage this new Brook & Braddock operation.

The direction of B&B’s service from the start was to concentrate on having the highest quality products possible, and making sure that the customer received the best possible service. Their reputation was quickly established not only with the public but also within the optical trade and because of this, many Opticians wanted to work at this office.

Standard Optical requested that many of their key Opticians spend time there before being placed in other operation. The proof of the number of opticians have had their training at B&B was evident when they celebrated their 25th anniversary and invited all previous staff, over a hundred we in attendance to mark this special occasion.

Richard Winter reflects back on Ed Brook as truly a person who influenced his life and the direction that B&B would take. He had a policy that the customer was always right to listen to any concerns they may have and to act positively to resolve them. When there was something new that Richard wanted to try to improve at B&B, Ed would be most encouraging by saying “let’s give it a try”. He never gave a second thought to failures and felt they were a learning experience to bigger and better things.

This type of attitude is still reflected in the day to day operation at Brook and Braddock.

Brook and Braddock has made its mark in Canada in many ways:

  • First to use a "no-line bifocal" in Canada. Originally, the Varilux lens was imported from France and had up to a six week wait to get the lenses at a cost, which at that time was considered prohibitive. The success in their using lenses had many wholesalers interested in importing and distributing them in Canada.
  • First to introduce into Canada, the art of engraving with monograms and inlaying stone settings, into lenses.
  • Forerunners in introducing the special super thin cataract eyeglasses known as the MED Welsh technique. Dick held many seminars at B&B and traveled from coast to coast teaching to opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists.
  • Their optical “know how” and computer background was used in assisting designing the first computer software developed by Standard Optical. This was used in operations throughout Canada for many years prior to the need for any modifications.
  • They trained some of Canada’s leading opticians in the field today. Many did a sojourn by working as staff then going off to managerial positions. They opened their doors to student opticians in the early years of Ryerson College to help them in their optical background knowledge.
Background in shareholder changes of Brook & Braddock Opticians:
  • January 1965 founded by Ed Brook & Standard Optical Co.
  • December 22nd 1982 – Dick Winter was made a co-owner with Ed Brook and Standard Optical.
  • March 30, 1990 – Sam Thomas became a junior partner in the firm.
  • Dick Winter and Sam Thomas purchased the share held by the estate of the late Ed Brook
  • February 17th, 2000 – Dick stayed on as a consultant for a period of time and then retired.