In October 1959 Mathias Woronchak Sr. came to Canada after the Second World War. Originally of Ukrainian origin and displaced from war torn Europe, he came to Canada for a better future. Having come to Canada by way of Halifax NS and then being placed in Montreal, he discovered a fondness for Montreal, and in particular the area of Notre Dame de grace.
NDG back in the 1960’s was a quaint area of Montreal- a wee distance from the downtown area, but certainly having its own charms. This area suit “Mr. OTA “perfectly as he found the perfect place to live, close to schools, churches, grocery stores, and certainly close to the major arteries to get in and out of the city.
He settled in the four-unit building living in the upstairs 4 ½. Using one of the bedrooms of the upper four and a half, he opened OTA Swiss Watchmaker & Jewellery Company on April 1st, 1961. He made the sign by hand in wood, hand painted with a blue backdrop and yellow lettering (the colors of his country of origin, Ukraine) and hung it above the center door. Clients would walk up the 14 stairs through all seasons to go into the apartment and do business.
Apparently his first day of opening he spent at the foot of the stairs with the door open wishing everyone to “have a nice day “with a big smile on his face. To this day there is a lovely couple of a certain age who remember quite fondly this very charming and smiling individual who welcomed them into his business but also, into his home. In 1974, he was able to acquire the ground floor storefront, which was at the time a restaurant by the name of College Inn, and we have been there ever since.
OTA watchmaker and jewelry company has been a family run business with Mr. OTA having four children, and each one of them having gone through the day to day in the shop. His eldest daughter Christina was the power saleswoman of the 80s and has since moved on to bigger and better things. She does attribute a lot of her business savvy to her youth in the store. His younger son Matthias Jr, known more as Lucas, is the staple at OTA watchmaker and jewelry company today having put in 30 years to date. Lucas has done his training in Quebec in jewelry design, repair, and manufacturing and has been taught the old European style as of the age of 11 with watch and clock repair. It is a more than just running a business: It's a family run, community-oriented business that is happy to continue to run in a small business format, while giving the best possible customer-service.
Mathias Woronchak Sr’s sudden passing in 1994 was quite a shock to the family as well as his clients. Lucas kept things going and began to adapt to the technological changes that were and are becoming a major part of every business today, their online footprint.
Celebrating our 60th year in 2021, it is with great pride and with pleasure, that we continue to open our door and welcome you to our establishment. It is with heartfelt sentiments that we thank all our patrons of the past 60 years and welcome our new clients.