Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some CLE Memories in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay)....

The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition here in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur was always a huge annual event.  We as kids could barely wait until the CLE started, and the excitement for children is still there today.  In the old days however, everything was BIGGER and BETTER..... Many factors have caused the CLE to slow down somewhat for reason's I do not understand....just the fact that the race track is gone is pretty disappointing in itself, as the fair hosted many types of entertainment that could be viewed from the huge grandstand which actually held thousands of people, such as the Thrill Drivers, High Wire acts and of course our original Jalopy Stock Car Racing which began in the 1920s and ended at the fairgrounds in the 1960s with the demise of our 1/2 mile dirt track.  There were many more booths and displays than there are today as well, and many more people attended in the day.
Here we have a little collage of the CLE's south/west portion of the fair grounds, which includes the CJLX radio booth.  The Dave Ross colour photo dates 1961.  The "On the Air" portion of the collage is from Mike Wolowich dated 1959, and the Big 5 portion is my own from 1965

The Royal American Shows hosted the rides after the second world war back in 1947, and "The Death Dodger's" entertained at the racetrack.  They also gave away 60 attendance prizes culminating with a 1947 Mercury Sedan. Car giveaways continued into the early 1960's.  The fair board gave away cars every night and actually gave away a home in the early 1960's which exists to this day on High Street. 

Looking closely to the right of the Port Arthur and Fort William buses at the turn around terminal on Fort William Road, you can see the famed Co-Op Milk Bottle.  "Meet me at the Bottle" was actually printed on the bottle and it became THE meeting place for many, or even a place to find mom or dad if you got lost at the fair.

The Bottle and a ticket I saved from 1963........

Here's a couple of photos of a bear and it's trainer at the milk bottle in the late 1940's

Here's a close-up of the inside of the Milk Bottle showing all the 5 cent prices.  
Do you remember purchasing a "brick" or a "1/2 brick" of ice cream from the milk bottle?

The bumper cars were always my favourite....These old metal bumper cars are extremely expensive to purchase today if you can even find one.

...and Finally of course was the fabulous CLE stock car racing.....I can still smell the dirt and the fuel today.....Oh to go back....wouldn't it be wonderful...  I hope you enjoyed this little flashback of the old CLE days.....D.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Lunch Bunch BBQ....featuring living legends of our CLE racing days....Louis, Merv and Glen

Much thanks to Roger Rickards for hosting a memorable BBQ at his place with our typical "Lunch Bunch" group and three very special guests.
...left to right - Louis (Bobcat) Tocheri (The Scrapper), Glen Kettering (The Doctor), and Merv Dove (The Gentleman).  As Roger mentioned in his Facebook post...Merv later went on to be the flagman at Riverview Raceways.
They are holding models of the cars they raced at the old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition race track that I built about 40 some years ago.  I didn't have one for Glen's car so he his holding a model of his brother Barry's famous #47 (Bud's Thing)....(RIP Barry)
It was such a pleasure to have these living legends with us on June 24th this past Friday, sharing their memories and escapades.

 The following photos are of the real cars featured above.
Barry and his #47

Merv's Maple Leaf Service Car....

Below, you can see that we did this once before with Merv and Louis at a Canada Day BBQ at Ron Limbrick's place 13 years ago almost to the day.  The suggestion for the boys holding the models was my friend Alan Yahn's......and the funny part is that Louis Tocheri wore the same "Alaska" ball cap 13 years son Jay had noticed this....Louis must love cool is that.

The following photo is Louis and his #19 typically causing some controversy in front of the old CLE grandstand noticeably filled to overflowing with facing fans.
Louis would say that the racing promoters would encourage a scrap or two in front of the grandstand, and once told me that it was all orchestrated until Tony Massaro accidentally poked him in the nose ...then the real altercations began....which lead to the best entertainment ever.....thousands of fans would pack the grandstand every Wednesday night.  Great memories.
Our host Roger Rickards with Jerry McKenzie

Yours truly with the living legends...
 Click on all the photos for enlargements...

Two of Glen's Cars

Glen with foot on Barry's cut down '34 Ford

Merv looking a little disappointed here....

Merv's Maple Leaf Service Car......

Merv's pit Crew....his brother Reg on the right (RIP) and I worked together at Shell Oil on the Island in the day.

Louis Tocheri and a very talented young mechanic Lorne Hay...Louis said he
was one of the smartest mechanics he ever had.  Lorne went on to be Lyn
McIntosh's mechanic, and assisted many other stock car jockeys of the day.

Louis' BOB-CAT....

Merv and Bob

Dave and Glen

It was such a beautiful day on Friday that we brought our old cars out.  I picked up Louis at his home in my hot rod....he loved the ride over and said it reminded of the old racing days.  
We all enjoyed ourselves very much, and "the Boys of Summer" did also...thanks once more Roger for hosting this special event.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

39 Then and Now photos of our home towns of Fort William & Port Arthur ... now Thunder Bay, Ontario

This is the largest group of photos loaded into one post on HR&J.  These are mostly "Then and Now" posts that I had loaded onto my facebook page in the past number of months. They will include captions only.....and if you want full screen size shots.  
Click on each small or large photo group to enlarge then return.  ENJOY 
Thank you also to all our followers here on HR&J and also my facebook page.  I hope you have enjoyed reading all the posts.
Don't worry...all you gearheads...many more recently found racing and car related posts are to follow...but you must be I write this, I'm also working on a new hot rod project.  More to come on that as well.

Original Invoice from 1936

North Star Oil - Memorial Ave

Bud's One Stop

CKPR - now Superstore Gas

Dairybest - May and Dease St.

Donald and Brodie Street facing east..

Donald and Brodie St facing west...

Donald and Syndicate facing west...

Donald and Syndicate facing east...

In front of Brodie St. Library...

Kellough's Dairy Victoria and Selkirk north

Twin Port Auto May and Bethune St.

Victoria Ave. and May St.

Near the end of Victoria Ave.

The Avenue - once beautiful
then - The Odeon Theatre - also
once beautiful.

Port Arthur Arena...

History of McKellar Park

When "Service" meant "Service"...


Burney's on Brodie...
History of our fairgrounds...not much
originality left....

Here's a surprise - Arthur and Marks St
facing old stompin' grounds

Farmer's Mercantile

My mom and dad ...a rare sign...

Kam Motors, my father's alma mater..

A Westfort treasure still exists...

Newcombe's...remember where??

White's Drug Store - I once worked in this building.

Good Ol' Maltese...still around after all
these years.

The next two are both locations of Hinsperger's Tent and Awning...once called "Harness and Tent"... Don't forget clicking to enlarge..
Hisperger's 1.

Hinsperger's 2.

Paradise Boston Pizza office...

May and Southern facing west...

Scarcello's Shoe Stores

The Ol' Cap...

What we saw in 1954
What was playing