Sunday, April 26, 2015

"STAND BY ME" - A little taste of life in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur, 1955, 1947, and 1925.....

It seems as we get older, we love to reminisce more and more about our childhood years, be them bad or good.  I am no exception to the rule.  As I get closer to my birthday this June and feeling a little melancholy...I looked through some old family photos and came across one that stood out from the rest.  You will see it below, but it reminded me of one of my old favourite films shown in the two posters below.  Being only 11 years old in the photo I could put myself in the same place and time as these kids were in "Stand By Me".

I was very fortunate as a child to have happy loving parents that let me experience all the wonders of growing up.  This following picture was taken on my 11th birthday with "Stand By Me" friends sitting at my birthday table.  They are left to right.  Myself, Robert Cameron, Donald Wheatley, Mike McGuire, and Meyer Toole.  These were my bosom buddies when I was 11.  I told my mother that I didn't want the typical family, and female school friends in attendance, just the guys I hung around with at that age....I was growing up, you know!!

So now...looking closer at the photo (I love to enlarge small old photos to see all the detail), We are all drinking "Mission Orange" Soda Pop with the motto "Naturally Good".

We are also eating my mother Noreen's famous burgers - what else what a kid want on his 11th birthday but Mission Orange, my mom's great burgers and a nice little birthday cake.

I truly enjoy the old ads too, but also at the back of the table in the above photo you can see my mom's little windmill napkin holder.  I actually found one for sale on an on-line auction shown below.  It is identical to the one I remember.
Click on all photos to enlarge them!!!

Here's the same crew again with my 3 year old sister.

The photo below shows our old home and the exact steps where we were sitting in the above photo. We enjoyed many play days at Vicker's Park at the end of the block, and made our own fun without any cell phones.  I remember spending most of the 4 seasons outside, no matter what the weather man dropped on us.....and YES - The two family photos above will be 60 years old this June.

GOING BACK FURTHER - 1947 - When my father was discharged from the Army, we lived in a little apartment on Ogden Street.  Here is a picture of me in my Melton Snowsuit in front of Ogden Street School (long gone now) - you know, the one like the kid wore in "A Christmas Story".  We all had them.  The photo below shows pretty much the exact spot where this photo was taken, showing the playground of the present day and new Ogden Community School playground. 

GOING BACK ONE STEP FURTHER TO 1925 - My father lived in the east end in those days and went to St. Peter's School which is no longer there, but all the classroom photos of the day were taken on the steps of St. Peter's Church.  The wooden steps and hand railings were upgraded over time to concrete and steel however.  If you click on the picture below to enlarge it more, you will see my father, Jon Stephen Cano circled in red near the top left of the photo. 

This is what St. Peter's steps look like today.

Thank you all for watching....Look for more old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Racing photos coming up soon, as well as stories on some old drivers not previously written about in these blog pages.
In the meantime feel free to look through over a thousand photos of racing, local history and just plain local memories on these blog pages during the Hot Rods and Jalopies years.  
Click on the picture below to view a trailer and listen to "Stand By Me" - 
As fate would have it, 2 days after I posted this story, Benjamin Earl King aka Ben E King passed away April 30th 2015.  RIP Ben E King Sept 28/1938 - April 30.2015.  The most famous song he recorded on his own was "Stand By Me".

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter Memories from back in the day when we lived in Fort William and Port Arthur.....

HR&J wishes you and yours A Very Happy Easter 2015 
We were always very happy kids and at Easter time it was always quite special.  Easter brought back thoughts of spring, green grass and leaves on the trees as well as tulips and flowers....but most of all because we could get our bikes out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  Scroll down for more!!

 Bugs Bunny was always my favourite Easter Bunny anyway, and here he is, driving his Hot Rod in "Hot-Rod Hare".
I still have a few of these 10 and 12 cent Gold Key comics.

I really like this 1959 Easter morning photo.....My sister and brother are chowing down on their chocolate getting primed for their hyper sugar high for the day, and here I am, already to head out for Church with a not so pleased look on my face while I wait for everyone to get ready.  I always wondered why my parents let them eat all that candy before we headed out as they were absolutely wild in Church.  I remember those Easter Baskets were around our house for years......and often wondered where they got to.  (Love the curlers in my sisters hair).

It's too bad this picture isn't a bit clearer.....Here it is 1962, and my sister and brother are all ready to head out to Church on this snow-less Easter morning on Arthur Street in Fort William.  The car with the visor on the right is my first car...a 1949 Chevrolet 2-door sedan.  In those days everyone parked on the street in the 1400 block of Arthur Street in Fort William.

Here is another snow-less Easter in 1953.  My Easter present was pretty much the envy of all the kids on the block.  I never did get a brand new bike until I started to work, but my Dad would pick up a bunch of bike parts, bring them to Kam Motors Body Shop (where he worked)  to repair, and Canary Trevisan, the painter at Kam back then would paint and pin-stripe the wheels and frame.  I was a pretty lucky kid because I had the only custom bicycle in the whole neighbourhood.

Don't forget the movies of the day included this musical..."Irving Berlin's Easter Parade".  My mom would force me to go to these musicals under major protest.  She figured she could drum some culture into my life....LOL.  Be sure to click on the posters for full screen enlargements.

Pretty hokey.....but this is how the musicals were in the 1950s......."Easter Parade"
Click to play then X out any ads etc...then click the bottom right hand corner to enjoy full screen.

This next picture is of no one we know, but thought it was of the same era and shows all the kids dressed in their Easter finery, including their Easter bonnets.....and Mom's and Dad's two Fords in behind.

So....Have a Happy Easter - from our family to yours.  Enjoy Easter with your family.......

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Chubby Self Portraits, International Dirt at the CLE, a Wringer Washer and some local History all from Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario.... we go.  Yes, this is me circa 1946.  My dad had recently returned from England after the WWII years and we were on a typical Sunday outing in the car.  The car he had then was a Studebaker Erskine.  
After my father recently passed away, I started searching through our family photos again and came up with a couple of interesting ones of yours truly.  This photo was taken in front of the original McKenzie Inn on Lakeshore Drive.  I was a pretty chunky kid when I was little...but the cool thing is that I am standing beside a very rare double visible gas pump..."A Wade #2".  I wish there was a picture of the whole pump, but the fact that it has two hoses is a dead giveaway.  I guess I was more important than the pump was in those days.

The two pumps shown here are very similar to the pump shown in the photo of myself above.  I'm not sure what brand of fuel was sold at the McKenzie could have very well been B/A with the old bow tie logo shown at the left.  It definitely was not Gilmore as shown on the right, which was a very popular American Brand in the day.  I'm just adding these photos to show you what a double visible looked like.'s one more old 1946 photo of myself, taken at Boulevard Lake in about 1946 as well....the interesting find in this photo was the fact that I was drinking chocolate milk from a Thunder Bay Co-op Dairy milk bottle.

Here are the three sizes of Co-op milk bottles that are presently in my collection.  The Chocolate milk was sold at corner stores mainly in the smallest bottle, and the other sizes as well.  My dad's good friend Bub Kellough also sold cherry milk at his "Dairybest" dairy.
Some stories about the Thunder Bay Co-op Dairy are shown in a couple of posts on my blog pages here - Click on this link then return for more - THUNDER BAY CO-OP DAIRY  

I loved going to the dirt track races at the CLE...and obviously you know that, but when the Championships came, the excitement was overwhelming to a young gear head like myself.  The International Dirt Track Stock Car Races at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Grounds were the best anywhere.  Here is a cover page from a Sept 25, 1957 program....I was 13 when this program came out, and the next print here was on the first inside page of the program stating only 25 cents to go to the races, which was very affordable for a kid in those days.

The following two rare colour photos are favourites of mine...not too crisp but you get the idea.  At the beginning of the race day in 1957, the cars and drivers would angle park at the rub-rail and in front of the Grandstand, so that you could get a glance of your favourite drivers and cars.  
The red and white '34 Ford in the middle of the first photo and lined up for the first race in the second photo was none other than my favourite of the day, Barry Kettering.....there are many photos and stories in my blog pages about Barry and more of many of the other drivers, so if you haven't out all the pictures and stories.

Here is the Roster for the above race can see all the drivers names who participated as well as the fact that they came from near and far to race for the big money.  Literally thousands of spectators would cram the old grandstand to watch the thrills and spills.

NEXT - My mother's old BEATTY
This is an actual photo of my mother's Christmas present in about 1947, just before we moved into our first NEW house.  It looks and sounds a bit sexist, but my mother loved her new washing machine.  The one she had before this was a gas motor powered one that you had to kick start.......and hopefully it would start.  When it was running, it would vibrate itself from one side of the back porch to the other....she hated the old one, so this was pretty much a miracle for her.

The photo of my mom's Beatty is a little fuzzy....but I can't improve it...  The Beatty ad is a real 1940's magazine ad and the colour photo of the lady with the "Connor" brand washer is from our friends at The big thing was to keep your fingers out of the wringers....

NEXT - A Rare Local Photo
This next local historical photo was a puzzle to me for a few years,  It is of a visit from Lord Willingdon, Governor General of Canada's visit in the 1930s.  I started searching building tops in and around the Port Arthur downtown area and where dignitaries came and went from our Lakehead cities.  I have come to the conclusion that comparing the two following photos, the picture was taken on Syndicate Avenue in front of the CPR station facing Cronos cafe.....Check it out for yourself!!  It is a wonderful and fairly crisp old photo with some great billboards shown on the store in the background and to its right.

The last picture for this post below is also quite interesting as not many people have noticed what advertising was painted on the south side of the James Murphy Coal Company building to the right of their signage.  On close scrutiny you can recognize a big arrow...and definitely see that it is a Wrigley's Spearmint advertisement.  
We hope you enjoyed this post and as usual be sure to click on all the pictures for enlargements.  
A huge thank you to all the people through the years that took some of the wonderful photos that you see on these blog pages as well as those who have graciously donated historic photos to this site.
Thanks, Dave