Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Arches of Fort William and Port Arthur, and "Memorial" Ave.....




Long ago, our fair cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario(now Thunder Bay), had some very cool things to catch your attention, that have long been replaced by basically nothing....somewhat like our Memorial Avenue which was dotted on both sides by beautiful trees and a wonderful plaque "memorializing" our fallen soldiers from the first world war. Firstly the city got rid of all the trees along "Memorial" avenue to make way for BIG business and four laning, but sadly no one knows where the wonderful plaque is that used to be in a predominant spot on Memorial Ave.
Well, they got rid of our welcome signs too after our wonderful twin cities became one(for the betterment of our populace). Do you remember where they were and how they were upgraded through time?
The very first photo(b&w) shows the first arch on the boundary line between Fort William and Port Arthur, welcoming you to the latter. It was erected just south of the McIntyre river as you travel north just past the present day Silver City Theatre. The present day colour picture beside it shows pretty much the exact spot where it used to be.
The third picture(a very rare backside photo) shows the arch from the Port Arthur side, beckoning you to return to Port Arthur. In this photo you can see the bridge and the fairgrounds would be on the left side past the river.
The fourth(colour) photo shows where it was from the other side again and Silver City Theatre is on the left.
The fifth photo shows how it would have looked in colour(facing north).
The sixth one shows the widened arch(still blue) for the 4 laning of Memorial Ave. I guess Hydro power wasn't cheap anymore so the slogan became The Friendly City.
The seventh and eighth pictures show the repaint to orange. You can pretty much guess the era by the cars passing under it. In the eighth picture however they still hadn't cut all the Memorial Ave. trees down....but if you look up at the present day photo...Oh My...no trees....had to make room for BIG business at the cost of greenery. Our fair city is still doing that to this day.....progress is good but not at the cost of nature!
The second last photo is the Welcome to Fort William arch which was erected on the Fort William mission property on old highway 61 just east of the old Fort William ski club turn off.
The final photo which I just found is of the Memorial Avenue commemorative plaque which has totally disappeared into oblivion. Does anyone know where it is now?

Hope you enjoyed these and click on the pics to enlarge. Dave

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tripped over the webpage. Great information. Will need some time to read all of it but enjoyable!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome picture of the welcome to Fort William arch. Was it located just past the totem tourist court on the way to Chippewa? Any pictures of the giant curling rock at the totem tourist court? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Its quite sad how any building or monument of historical value is torn down. There is no regard to the past. A few examples include; the Old CP train station in Port Arthur, the News Chronicle Building, the Lands and Forest Building, Prospect and Pine Street Schools, The YMCA building in Fort William, The Marina Inn and St Louis Hotels, the old City Hall in Fort William...the list is endless. We look like a moon colony...with box like buildings and no aesthetic value. It's progress I guess???

Dave said...

My wife and I recently spent a wonderful weekend in Stillwater Minnesota. Here buildings no matter how old are restored to their original splendor. Even other buildings added to the landscape are carefully designed not to disrupt the architectural value of the old ones. Progress, unfortunately is at the loss of our own heritage. Thanks for your comments, Dave

Anonymous said...

any photos of the CN sign on the ore train dock passing over memorial ave?

Dave said...

As far as the CN sign on the ore dock....nothing yet, but working on that. Thanks for your question....Dave

Anonymous said...

I remember walking down the old dirt path past this arch to go to Motorways, where my dad worked at the time. Later on as we got older we would walk to Sears or the old Intercity Restaurant. Fantastic photos.

Anonymous said...

Amazing Stuff !!
I used to hang out at
Smiths Confectionary..
And the Massaros lived
right down the street
from me on Mary St.
I remember Chappels well
as my grandmother worked there.
And I remeber the Christmas Shows
at the Gardens.
Thanks for the memories !!!

Theodore Frost said...

One of my fond memories of the arch over Memorial ave was Alex Delvechio Day who played for Detroit RedWings.The parade went down the street with Alex and Gordie Howe and I can't remember the others riding in red convertibles down the road.

Dave said...

My Uncle Ben who now lives in Sault Ste Marie lived near Alex and Played street hockey and junior hockey with him and they are still life long friends....Thanks for your comment Theodore...D.

Elaine Wilson said...

This is fantastic! As a younger resident of Thunder Bay it's great to see how our city came to be and how it was in it's hay day. Love this site.

Dave said...

Thank you for your comment Elaine and be sure to click on the title page at the top of this page to view the entire blog site...It is long but hopefully enjoyable :-))