Tuesday, October 13, 2009
One of my favorite hangouts in my teen years and up was the Palace Confectionery, on the corner of Leith and Simpson St. This is where I purchased all my Hot Rod and Rod & Custom magazines and bought very cold Cokes out of a water filled Coca Cola Machine. Thanks to the Scalzo Collection this photo of the brill bus was taken in front of the Palace in about 1965. The building still exists today in the now run down Simpson Street area. Our city is still trying beautification tactics to keep Simpson Street alive. Some of the huge air-brushed art pieces there are great but it`s like flogging a dead horse to try to keep this area decent.
Thanks to our Sports Hall of Fame, I have this wonderful photo of the old Port Arthur Arena which was on the corner of Court and Camelot Streets, now home to the Safeway Store.
Port Arthur's first indoor rink was known as the Lake City Rink, which was constructed in the early part of the century on Cumberland Street near McVicar's Creek. In 1923 the Arena Rink was built on Court Street, financed and operated by a group of citizens from Port Arthur and Fort William, known as the Arena Rink Company, at a cost of $65,000. Destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1931 that rink was replaced in 1932 with a 4000 capacity arena constructed on North Court Street. Residents still recall the controversy surrounding the fact that it took many a wrecking ball to finally tear down this "condemned" building in 1959.
I remember as a kid taking the bus to Port Arthur and going roller skating there occasionally.
Above is a great(albeit fuzzy) black & white picture of the Cooper Block which was on the north-east corner of May St. and Victoria Ave. Cooper`s ladies wear was at the far right, then left of that was Wishart`s Fashion Craft men`s store, where I worked at my very first job. I worked an hour or two every day after school and all day Saturday for $5.00 a week, great money when you were 12 years old, making deliveries on my bike and cleaning display cases. On the corner was Whites Rexall Drugs and soda fountain. They made the best milk shakes and Cherry Cokes anywhere.
This building burned down in a spectacular fire shortly after Christmas in about 1971. At that time it was called Drug World. The colour pictures were taken after 1970 due to the words Thunder Bay Fire(not Fort William) on the side of the fire vehicles. Fort William and Port Arthur became Thunder Bay in 1970.
Researching our local directories, it was called Lord's Supervalue Pharmacy in 1970. In 1962 the main floor of this building was vacant. In 1959 it was called White's Drug Store. In 1947 it was called White's Rexall Drug Store. In 1944/45 it was just White's Drug Store, and in 1933 this address was called Mackenzie Telford Tobacconist. My friend Allan Yahn did the research for this(thanks Al).
The last 4 photos were added on Monday Oct. 19 and are courtesy of my friend Clarence Merko. You can see how cold it was and note the open cockpit ladder truck. These were obviously still used in the early '70's. The picture beside the black & white, shows the property today with H&R block on site.
POST SCRIPT! John said the the fire took place in January of 1973. Click on "comments" below and see how he remembered the year it burned!!!
Click on photos to enlarge!