Here are some great photos of The Fort William Gardens(in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario), and the Canadian National Railway Station(do you recognize anyone?) which was very close to the Gardens(actually right in the middle of Vickers Street) and across Miles Street. The vintage colour photos were taken during the 1956 Winter Carnival(note - button and wooden nickel from our collection) which I remember very well at 12 years of age. The station photo would be taken by standing right in the middle of the front of the Gardens and pointing your camera south/west towards Breeny's Auto Body. The then and now photos give you an idea of how things look now.
The Fort William Gardens was designed by local renouned architect L. Y. McIntosh, and was opened to the public on March 6th, 1951. Since then the Fort William Gardens has paid it's dues an incredible amount of times over by hosting stars and events such as Bob Hope, Gene Autry, The Everly Brothers, Sha Na Na and other stellar attractions and performers to name a few. Our local car clubs hosted many shows bringing in stars of movie and television, as well as a few Playboy bunnies. There were the Sportsman Shows, the Great Lakes Paper Company Christmas Parties, the Shrine Circuses, figure skating with world class stars, the annual Chapples Store Christmas Shows, with "George the Porter" and "Suzie Snowflake"....DO YOU REMEMBER....I sure do! I can barely begin to recall all the events held here at our Fort William Gardens through the years, and that doesn't even touch on the sporting events.
The Gardens to this day is constantly striving to keep up and improve, as evidence of the huge renovation that took place in the 1994/1995 season. This building through the years has become second to none in the country and was and still is a credit to Fort William, Port Arthur and Thunder Bay. Some day however we will give her up to a larger and more modern facility, hopefully near the water front, but in the meantime The Fort William Gardens stands up to what was represented back in 1951 as a place for world class entertainment and outstanding sports events in the small twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur.
Click on this link http://hotrodsandjalopies.blogspot.com/2009/10/old-canadian-national-railway-spur-in.html or scroll down to it to read more about the CN Station and tracks.
Thanks again for the great old photos Brian! The after pictures were actually taken today on a bit of a rainy day. Click on photos to enlarge.