Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Here is the Casino Dine and Dance Hall sponsored car driven by D. Ridley back in the mid 1950's, and next to it is the Casino Dine and Dance Hall which was located in Current River Park just south of and adjacent to the Current River just below the dam near Boulevard Lake(a man made lake here in Port Arthur, now Thunder Bay, Ontario) on North Cumberland Street. It was never a gambling hall, just a dance hall.
An outdoor dance floor only was built there in about 1904 and proved to be so popular that the city constructed a dance pavilion that opened in 1907. It was not until 1923 that the structure shown here known as The Casino was built. It's proper name was Palais de Danse and a sign within proclaimed that there would be dancing every night.
It was a very popular nightspot before WWII and my parents frequented the hall many times. My dad in his 90th year still recalls many fun memories there.
During the war the building was used by the federal government, and eventually became a large dining hall for the Algonquin Regiment, located nearby.
At the end of the war it was refurbished and returned to the city as a dance hall once again and for years was the site of many weddings, banquets and bingo's.
When it was destroyed by fire on January 12, 1958 no plans were made to rebuild and all that remains is the unofficial name of the site, "the casino field" in Current River Park.
Here is another picture of it with what looks like a Model "A" Ford sedan in front and also a commercial advertisement from the 1950's.
The green circles in all these pictures is the Casino Dance Hall. The light blue is Boulevard Lake. The dark blue is the Current River Dam, and the red line is Cumberland Street.
These pictures were shown before on my blog showing Current River Park. In the more recent coloured photo the Casino Hall would just be out of the picture at the far left.
Some of you may remember your parents talking about the many local big bands that played there such as Ted Goodsell, Stan Onski, Hugh Paxton and Joe Turner. I can't imagine how wonderful it must have been!!
Click on pictures to enlarge!