In most of the history posts of Fort William and Port Arthur, I try to add a photo or photos of vintage cars. It helps to date photos as well, and this first photo is no exception. This one was taken about 1940, and the young fellow to the right with the wicker basket carrier looks to be my uncle Henry. Bourke's Drug Store at the time had a very nice 1940 Chevy coupe and a number of young guys on bicycle delivery. My dad said that a few of his younger brothers worked for Bourke's during the war years. Their newspaper ads would read "Free delivery in Port Arthur and Fort William if your order was $1.00 or more".
The above photos were taken near the corner of Brodie St and Victoria Ave in Fort William looking north. In the B&W photo you can see Central School way down at the end(It is Patterson Park today). Bourke's was just right around the corner on Victoria Ave. What you see here is a lane way coming out from behind the bank building, and the Capitol Theatre would be across the street to the left of both photos. The colour photo is taken at exactly the same spot almost 70 years later. Next....Bourke's store-front.
Thanks to my friend Roger, here is a great B&W photo facing east on Victoria Ave around the corner from Brodie St taken in 1940 as well, showing the Bourke's sign and a few other store fronts in the area. You can see in the colour photo to the right approximately where it was, and how Victoria Ave in this area has changed through time, or should I call it "Urban Deterioration".
Above and below are some old Bourke's items, the oldest ones being with "Phone 1400" on them. The 1400 tells me that they were before dial phones. You would pick up your phone and you would hear "operator" and you then would say "South 1400" to the operator and she would move her plugs to connect you....wayyyy before my time :-) !! The others such as the pill bottle above and the blue label below are late 1940's or early 1950's as they had 5 digit dial phone numbers.
Below is an old postcard photo(about 1950) facing the opposite way now(west), showing Bourke's(circled in red) and a number of other business establishments, brill buses, and old Ford, GM, and other cars.
Notice the Lorna Doone tea room on the right...that was one of our hang-outs after Friday night roller skating at the Gardens, or cruisin' our favourite strip. They had the best hamburger nips at .35 cents with a glass of coke for a nickel....and oh yes....a jukebox wallbox at every booth to play your favourite tunes.