Thursday, April 1, 2010

Canton Cafe Fire - New Information & Victoria Centre...

Further to the last post, there is additional information about the Canton Cafe' fire that took place in about 1939. With further investigation we find that before the Canton Cafe' the restaurant was called the Elite Cafe' Tea Room as shown in this wonderful photo of East Victoria Ave taken in the 1920's. This photo vividly shows the "Elite" (orange arrow)....then to the right of it would be the bank, to the left is McGillis Clothing, then a Drug Store, followed by North Street, then the St. Louis Hotel, The Royal Theatre, the Commerce Bank with the pillars, Walkers department store, etc. down the street with the Chapples building way at the end.
Although Port Arthur built the street car system, Fort William added the convenience in 1908. This is a great shot of the eastern end of Victoria Avenue in the 1920's. It is clear enough to see most of the buildings on both sides of the street and all the wonderful old vehicles help to date it.
Here is a picture of a brill bus(pretty beat up by this time) on the same spot as the trolley above with the arrow showing the empty spot where the restaurants were. As noted, nothing was ever built there after the fire.
The poster on the right from a 1913 industrial review publication advertises Victoria Avenue as "Victoria Centre" ....a wise place to invest. It was the most bustling area of town and investors could earn 6% on their investment. "The wise ones have invested, why not you??
Little would some of the investors know that almost 100 years later the urban deterioration of the eastern end of Victoria Ave(mainly east of Victoriaville Mall) would end up the way it did today.
At one time investors though that the Lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur would be the new Toronto of the north....What Happened! Thanks again to Al for the photo idea!
Click Twice on the photos for an Extra Large photo!

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