Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition....coming soon....but not like it was!

A number of emails in the past month for requests about photos of the milk bottle that was once in our fairgrounds brought a number of childhood memories flooding back.

This first photo was taken from a calendar that our museum put out a few years ago. It's not great but shows the Co-op Dairy milk bottle with people lined up to purchase a half brick of ice cream for probably a dime or a quarter back in 1947.
A kid could easily get lost in the vastness of the midway, displays and booths that dotted the large landscape at the time, and you could easily find your mom or dad by saying "meet me at the bottle".
Here is another of the wonderful Brill Bus photos taken from the turn-around between Fort William and Port Arthur. The bus turn-around was just north of the corner of Northern Ave. and Fort William Road. Circled, you can see the milk bottle which was always a well known landmark at the CLE grounds. Remember changing buses if you were going farther than the CLE from either Fort William or Port Arthur?

Not a great clipping taken in 1962 but you can see how large the midway used to be. The left photo arrows and ovals are as follows: Yellow - Northern Ave., Orange Oval - CLE Coliseum, Yellow Diamond - The Grandstand, Green Oval - CLE Auditorium(bingo hall now), Pink Arrow - Memorial Ave., Purple Oval - Super Sonic Car Wash, Red Oval - Welcome to Port Arthur Arch, Blue Arrow - Fort William Road.
The configuration of the river was actually changed when the new floodway was created.
The Google Earth photo next to the B&W one is: Yellow Oval - CLE Coliseum Bldg., Green Arrow - Northern Ave., Pink Arrow - old Super Sonic Car Wash building(no car wash but the building is still there), Red Arrow - Memorial Ave., Black Arrow - Fort William Road.
I hope I haven't missed anything, and I'm sure you will all notice other things in the pictures.

This photo shows approximately where the track would be today, over top of the golf dome, with the grandstand taking up half of the Silver City movie theatre. the markings aren't as clear as the other photos but noted as follows: A - Silver City, B - Golf Dome, #1 - CLE Coliseum, #2 - Dorothy Dove building, Purple arc - this is where all the cattle barns were, Orange rectangle - would be the grandstand, large red oval - would be where the track was(the end was very close to the river where many stock car jockeys ended up), E - Northern Ave., Pink 2-way arrow - Memorial Ave, Green Arrow - Fort William Road, and finally C - Intercity Plaza.
When the Royal American Shows came to town for the CLE, it was a childhood event to be topped by nothing else each summer. A number of midways came here but the Royal American Shows was the largest and best that I remember.

These photos were taken here in Fort William in August of 1958 mostly up and down Northern Ave., adjacent to the fairgrounds. Look at those kids - they are so excited(I remember it well)!

The bumper cars and the Gargantua!!

The Tilt-A-Whirl and another Royal American Shows truck!

These two are not local photos, but I remember a ride like this coming to the midway where you actually had some control of the plane by tilting the wings with a steering wheel(very cool). The midway mainly came here by truck but occasionally a train would bring actors, acrobats and equipment.

Well here is our CLE sign as we see it today on the Coliseum building on Northern Ave, and the last photo shows the old arch that was above the main entrance to the CLE for years. You can see this today if you look towards the fairgrounds on May Street just south of Silver City theatre.
Conjure up your own memories and if you have any CLE photos from the past, email scans to me and we can put them on the web page.
Also, if you want to read more history on the CLE, click here http://www.cle.on.ca/content/CLE_History/
Click on photos(SOME TWICE) to enlarge then enlarge more!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back to the 50's 2010, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul...

This week I am featuring the annual June event I usually attend in St. Paul, Minnesota....There were 11,794 1964 and older custom and hot rod cars in attendance. Be sure to click on all the links stated below to view 100 more photos and 6 new videos.

Here are a few photos posted to the blog, but if you want to see 100 more photos I took, click on this link then come back, http://public.fotki.com/Canodave/back-to-the-50s-2010/
ALSO - if you want to see 6 new videos that I also took at Back to the 50's, click on this link to see them all, http://www.youtube.com/user/canroddin

Here's my friend Don wiping down the car just after cleaning off all the bugs and road grime on arriving in Minneapolis/St. Paul last Thursday, June 20. The next photo and the one below is of the General Motors Futurliner that was featured at St. Paul this year. In a nutshell the brochure said, "It was known as the Parade of Progress. A group of custom built vehicles toured the US from coast to coast in the 1940's and 1950's. General Motors played a large role in the Parade by developing twelve massive machines, known as Futurliners. These vehicles helped display modern advances in science and technology, such as jet engines, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television and many other modern marvels of the time. You can read more about The Futurliner by clicking on this link http://www.futurliner.com/ . Be sure to come back!

The dwarf Mercury or maybe a giant "Don" photo was taken at another cruise we went to in North St. Paul on Friday night...the car was also at Back to the 50's. The builder hand built this complete dwarf car in minute detail, including all the body and chassis components. We had seen his scrap-book on the construction that took many years. This is about the 6th dwarf vehicle he had built. It is powered by a complete Toyota rear wheel drive system and the tall 6' guy and his wife could very comfortably fit inside...WOW...Very Cool!!

You see it all at Back to the 50's...and here's a cutie driving her pink lowered pedal car(well...one made into a stroller!) The final photo is just 5 miles closer to Thunder Bay from Grand Marais Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior....a very beautiful spot!
The weekend was a blast and always look forward to the next year. Hope you enjoyed this.
Be sure to click on all the links and also the photos to enlarge them to get the total picture!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Submarine Races..... :-)

No, not really....but if you're my age or maybe even a little younger, you would have watched many (tongue in cheek) submarine races around Boulevard Lake Park back in the late 1950's and into the 1960's.

This is a postcard photo(sorry about the black mark) taken in 1957, and pretty much shows the eastern end of Boulevard Lake, only a few years before I had my driver's license. Note the peninsula on the left. You could actually drive your car around the total perimeter of the lake. Now, the north side of the lake is mainly hiking or walking paths. Click on the historical data on the right. Off in the distance in the first photo, you can see The Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay's major Landmark.

These two photos were taken from THE BLUFFS. A very well known Submarine Race vantage point. The black and white photo on the left was also taken in 1957 and the coloured one was taken recently showing the beautiful fall colours. These both photos also show the Black Bay Bridge which is now designated as an Ontario Heritage Property. The bridge is on Arundel St near Lyon Blvd. It spans the Current River. It was designated heritage on Dec 18/1989.
The "Black Bay Bridge" was constructed in 1912 by Seaman and Penniman. It was a single span bridge designed by Joachim Antonisen to harmonize with the beauty and grandeur of the landscape. It features arch ribs and open spandrels. Its unadorned functionalism and use of reinforced concrete were usual for this early period. In 1963 the bridge was doubled in width with only minor design alterations.
Here is a lower west facing view of the "Black Bay Bridge" and an aerial view of Boulevard Lake facing west also. At the top of the blue line at the top of the picture would be this bridge, and the red circle above it is THE BLUFFS. Now the bluffs are renowned for its many parking spots and there was even a streaker or two through the years, but as said before...its fame is due to the many couples including myself checking out the Submarine Races.....If you are too young or haven't figured it out by now....email me for an uncensored explanation!
As mentioned in the Boulevard Lake history above, here are two views of the Current River Dam. The smooth green space in the last photo was the site of the famed "Casino Dine and Dance" which was written about in this blog some time ago. You can click here to read about the "Casino Dine and Dance"
Click on photos to enlarge! .... and thanks to the photographers!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

May 1976 Fort William Gardens I.S.C.A. Car Show....

I just recently purchased a slide converter...you know...to convert slides to digital images. Look what I found in my archives of Lakehead photos. Here are 7 photos of the International Show Car Association car show that came to the Fort William Gardens in May of 1976. The pictures aren't perfect but locals should recognize the cars here as well as maybe their own. The pictures are very "warm" as most slide photos ended up this way. I did take these with my 35mm camera in the day but was not a pro by any means.

I recognize a few cars but I would like some input from the local guys and gals to try put names with the cars...please email me at dcan@tbaytel.net to fill me in!

Here is Fonzie's motorcycle from the "Happy Days" TV show in front of the cool Merc. That puts these photos right on at 1976. Check out the wild custom here and the fast "Cop Rod" below! The local Fuzz could probably use one of these today too...LOL!

On the right here is a vintage I.S.C.A. decal from the earlier years.

Here is a current I.S.C.A. logo and also the Fort William Gardens logo! I.S.C.A. is still around but most people will recognize the "World of Wheels" car show circuit.

Here is how the Fort William Gardens looks today and if you click on the story to the right, thanks to Wikipedia....they spelled out some Fort William Gardens history as well as what may happen to this historic place as time goes on.....Here we go again Thunder Bay...tear down those historic buildings!!!
Click on photos to enlarge...some twice to get higher definition...Thanks!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Stock Car Jockeys and Stories from the 1950`s......

As the search goes on we find more photos of those great stock car jocks from the 1950's and 1960's from here in Fort William and Port Arthur at the CLE grounds race track. Some of the following had sponsors that we finally found addresses for and some of the numbers that we finally found names for. The search continues.
Above is the #45 car(I thought is was #43 for the longest time). The driver we believe is R. E. Strawson and the car was sponsored by Port Arthur Hardware, a short lived business that was at 286 Bay Street in Port Arthur. The present site is Jeweller-Goldsmith at the same address on Bay Street. I must thank my friend Allan Yahn for some of the research on this stuff....he loves doing it, right Al?
Here are a couple of big fat Ford cars....I always thought they looked like big Lady Bugs. I believe that Pappy Fowler of #10 fame was driving the #98 car owned by the Marsonet Brothers at this time and the #97 car we believe was driven by John Cole(obviously nicknamed "Bimbo" after a song of that era.) John was also driving without a sponsor. The color picture to the right is the present site of Breeny's Auto Body, the former site of the Marsonet Brothers garage at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Vicker's Street in Fort William.
We had shown this car once before but needed a second look after finding the second picture at the right. #66 was driven by Fred Danis and was sponsored by Rubin General Construction. The 1959 Henderson directory shows Victor Rubin as a contractor. Here is Fred climbing out of his car after a roll-over and the ever present St. John ambulance attendant is standing by just in case. A member of his #66 crew with pretty clean coveralls is assisting Fred.
Similar to the Fred Danis picture....we are showing Jim Manduca's car once again along with the photo at the right just after he tore out about 25 feet of wooden fence..."Looks like you're OK, Jim".
The left photo here shows the ever present CLE Coliseum at the fairgrounds and one of the animal barns that fanned out just outside of corner 1 at the CLE track. Oh, and one cheapskate who wouldn't pay the 25cents to come inside, possibly standing on a tractor roof!
Please click on photos to enlarge!!