Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Clippings - News Chronicle Dec. 18/1939 and Dec. 24/1951 Port Arthur and Fort William without the musty basement and attic odour...

Click on each of these first twelve ads from near Christmas 1939 to see what locals paid for such things as Christmas Dinners and grocery items.

Christmas dinner with entertainment at the Royal Edward Hotel was only $1.00 for adults and half price for children. A family of 5 could have a wonderful outing at Christmas for about $3.50 and no sales tax! Does anyone remember the Service Inn Service Station at Court and Van Norman Streets. We all remember the Thunder Bay Co-op Dairy(it was called that long before the twin cities amalgamated into Thunder Bay). Well....that is the name of the bay out front of the two cities!!

We all remember Marshall Wells, a Canadian hardware, grocery and sundries chain on Cumberland Street in Port Arthur. Does anyone remember the Central Candy Kitchen on Arthur Street in Port Arthur, now Red River Road. Shop-Easy stores were a mainstay around the Lakehead cities right into the 1960's. They had smaller grocery stores in many parts of both cities including the Westfort area....eventually knocked out of business by larger grocery chains. How 'bout Round Steak for .20 cents a pound and two cans of soup for .15 cents.

The Shaw Baking Co. building in Port Arthur was just recently torn down. The Shaw's building in Fort William still exists on the corner of Dease and May streets...with a new tenant of course. Shaw's was THE bakery around here for many years. Another group of stores was the Cut Rate Food Market....they had 4 stores locally in 1939. Look at that....T-bones for .20 cents a pound, and tins of sardines for less than .05 cents a can. LeCocq the Florist was another long time survivor having a store in both Fort William and Port Arthur.

I had to put a bit of the want ad section for this date to let you see some of the prices of things....such as: Rent a 7 room house for only $22.00 a month, 2 X 4 lumber for .10 or .15 cents each, and buy a 1933 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Sedan for $350.00 ...a lot of money in 1939.
Finally for 1939 is what was playing at two Port Arthur theatres, The Colonial and the Lyceum. ............Click on each scan for better detail!!!
The last 5 scans next are moving ahead to Christmas Eve 1951.

Cochrane-Dunlop Hardware was located on Hardisty Street in Fort William. The building still stands today on the far southern end of Hardisty Street.
Heintzman & Co. Limited was on the corner of Syndicate and Victoria Ave, across from Chapples Limited and the Victoria Hotel. It was a well known music store for many years here in Fort William. The best memory from Heintzman's was choosing a record that you may want to buy and playing it for yourself in one of many small isolated booths. They would let you test the record before you bought it, and even though I was only about 10 years old when I first went in there, I was never shooed away, as they believed that a young customer if treated right would return for many years.......and I certainly did! The spot where Heintzman's is now is right inside what is now Victoriaville Mall.

Finally the Mariaggi Hotel(or the Marina Inn which it was called years later).....Here in 1951 you could have Christmas Dinner with you family in one of the more beautiful hotels that graced our waterfront in Port Arthur back then. The Mariaggi was razed to accommodate the new government building(I call the Parthenon) in Port Arthur.
Last but not least is an ad for some great Christmas entertainment at the Colonial, Lyceum and Paramount theatres in Port Arthur. I well remember buying "Famous Players" gift booklets for friends to go to the show!! ENJOY!!


Oats said...

I love these old newspaper posts. But the prices don't seem to be as good as they appear...

According to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, the December 18, 1939 New Chronicle cost 75 cents, which was reality a couple years ago, and the dinner at the Royal Eddie was $15.06 for adults and $7.53 for kids. Not too far off from the tab at a restaurant today but the quality (especially of service) was probably way better in 1939. A family outing of $3.50 in 1939 would cost $52.72 today. Won't get you into Silver City but you can still find something for the family to do for that price today, even when you factor in sales tax.

The top price jumbo roaster would cost over $103.00 which seems steep to me, but I grew up in the Walmart era where you could get three microwaves for that price. The tobaggan above costs 90 bucks in today's dollar. That's a lot. $8.95 for the pop-up toaster is $134.82 today. For a toaster! But, it was state of the art back then!

The Kelvinator would cost $2,967.63 today. Well, if you had that model in working condition today it would probably be priceless. But still, what refigerators do you see costing that much outside of industrial scale models? The DeForest radio costs $1,957.58 in today's dollar and "Liberal Trade-in Allowance" doesn't sound good to someone raised under Chretien and McGuinty!! Cool features though, TV on the radio should come back.

Round steak at $3.01 a pound today is a good deal but you can probably find cheaper. Two tins of Aylmer soup for 15 cents comes out to $2.26 today, which I think is actually more expensive than today's prices. (Though I imagine Aylmer tomato soup actually tasted good in 1939.) The 10 cent tin of pineapple slices would cost $1.51 today, and the mandarin oranges for 99 cents cost $14.91 today. Shipping is much cheaper now but that still seems quite high, to me. I'm sure I can find a tin of pineapples and a box of oranges for half price, even at local grocers.

$5,272.44 for a 6 year old car isn't too bad. $331.41 for an entire 7 room house is amazing. If I found 60 dollar storm doors today I think I would be suspicious of their quality.

Looks like even back then people shyed away from Merry Christmas for inexplicable reasons. I see a lot of "seasons greetings" which I think is even more non-religious than Happy Holidays. (At least holiday is derived from the word holy.)

I was always wondering what the fossilized paint on (what I call) the Northern Windows building said. Was the Shaw bakery at May and Dease in the white Mount McKay Ceramics building? Would have been nice if the bakery on Algoma could have been put to similar uses, it was a cool building.

Dave said...

Much food for thought for sure. The Shay Bakery was on the north/east corner of May and Dease. The same building exists today and by google maps without taking the trip over there, the sign on the side says Mastercraft Heating and Sheet Metal and also B & B Cabinets and Furniture.
Oh and I don't believe the people were shying away from Merry Christmas.....It was such a simpler time that no one made issue over the season as they do today.......It was always Merry Christmas in some way or another!