Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter in Fort William and Port Arthur - Christmas and/or Winter Related Part 1

As we are abruptly placed right in the middle of winter here in Northwestern Ontario, a number of memories of winters past come to mind. This first 10 photos with explanations will start some winter tales and interesting data!

Albert Massaro, actually not in either of these photos did very successfully drive the little #88 (The Popcorn Special) to compete with the super modifieds that started to travel north from the USA during the 1961 and 1962 racing season at the CLE. The first picture on the float, however says 63 on the side....Well, the 63 stands for the year of one our our most successful winter carnivals in Port Arthur and Fort William. So.....on the float in beards are whom??? ...And, under the year '63 is actually #88. Albert's pit crew is shown in the summer months photo in 1962 so you can see what that cool old Popcorn Special looked like.

WOW...Hot Rods of the Railroad.......here in Fort William. Thanks to my wife's cousin Bill Bishop and an associate of his, Ray Matthews, we have descriptions of these two incredible Huff and Puff locomotives that graced the rails here in our twin cities. These photos were taken in the yard just east of Hardisty Street in Fort William....data as follows:
Bill says, the CP 5307 shown in the first photo here is a 2-8-2 Mikado(class P2A) and was built in June 1919 at CP Angus Shops and scrapped in May of 1957.
Ray says that this engine had been an Ontario engine in the 1940's but by 1949 was assigned to Kamloops, BC., working west out of there...and in '52 was assigned to Kenora, Ont., but after repairs at Weston Shops in Oct '55 was sent to Moose Jaw Sask.....working west from there to Swift Current Sask., until about April '57 when it was sent for scrapping.

Bill says that in the second photo you see CP 5351 coming off the shop track and appears to be taken in the late fall or early winter. The Kam River is still open and the Empire elevator and the crane at the CPR coal dock in the East end of Fort William are visible in the background. 5351 was a 2-8-2 Mikado (class P2A) which was built in April of 1924 at the Montreal Locomotive Works and scrapped in June of 1957.
Ray says that according to his records the 5351 was around Fort William and Port Arthur a lot through from the early 1950's until being scrapped at Weston(Winnipeg) on June 27, 1957. It had been at Weston waiting for repairs from about the mid 1950's. It was shown as coming from the Manitoba District at that time but was indeed assigned to Fort William in 1952.
Thanks guys.....The memory I have is that where we lived on Arthur St. in Fort William, the steam engines went right down our street. My dad had to put 4 nails on each picture on the wall to hold them straight and my mother had a railway schedule on the wall in the kitchen so that she knew when to hang her clothes on the line to avoid the soot!!! Oh...how I miss the soot and the smell of the coal and steam. Remember putting pennies on the track before the train came. It would flatten them out to about 3 times their size.
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Here, CP 1405 is what I believe is an F-7 "A" and "B" unit Diesel Engine just leaving the Fort William CPR station pushing a bit of snow in winter with passenger cars in tow heading south then west and taken just under the famed Jacknife bridge about a quarter mile from the station. The next picture is to show you the paint scheme for the 1950's. This is a museum photo of a similar engine(Sorry, I couldn't resist editing the picture to put the number 1405 in the ID plate).


Here is another paint scheme drawing and the specs of an F3 Locomotive. This next picture also shown in winter is the beautiful Port Arthur CPR station which I will do an exclusive post on in coming months. Water street today would pretty much pass right through this building.

This first one here is a wonderful winter Ken Crooks donated photo taken in the 1940's. The photographer is standing on top of the CPR station on Syndicate Ave in Fort William. You can see a rail streetcar heading south down Syndicate Ave. A late 1930's taxi is in the photo and a Winchester Cigarette ad is on a billboard across the street. The street branching to the right is Isabella Street and the large old building on the corner there is presently Caesar's Place where they make the best Calzone's in town.
The last picture here is the Fort William city hall post card taken at Christmas in the 1940's. Our present day Thunder Bay city hall is on the same property. It was always a beautiful sight to see throughout the 1950's at Christmas and brings back a ton of memories.
More snow and Christmas posts to come and again...be sure to DRIVE SOBER, and be careful throughout the weeks coming to Christmas and New Years.
click on photos to enlarge....

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi: Caesar's Place has the best PANZEROTTI'S in town not calzone's. I'm not sure if they even have calzone's on the menu. The biggest panzerotti you can buy there to eat is so big 2 people can easily share it. Merry Christmas & a Happy 2011. Cheers!!!

Dave said...

I stand corrected....I actually don't know what the difference is!! Thanks for your comment, Dave

Per said...

gary spence turned me to your blog here.real nice work man..simply great.

Dave said...

Thanks Much, Dave