Tuesday, October 25, 2011


In 1908 George Dolcetti started a bicycle repair shop and in 1911 the entrepreneurial businessman went into the automobile business.  George was also the owner of a very sophisticated Essex race car driven by the notable Frank Colosimo.  Frank would later drive the famed “King’s Special”.
This is how Dominion Motors looked in the 1940's - Photo
Courtesy of Jerry McKenzie.
I detect a hot rod in this close-up from the above photos!!

Later, his sons Guido and Alfred operated two separate dealerships, one in Port Arthur, Ontario and one in Fort William, Ontario until Guido’s death in 1968.
This is how Dominion Motors looked in the 1950's - Photo Courtesy of Jerry McKenzie.

In 1970, Alfred amalgamated the two dealerships and moved the entire operation to May Street in Thunder Bay South, the same year that the City of Thunder Bay was established by the amalgamation of the two cities previously mentioned.
Always a familiar sight at the Stock Car Races at the CLE was
the Dominion Motors tow truck.
Here's the Dominion tow truck again
rescuing Prokosh and Zatti!

In 1980 John purchased the business.  Looking toward the future in 1988, John built a new dealership at its present location on Copper Crescent.  After thirty one years as a General Motors dealer, John remains in an advisory capacity today.  Present owner and manager, Tyler Dolcetti, George’s great grandson proudly carries on his family’s legacy into a fourth generation.
 Here is how Dominion Motors looked in the 1970's. The tall facade in the front was removed to make it more modern looking and the used car lot was enlarged. The "Used Cars" building is there to this day. The long curved top building and its attached building belonged to the well known May Auto Parts.  Most of this building is still there today as well.
This is the back of the above postcard.
This is how the complete building looks today.
This is the Ken Peterson Used car lot that used to belong to Dominion Motors.  If you look hard at the 1970 photo above, you can see this.
A recent photo of Tyler Dolcetti.
Dominion Motors looks today.
Thanks to all those who donated photos to this and all other blog posts.  Click on all pictures for enlargements!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Victoria and Brodie Streets, and Victoria and May Streets in Fort William, Ontario.....Do You Remember??

The first photos show the once busy corner in downtown Fort William during the February 1949 Winter Carnival.   This area was host to wonderful business ventures back then as well as respectable clientele.  This is the corner of Victoria Ave and Brodie Street facing south/east.  In this picture you can plainly see the SS Kresge store on the left and the Imperial Bank of Canada across the street.  To the left of it is the Francis Block showing Bourke’s Drug store and the Rutledge Stationery store.  This is well before Victoriaville was built.  Even though this is part of a parade, this is what a typical Saturday shopping day would look like(with people on the sidewalks though).  The next photo is how this corner looks today.

The next photo is Cooper's Ladies wear taken about the same time as the photo above during the Winter Carnival in Fort William in 1949.  Most of the local business along Victoria Ave dressed their store fronts in turn of the century logging and voyageur days decor.

This Aerial shot shows Cooper's Ladies wear on Victoria Ave. with the Royal
Edward Hotel in the foreground. The small advertising on the right is a typical
Newspaper ad from the 1950's for Cooper's.  The next photo courtesy of Jim Hinsperger shows Cooper-Stitt after the major 1971 fire that consumed it, White's Rexall Drug Store and Wishart's Fashion Craft which was just to the left of the Cooper's Store.  By the late 1960's the store was called Cooper-Stitt which had an array of men's and women's fashions.

Some of the photos of the fire appeared earlier on this blog site. 
The photo below is a Brill Bus in front of the building that burned about a year and a half after it was taken.  The drug store at this time was "Lord's" pharmacy.

The "Cooper's" sign is vividly shown near the rear of the bus.  This photo is courtesy of the Scalzo Collection.

This is how the White's Drug Store looked on this corner back in the late 1940's, also showing the Cooper's Ladies Wear store and Wishart's Fashion Craft.  Mr. Wishart was my first employer back in the 1950's.  I would deliver ties to customers by bicycle, do inventory and clean the display cases.  I was only 11 years old when I had this job.

Here is a newspaper ad for White's Rexall Drug Store as well as a typical ad that would appear in a brochure or a church bulletin during the 1940's.  Note the N1347 phone number which meant North 1347.  This was just before dial telephones.  You would pick up your phone.  The operator would say "Central" and you would say "North 1347 please" and you would reach Whites.
The next photo is one that did appear in the blog awhile back to show the Whites Drug Store and Cooper block after the fire in 1971.
The last picture below is how that corner looks now.....pretty quiet and barren, with such a boring building to take the place of the large 3 storey Cooper Block and White's Rexall Drugs.
Thanks to all those who loaned photos to publish including Jim Hinsperger and the Scalzo Collection.  Some more of Jim's photos will appear in coming weeks.
Be sure to click on all photos for enlargements.