Thursday, January 26, 2012

Port Arthur Motors, Kam Motors, "old" and "new" cars......Gary Spence Photos

These photos aren't really from the old Hot Rods or Jalopy era but it is a time when the old style business fronts were coming to an end.  You don't see many businesses today with this type of design.  A big thank you to Gary Spence for the use of these great early 1980's photos and Google for the 2009 ones.  We start off with a 1981 photo of Port Arthur Motors on the corner of Court and Pearl Streets in Thunder Bay postal station "P" as they used to say (formerly Port Arthur, Ontario).

The picture on the left is how that corner looks has been a couple of restaurants once Port Arthur Motors closed but now it is Tony & Adams Restaurant.  That beautiful "new" Camaro in the first picture is shown close up here.

This is a very nice picture of Gary's beautiful 1956 Chevy Belair 4-door hardtop, taken just across Court Street in 1981 in the Port Arthur Motors new car lot. 
I had a '57 Chevy Belair 4-door hardtop back in the 1960's and always liked the roof lines better on the 4 than the 2 door model.  Nice car Gary!!

On the left you can click for a larger photo to see the spot where Gary's '56 was parked and how the lot looks today.  On the right is what you would see in Port Arthur Motors used car lot in 1964.  My favourite car there is the 1959 Pontiac Parisienne 4-door hardtop......I want to go back.....!!!

This is how the PAM used car lot looked in 2009...not sure who uses it or why!  The gable roofed house in the background of this photo and the old b&w photo is still there!

Here is Gary's '56 again in front of the place I spent many weekends.  This is Kam Motors on the Thunder Bay postal station "F" (Fort William, Ontario) side of town where my dad was the Body Shop Mgr. for over 30 years of his life.  It was "THE" place to go and view all the new Chev/Olds and Cadillac cars each year in late September when all the new models were released.  I purchased many of my old Chevy's from Kam back then.  The guy vacuuming out the taxi is parked pretty much in the same place as Gary's car, and look how the building changed by 2009.  It is presently the home of Diamond/Lacey's Taxi and Ace Automotive......well at least the building is still standing...not like so many other historic structures here.  Diamond Taxi and Lacey's Taxi are each very well known taxi stands dating back to the 1940's here at the Lakehead.

Check out the "new" "Z's" in Kam Motors new car lot directly across the street from the Show Room photo above.....and here is how the lot pretty much looked in 2009 and today its full of much more junk.

Now were are standing down inside the new car lot looking towards the Show Room.  We are looking at those great early 1980's Chevrolet's....This became pretty much the end of an car design started to take on that smooth rounded look making all cars look like clones of each other.  The last photo on the right is taken near the same spot as Gary's photo....showing all the changes and deterioration from time.  Click on all photos for enlargements.
Gary, thanks again for the photos.  I hope you all enjoy them as much as I have.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fort William Winter Carnival Buttons and one Thunder Bay.....

I just thought it would be interesting to add a photo of my buttons from the various winter carnivals here in Fort William and Port Arthur(Thunder Bay), since the next post is all about the Fort William Winter Carnival of 1949.  Unfortunately the button my dad wore in the picture in the next post has long since been misplaced, but above you will see a larger wooden advertising from the 1963 winter carnival as well as a matching button, one from the Fort William Rendezvous 1951, one from the 1956 Fort William Winter Carnival as well as a functional wooden nickel from the same year.  Finally a button from the Thunder Bay Winter Carnival in 1985.  It would be nice to get a scan or photo of any other carnival buttons from Fort William or Port Arthur.  Please send me photos if you have any.  Thanks, Dave

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The 1949 Fort William Winter Carnival -- with old cars, old buildings and great memories!!

Well, here we are January 31, 1949 with probably the best winter carnival Fort William Ontario ever had....there were others in later years but this to me was the best.  I was about 5 years old and I still remember it.  This picture to the right is my father who entered the beard growing contest then with the quintessential carnival chapeau, plaid fur lined jacket and a carnival pin stating that he had won the contest for the best "Van Dyke" beard.  My dad is still kicking today at 92 years looked great pop.  Hard to believe that this carnival was 63 years ago and my dad was a mere 29.  This is the largest post I have ever done but I couldn't do it justice in pieces and had to add all the photos to one BIG blog post......hope you don't mind!

Would you look at that, 3 Chevy's and 1 Ford in the old is the 1949 picture of the Victoria Block done up like an old trading post during the carnival.  It was incredible how the businesses went out of their way to add to the carnival excitement.  In contrast is a 2010 photo of the same building.....hard to believe that it is actually the same place with the urban deterioration going on here!  FOOTNOTE:  A very sharp observer noted that there were post 1949 cars in the above photo, and with further research, realized that that particular photo was from the 1956 Fort William Winter on comments at the end of this post!

 Be sure to click on all of these to enjoy them enlarged.  This is the corner of Brodie Street and Donald Street as you can see from the present day photo....the big church in the photo is St. Andrews and the city hall old and new would be just to the left of all these pictures.  Shaw's bakery was one of  "the" business icons in those days, as well as Ogilvie Oats, depicted in the float picture to the right.  The Ogilvie elevator now closed and deteriorated was just south of the CPR station on Syndicate Ave.

2010 Photo of Brodie and Donald Streets.

When I first saw these photos, I had to really think about where they were, but the givaway was the Noll's Motor Car building on the right.  It was a Studebaker dealer then.  It later became Kam Motors depot in the 1950's and after that was a drug store, the March of Dimes and a few other businesses.  You are looking at the corner of Donald and Syndicate ave., facing west and a bit north.  All the houses that you see except for a few way down the block are long gone to build...(you guessed it) ....the parkade for Victoriaville.  If you turn right at the street(Syndicate Ave.), you would drive right up the Parkade ramp or or go around it to go to the Income Tax office.
This left photo is the Kangaroo Court float and the one with the Bull on the front is the Great Lakes Paper Company float.  Another reminder to click on all the photos,

 Look at all the people that supported the city events in those days.  The photo to the right is how that corner looks today....what a contrast.

The is how the side of Noll Motors(Later Kam Motors depot) looked in 1949.
The float is the other Bread Company Parnell's "Mr Butternut, the best loafer
in town.

This is how the side of the building looks today.

Here's a nice photo of the Victoria Grill and Hotel decked out as Death Valley Scotty's as well as the barber shop next door as Silver Spur Barber.  Look at the optician next door.  The windows are like a pair of glasses....DO YOU REMEMBER??

This is the same corner as above but taken from a different angle.  Yes, the "Vic" was on the corner of Victoria Ave and Syndicate Ave....the same spot as the Royal Bank building shown here in 2010.  Well even the Royal Bank is gone from there now.....Time to tear it all down and rebuild the "VIC"  ....I doubt that!!!

This is the "White's Drug Store"corner of May Street(NE corner) and Victoria Ave, all decked out for the carnival.  The next small photo shows the complete corner in 1949 and how the corner looks today after a devistating fire back in 1963 that destroyed all the businesses and more that are shown in the first small picture here. 

Before the fire, many of the business had already changed names, but it was a drug store here called Drug World.  I remember going with my dad to see this spectacular fire and how it looked the next an ice palace.  It's bad enough that we lose so many historic buildings to fires but too many are blatantly torn dorn for a parking lot or other meaningless reasons.

This is the flip side (SW corner) of the old White's Drug Store building above and how it looked in 1949 and 2010.
This is the next corner west of May Street.  It is Victoria Ave and Brodie Street how it looked with all those 1949 parade supporters and the Kresge store on the left and how that same corner looks today.
Here is how Willson's Stationery and Rutledge Stationery stores decorated for the carnival and how that corner looked in 2010

Here's the Paul Bunyan Band marching right through what is now Victoriaville Mall.....note the Chapples Department Store in the background.

This is part of the Chapples Limited float parked behing Chapples with a big smoking Voyageur on board.  He is wearing the 1949 tam just as my dad and his friend did in the very last photo below.  The Ice Fort photo on the right is of unknowns(let me know if you recognize anyone in this picture).  The picture was taken in front of the old City Hall.  The picture below with the Ice Palace in the background was taken at the old McKellar Park, which was behind the present day Fort William Gardens and Curling Club.  It was a popular spot to gather and start parades from in those days.  There was a baseball diamond, a football field and small bleechers there.  The present day McKellar Park School occupies some of the large piece of property that is once was.
This final picture is of my dad John Cano and his friend and work associate at Kam Motors Archie Bott, taken just in front of the almost completed Ice Palace shown above at McKellar Park.  Wool Pants...itchy or what!!
  I must thank "Gateway to Northern Ontario History" for some of the wonderful pictures above but most of all I have to thank the original photographers of these pictures as without them, we wouldn't have these great historical shots.  Click on pictures to enlarge!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Jalopies and Service Stations in Fort William Ontario.........

Sorry about the condition of this photo...This is how I got it...and love the patina.  This photo shows Jim Walker as the driver of this car and as you will see below, local driver Ross "Pappy" Fowler also drove this car, but not sure who totalled it.  The jalopy is parked on the north/west corner of Vickers St and Victoria Ave in the front of Marsonet Brothers Service Station(Red Marsonet proprietor).  This is the present day location of Breeny's and Apple Auto Glass.

Click on all pictures to enlarge them.  The colour photo is the present day location of the car above.  The jalopy above is parked about where the sign is.  To the right is a program photo of Jim Walker who also drove this car.

This is an ad from the 1953 Canadian Lakehead Exhibition racing program showing "Pappy" as the driver and a very nice "B-A all the way" ad.

Here is a nice little Fort William Times Journal Newspaper ad for Ace Tire and Battery Service and the colour picture at the same location is Harmer's Quality Auto Service.  Many Tire and Battery service centres were at this location over the years at the corner of May and Leith Streets.

The newspaper clipping says this lot was opposite the Flamingo Club.  The Flamingo Club at one time was "THE" place to go to have your special party or wedding reception.  A newer yellow brick building is there now.  Well.... I guess I'll date myself and say that my wedding reception was at the Flamingo Club before it got "skunky" and before it was torn down.

This is the present location of the Kam Motors used car lot above, on the corner of Dease and May Streets......Aw yes...this is the crime capitol of this area for 2011!!!!  ...The Mac's Store.

Conrad Trombelli ran Con's Service at the corner of May and Cummings Street in Fort William.  He also wrecked a few Deuce Coupe' know......1932 Ford Coupe's, immortalized by the Beach Boys Song "Little Deuce Coupe".  Here is Con's car on its lid as a pit steward looks on and waits for the tow wonder all steel '32 Ford Coupes are so rare today.........!!

Last but not least is where Conrad's White Rose station used to be back then.  More empty lots waiting to be turned into parking lots around the new Thunder Bay Courthouse I suppose.