Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas & Winter on the way - Local Winters then and now...1917 to 2012

Continuing with our pre Christmas and early winter photos, you may remember some of these were posted before.  we were asked to re post some of these pictures and took the opportunity to use them today. 
The first photo is probably the most talked about corner in the history of Fort William, Ontario, mainly because it does not exist anymore due to the building of the beloved Victoriaville Centre(beloved is definitely stated as tongue in cheek).  Click on all the photos to see the interesting signs and old landmarks of the day(1939) of which none are left except the fact that some of the structures actually exist inside Victoriaville.
All those things that look like birds in the sky are the the turns and "frogs" for the overhead trolley lines as they make their way around the corners.

Rudils was just to the left of Gillespie Drug store around the corner on Syndicate Ave.

This is the exact spot inside today's Victoriaville where Gillespie Drugs shown above was located.  Through the swinging doors straight out and to the right would have been Rudils Food Bar.  Rudils also had a Port Arthur Ontario Location.
This 1939 photo is taken just east of the one above.  Many old landmarks are shown in here such as McCartney Jewelers, Mahon Electric, Wishart's Fashion Craft(which later was moved down Victoria Ave to the Cooper Block and destroyed by a spectacular fire in about 1971).  Wishart's here became Woolworth's into the late 1940's and 1950's.  The sign behind and below Wisharts says Hudson Bay Blankets.  It is the bottom of another sign behind the Wishart one, which stated The Hudson's Bay Company, later to become The Metropolitan Store.  S. S. Kresge five and dime is further down. 

In later years there was a second story added to the Woolworth
Store shown here inside Victoriaville.  The store on the left
was Mahon Electric which also sold furniture.
The clock shown here is presently for sale at a local antique shop and if clicked on you will faintly read McCartney and Burke(in faded white) with the word Jewelers in black.  It is the very same clock shown in the above black and white photo below the McCartney Jeweler sign back in 1939.  My friend Bob's dad, a clock maker then, had actually worked on this clock at one time.  It should truly be in our museum.

Here is a close-up of the Mahon Electric sign with an arch of pine bows below stating Merry Xmas...yes they actually did that then too.  The photo here was taken on the same corner as the above photos(Victoria Ave and Syndicate Ave).  It vividly shows a street car coming down Victoria Ave having to deal with tons of snow.  This photo was actually taken in 1917.  It is very difficult to make out any signs of the day.

This next photo has been published on this blog before but is one of my favourite photos of downtown Fort William Ontario during the Christmas season circa 1970.  It was a busy place in those days and the shoppers are taking advantage to the mild weather here to do some Christmas shopping.  In the distance is the old Holiday Inn which is now refurbished into condominiums.  Everyone took pride in their business and all the store fronts were filled, not like the deterioration of that area today as shown by the next picture.

This is how the same area above looks today.  This photo was taken just yesterday and shows the grungy appearance of this area of Fort William that used to be another important business and commerce area of our city at Victoria and May Streets.

A few more then and now photos are next!
Here is the old T&M Grill circa 1970.  It was on the corner of Leith and Simpson Street in Fort William.  It was the major haunt for the staff of Kam Motors Limited just down Leith Street from here.  My dad being the Body Shop manager of Kam Motors(Chevrolet Oldsmobile Dealer) would spend time here on his coffee or lunch breaks and in the summer months as a kid would meet him here for lunch.
A T&M matchbook cover from my collection. 

The store on the right with the Pepsi Sign in the same photo is the old Palace Confectionery where my gear head friends and myself would purchase all our Rod & Custom and Hot Rod magazines.

This is how the corner of Leith and Simpson looks today.  The 145(old T&M Grill) on the
corner is now The General Appliance Centre and the old Palace Confectionery is now empty
like so many other businesses in downtown old Fort William, Ontario. 

Here is another before and after circa 1970 on South Syndicate Avenue across from the old CPR Station.  Constantines confectionery is now just a warehouse.  Even though the words "The Arcade" were covered over even in 1970, they are actually shown in the today photo.  There is no known history as to why the building was called "The Arcade".  Oh yes...The Supreme Cleaners sign is still there...go figure!


As a kid I always remember how beautiful our city hall looked during the Christmas Season.

I believe the old building above had much more character....we did need a more modern building however, BUT...did they have to tear down this beautiful structure?   With all the land around here, a new city hall should have been built around intercity to keep both Port Arthur and Fort William people happy after amalgamation in 1970. 
Some things however never change...look at the beautiful Canadian Pacific Railway Station building.  It looks the same in the early 1960's as it does today.....I believe its a bit of a miracle that it still stands today in a city that constantly tears down historic buildings.

Dec 7, 2012
Early 1960's

Here's the 5351 and the 5307 barrelling through the CPR yards in the snow near Hardisty Street in Fort William in the 1950's....what a sight they can close your eyes and imagine the sound as they went by.


Finally - Here is an unbelievable contrast of time between 1963 and 2012.  Skidoo has truly morphed from fly to wasp through the years.

Thanks to all those who donated pictures for this post including Scotty Fraser.  They are all fantastic photos.  HR&J hope you enjoy them all, and as usual be sure to click on each and every photo for enlargements.  D.

No comments: