Sunday, December 30, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 to you from us at HRandJ......

Three quotes to start off your new year:
- Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us all to get it right!  Oprah Winfrey.
- May the dawning of this New Year open up new horizons and bring you a brighter tomorrow!  Anon.
- May you discover everything you are looking for right inside yourself!  Anon.
 Happy New Year


BUT - if you DRINK and DON'T DRIVE, you'll need.......................

Is this you????....
....or is this you????....

Or maybe this is you!!!!....
 If so.... you will need some of the following signs and products.

Dill Pickles
Bananas for replacement Potassium.

A disgusting remedy...

Something to coat your stomach!!

Maybe you'll need a real cure................Check these out! 
Have a wonderful time this New Years Eve, and have a Happy and Prosperous New Year but DON'T DRINK & DRIVE. 
Tune in for more great stuff in 2013..... on all prints and photos to enlarge them. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Anytown Canada, Northern USA, or Fort William Ontario in the 1940's....

These wonderful winter photos could very well be from here in Thunder Bay(well one is).  The clarity of these pictures are incredible and a must share with anyone who enjoys vintage photography.  This week during Christmas and New Years day is always a time for myself and family to reflect on our past and be grateful for what we have in today's modern world, however, as you can see from these photographs that everyone was as happy as can be enjoying life on a day to day basis back when things were simpler and sometimes happier.
This house looks exactly like the one in the movie "A Christmas Story" only missing the 1937 Oldsmobile in the driveway and the Leg Lamp in the window.  The kids are having a great time sliding down the small hill.  This photo was taken in 1940.
Here we have a 1928/29 Ford Cabriolet with opera windows.  I have never seen a soft top with windows like this before.  Oval windows like this were mostly used in commercial vehicles such as roadster pickups.  This photo was taken in 1940.
Here is one more 1940 photograph which could have been taken in any small town Canada or Northern USA.  This is a wonderful picture of a young man on his bicycle with all the great 1930's cars along the street and all the store fronts decorated as they did in that era.  It almost looks like a movie set.
Here we have a January 1943 photo of a caboose man cave....wouldn't any guy love to have this on his property.  The girly photos etc. may have been allowed in those days but not now.  Times have sure changed on the railroad.  The end of the caboose era was about 1990 mainly due to the fact that rail cars had roller bearings by then and there was no need to watch for hot boxes(?) or worn bearings at that time(I hope i am fully correct on that data).

This last picture is a favourite of mine although the quality is poor.  It was taken near where I lived as a kid.  Looking at the picture the CNR engine (Circa 1950) is turning down a spur at the corner of Marks and Arthur Streets in Fort William.  The CNR spur turned east just behind the Kingsway Motel, headed down Arthur Street with a gradual turn north at Marks Street and headed down Vickers Street to reconnect to the Main Line, with a station just before the Fort William Gardens.
In the picture, a small elevator called the Davidson Elevator is just behind the train.  That property is now called West Arthur Place where the Spence Clinic is today.
MacDonald Equipment Co. on the right which faced Marks Street is now a portion of the parking lot for West Arthur Place.  Ray's Esso Service station which faced Arthur Street would be behind the picture taker.
For a little more data about this CNR spur click on this link
....then reture to this post.
Thanks to our friends at for some of the great photos above....and as usual BE SURE TO CLICK ON ALL THE PHOTOS TO ENLARGE THEM.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our 2012 Christmas Card to You

Many thanks to our son Jay for his great work producing and editing this Christmas Card.....also a huge thank you to all those who have donated photos and ideas throughout the past year, including my proof reader Al. 
Click on the ARROW to play, "X" out any ads that appear at the bottom
Click on the icon on the bottom right side to view full screen, then
Click escape button to return to blog when done.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Early Thunder Bay Theatres and Top 10 for Christmas 2012

While winding down the Christmas countdown for this year, it was interesting to check the Internet to get a few top 10 lists of viewers Christmas Films.  The favorite top 10 are below with a complete documented history of each film at the end of this post, and also showing the awards which they had won.

Here are some of the old local theatres in Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario where you may have seen some of the older films back in the day.  I had actually watched the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol to my total fright at about age 8, and had nightmares about it for years.
Be sure to click on all the photos for a larger view.


"It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" were such a contrast in how we viewed Christmas in the 1940's and then again in the 1980's.  Both these top 2 films are my personal all time favourites.


The Bing Crosby song "White Christmas" which is still the most sold single recording of all time was actually introduced in the 1942 film "Holiday Inn" shown here.  It won an academy award that year and also 12 years later in 1954 won another academy award for the film named after the original single.


Here is the page 1 and page 2 lists of the above films, who starred in them and what awards they had won.  Click on these once or twice to read the data.

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.