Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Port Arthur, Ontario....More, Then and Now......

These photos show us what a bustling pair of communities we lived in during the first third of the 20th Century.  Most of the ornate, architectural wonders have long been torn down or were left to deteriorate on their own with no pride in what we once had as a city.  Modernization and urban renewal isn't always the answer.....we must maintain much of our heritage or the younger people will never understand how things once were.....or do they really care?....Time will tell.  Click on all photos for enlargements.
This is an excellent photo looking down what used to be Arthur Street in Port Arthur, Ontario before amalgamation.(Now Red River Road)  It was taken during the 1939 Canadian Royal Tour when the King and Queen came to Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario.

You can see the sign on the left in the photo which states Rudils Bar B-Q.  These are the front and back of a match book from that restaurant.  The Fort William Rudils was on Syndicate Ave., just north of Victoria Ave., on the east side...which would be just north of the present day Victoriaville and close to the new Court House presently being built.

This is what the above scene looks like today....pretty boring and run down!
This following photo is Brill Trolley #202 at the most northern end of the Port Arthur bus route in the late 1940's or early 1950's.  The turn around was just before the hill going up to Hodder Ave., on the northern end of Cumberland Street.  As a kid, we used to ride the Brill's from way over in Fort William near the Car Barns on Walsh Street and with free transfers could do the round trip for 10 cents.  It was pretty cheap entertainment for a couple of youngsters in the 1950's.  I believe it was later extended to the end of Hodder Ave., as that area got built up.

The turn around shown above would be just to the left of this photo and before curbing was installed there.
The following two photos show the corner of Cumberland and Arthur Streets in Port Arthur, Ontario during the days when most of the buildings were architectural wonders.  The Canadian Bank of Commerce building in the foreground was an incredibly beautiful structure in those days...but not only did our city not care about this building, the Commerce Bank didn't either, so they tore it down to build an uninteresting modern structure.

Bulldoze it down....nobody will notice or care!!

Now its called the CIBC - and only a few noticeable interesting structures survive in the area.
The Central Candy Kitchen and Ice Cream Parlor was an extremely popular place during the beginning of the 2oth century.  It was located on Arthur Street(now Red River Road) in Port Arthur Ontario.  Check the prices of the Phosphates and Sodas on the price sheet in the middle....CLICK ON TO ENLARGE.  This is a menu from my own collection.

The address on the menu says 216 Arthur Street and the address on the ad says 220 Arthur Street.  They likely moved down the street after a huge fire on the corner of Arthur Street and St Paul Street during this time.  The small black and white photo above from the early part of the 29th century shows the Candy Kitchen on the far right of the picture. (Sorry, its not a great photo...but the photographer states that the Candy Kitchen is the building on the far right.)
This is the actual place the Central Candy Kitchen was located, just east of Kim Lee's restaurant.
The following are actual cheques written by the City Dray Line, one in 1948 and one in 1952.  By enlarging these cheques you can see the old graphic art in the middle as well as the old postage stamps of the time.

This is where City Dray Line was located....just to the north of Barb's Laundromat on Algoma Street in what was Port Arthur, Ontario.

This is a great photo of the Northern Hotel in Port Arthur just after it was built in 1885.  It later became the Mariaggi and after that, The Marina Inn.  In a website called Skyscrapers, it is stated that this building when torn down was probably the largest loss of an historic structure in the whole of Thunder Bay, and the other large loss was the historic Fort William city hall.
It was a beautiful building with balconies and hand rail as shown here.

In the early 1930's all the ornate pieces were removed, and another storey was added to the hotel when it became The Mariaggi.

This is an ink blotter from the same era as the above photo showing the prices of the rooms and noted that it housed Port Arthur's most popular restaurant, The Port Arthur Cafe, and also housed a bus depot called International Transit Lines.  Wow, a room with a bath $2.00.

This is the front and rear scan of a mineral bath tablet box that would have been given to patrons to enjoy a wonderful scented bath.  It's incredible that it has survived all these years.

This is a photo that I took myself in 1987 just before it was sadly
demolished to build the new Province of Ontario Building.
Here is a Christmas ad for the Mariaggi, advertising their Christmas Dinner that you could take your family to, instead of having to cook at home.(Sorry, not a great scan.)

Here is a colour photo taken about the same time as the one above.

Finally here is how that corner looks today.  The government building is a beautiful structure by today's standards, but consider how wonderful it would have been to see the restored Marina Inn standing today in all its splendour done like the Northern Hotel Photo above. 
Thanks go out to all those photographers who through the years have preserved the memory of all the wonderful old buildings here in the Thunder Bay.

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