Friday, February 1, 2013

Stock Cars in Winter...Fort William Ontario...

This is a great colour photo of Albert Massaro's "Popcorn Special" as it passes the "Peter Pan Dry Cleaners" building on Simpson Street in 1963.  Note that the number on the car is the year of the carnival, not Albert's famed #88.  This is of course the Lakehead Stock Car Club float entered in the Fort William Winter Carnival of 1963..... how we miss the old days.  Peter Pan dry cleaners was at 236 Simpson Street, just east of Bethune Street.
This is how the spot looks today, and sadly most of Simpson Street looks much like this.  I don't believe that anything could be done today to help bring this area back to what it once was.  As a child visiting both my grand parents on Dease St., and on Heron St., I could walk anywhere by myself and not worry about getting mugged....and my parents felt the same.

Here is Albert Massaro dressed as Carnival King beside his "Popcorn Special" in front of the CLE building on Northern Ave.  The CLE sign looks the same today.
Click on each photo for enlargements.
Here is the same float in front of the Canadian Pacific Railway Station on Syndicate Ave. in Fort William.  The station looks much the same today.
Here's the Popcorn Special as it was in the summer of 1962 with the correct 88 number on the side with Albert inside and his pit crew on the rail.  This photo was taken at the old CLE track in the pit area across from the old Grandstand.  The pit area would be pretty much inside where the Golf Dome stands today.
Here we have a very rare photo which was donated by Tom Dow.  It is Barry Kettering's original race car #00 sometimes fondly remembered as "The Snitch Special" taken during the Murillo Speedway days circa 1950.  If you click to enlarge it you will see Barry's name below the side window as driver and the words "Kettering Special" further back on the side.  The photo was taken late in the fall at a race in Murillo.  The car was in a ditch as the snow started to fall heavily.  A couple of young on-lookers were not deterred by the weather, and obviously neither was Barry.  There is much more on Barry and Albert further back in this can do a search in the small box at the very top left of the main blog page above the title photo.

Thanks to Tom Dow and others who have donated photos for use on Hot Rods and Jalopies, and much thanks to all those who email photos as without them, there would be no history pages such as this.
One final note: Long before Ice Racing was started here in Thunder Bay, many of the boys of summer - stock car jockeys, would bring their cars out to the ice at various locations around town to show what their cars could do in winter conditions.

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