Saturday, May 18, 2013

CKPR Radio - "THE EARLY YEARS" in Fort William and Port Arthur....

Many thanks to David Ross for his wonderful photos, enlightening phone calls, and informative documentation on the early years of CKPR Radio.  Dave sent me the bulk of the photos shown here, and many more as well, many which I can't fit into this post, but are general local photos of interest that will be added to future posts. 

The following very interesting history of CKPR by Dave Ross will begin this post.  Be sure to click on the story to enlarge it and read it to then end.  Also, click on all the photos as well.  The photos after the story will help fill in many blanks.
Here is David Ross - younger and a little older!

On the left is Dave's dad, Thompson Ross, one taken in the early years and one in the 1960's.  That is Dave's Mustang to the right.  On the right here is a photos of how the studio looked when it was in the Royal Edward Hotel way back in 1931.  The logo on the left is "Miss CKPR".  It was created and carved by Mr. Norman Hindle of Fort William in the 1930's and remains a futuristic symbol of the company.

The two pictures below are of Thompson Ross' 1931 Pontiac.  Notably, the car was from the Dougall Motor Car Company as was written on the spare tire cover.  Tom was given the car for every day use scooting around the twin cities dealing with engineering issues for the station.

Tom Ross in his 1931 Pontiac Coupe.

Dougall Motor Car Company was located on 118 Violet Street off May Street near the old Times Journal building.  My historian Al Yahn found that it was Dougall Motors from 1929 to 1931.  Prior to 1929 it was called "Hart's Garage"  ...proprietor being Harry Hart.  After H. F. Dougall of Dougall Motor Car Company purchased CKPR radio the building would become Thornes-Sargent Automotive service (ad shown on the left).  The building would burn to the ground I believe late in the 1940's.  A picture of how it looks today and where it stood is shown above.  Note the rear of the old Commerce Bank facade is on the left of the photo. (click to enlarge)

One more picture of Tom Ross' Pontiac taken in the winter with unknown
ladies driving it.

The above is a portion of Mr. H. F. Dougall's WWI escapades.
This is the present day site of the CKPR
Transmitting station shown to the left. 
It is the present day Superstore Gas Stn.
On the left is the original transmitting station on Memorial Ave.  You can see that there was just bush around there then, and some of the tower lines are shown behind the building.  The photos below is just the reverse of the one above.  One was taken on the CKPR property, and faced Memorial Ave.  You can see the CNR passenger train just as it finished crossing Memorial Ave.  The other was taken just a little more to the north, and shows what Memorial Ave looked like back then.

This is the same position as the older photo
showing the present day Lakehead Motors
car lot.

This is also the same position as the older
photo to the left showing the present day
Lakehead Motors building.

These two photos of the same CKPR tower (a day and night photo).  They were located pretty much right in the middle of the present day Superstore parking lot.
Present day site of the two CKPR towers.

The photo on the left shows the Mount Baldy tower when it was first build.  The photo on the right is a circa 1960 photo of the Mount Baldy Ski Club.  The tower can be seen on the right at the top of the hill.  I remember that tower myself as I did frequent Baldy during the 1950's and 1960's.  It was a great place to ski and is the oldest ski club in the Thunder Bay area.

On the left is the 1960 photo of Ralph Parker's CFPA radio station.  The photo on the right show the building today which pretty much looks the same except for the Sign at the top.

On the left is a copy of a 1952 Radio License, required at the time by anyone owning a radio, be it in your home or your vehicle.  The "Footnote on Canada" notation above is from a US website covering all radio station history in North America.
It is interesting to note how much money the government was collecting just on Radio ownership, but over time, it was just too difficult to police, and was dropped completely.
The next two photos are my favourite photos that Dave Ross loaned to me.  They are both circa 1961 and are both taken by Dave when he was setting up an antenna on the northern end of the old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition grandstand building early in the morning at the beginning of fair week.  Be sure to click on both of these to enlarge them and note the great detail from your past, including the original "Welcome to Port Arthur" arch, and the original Co-op Dairy milk bottle.  Scroll left to right of the pictures once you enlarge them.
At this time, I would like to thank Dave again for the opportunity to do this post and to my good friend Allan Yahn who helps me research the history on many of the blog posts.  Allan did the research on the actual location of the Dougall Motor Car Company for this post.
Finally, I would like to thank all the photographers who thankfully took literally thousands of photos from our past around the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur....without which we would recall nothing of our past.