Saturday, August 24, 2013

RIGHT HERE IN OUR HOME TOWN - Dirk and Trudy Regter - 1915 Model T Ford World Tour for SOS Children's Villages......

Because of the lack of media coverage for this incredible event I feel the need to publish this local feel good story. 
Update:  ....Well.....with encouragement from Clarence Merko and myself the local newspaper "The Chronicle Journal" did a bang-up job in the Wednesday Aug. 28, 2013 week after their arrival.  Thanks to Greg Giddens at the CJ.

Dirk and Trudy Regter from Holland have taken upon themselves to tour the world in a 1915 Ford Model T Touring to raise funds for a wonderful cause, the SOS Children's Villages "a loving home for every child".
I had a "head's up" from George Rogers in Winnipeg that the tour would be passing through Thunder Bay from Thursday Aug 22 through Monday Aug 26.  I had called Clarence Merko and a few members of the Lakehead Antique Car Club and others locally to help with the welcome.  The car was at the local cruise night sponsored by Canadian Tire on this past Thursday evening, to the joy of everyone in attendance.
Here is a photo of Dirk and Trudy taken on Aug.22.

For some insight on what the SOS Children's Villages is all about, click on these 2 separate links then come back to see the rest of the photos and story.

This is the driver's side of Dirk's Ford Model T showing some equipment  used on the long journey.

By clicking on this to enlarge it, you can see in black where they have gone so far and in brown where they still have to travel.  They have already been all through the Mediterranean area and all the way through parts of central and South Africa, then had the car shipped to Houston Texas to start the western United States tour then up into Canada and so far to here in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  They will be continuing on to eastern Canada then down into the USA to Hershey Pennsylvania, on to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, then Chicago and points south....then Mexico, South America...back to New Zealand and Australia.............then you can follow the rest on the map. 

You can follow Dirk and Trudy on the Model T World Tour Website here
...and if you feel you'd like to make a donation to their cause you can do so on their website!!
This is a front and back copy of their business card.  Be sure to click on these and all the photos for enlargements.

The decals and medallions are from different clubs and organizations during their tour.

Here is Dirk placing a decal on his windshield from a local car club - the NOCC.

A front shot of the car.

One final thumbs up photo from Dirk and Trudy.

As you will see when you read the links above, this is an incredibly worthwhile endeavor and all the car guys and gals in Thunder Bay salute Dirk and Trudy for what they have accomplished and wish them well on the rest of their three year journey.  If you have time and if they are there, go say hello to Dirk and Trudy at the Trowbridge Falls Campground.  As far as I know they are leaving for the east on Monday morning, Aug 26, 2013. NOTE:  With a change of plans, Dirk, Trudy and their new crew Barry and Dennis will leave Monday Sept. 2, 2013 for Chicago and St. Louis, and hopefully return to Canada at a later date.


Dirk Regter's Model T is getting him in places. While touring in California Jay Leno hopped on board and had Dirk explain to him about the alterations he made to make the Model T a highly reliable world travelling machine. They had a great time when Jay gave the Model T Worldtour team a private tour in his well appointed Garage.  He owns almost anything and everything you can imagine on wheels. A slightly painful moment came up when Jay became really excited and made Dirk an offer on his high end Model T.  Dirk promptly said,  "Well a man can't own everything...."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Then and Now in Fort William and Port Arthur Thunder Bay....

Goodyear - Ace tire and Battery Service was located in the same building as Harmer's is today at 200 North May Street.  Some of these ads and cards are from the 1950's and later into the 1960's.  Be sure to click on all the photos and ads for enlargements!

There are no remnants whatsoever as to the exact spot where Checker Taxi was but the address stated was 104 Pearl Street...likely just behind the Marina Inn shown here.

Irwin Motors selling Kaiser-Frazer cars and the Henry J cars was located at 111 N. Brodie Street where the new courthouse is now being built.

Do you remember Chubey's Auto Service giving away "Tempo" tumblers at their Service Station at 347 Queen Street off Memorial Ave.  There is a tiny building left standing there today.


Here is an ashtray from Craig's Service which was located at the present day Shell station on the corner of Arthur and Leland Street.  The ashtray says Fort William Ontario, dating it before 1970.

Del's Taxi was located in a small place at 1326 Brown Street near the old Brown Street Station.

Diamond Taxi still exists today on Leith Street as Diamond - Lacey's but not where it was in the early 1960's.  That lot is vacant now as shown here, and the lot to the left of it is also vacant today, as the Empire Hotel was recently demolished.  Diamond Taxi was located in many different places around the Thunder Bay area through the years.


Remembering George's B/A station on the corner of Victoria Ave and Waterloo Street stating Fort William Ontario, placing this as a pre 1970's advertising ashtray.

The address in a 1962 phone book for Roach's Taxi states 1 Phoenix building across from the Prince Arthur Hotel.  I don't remember a place called the Phoenix building.  Roach's is another Taxi business that still exists to this day as Roach's Yellow Taxi..

Here across from the old CPR railroad station is this unique building which was once Lacey's Taxi and also Barry and Glen Kettering's service station.  Trinkets such as the cork screw/bottle and can opener were commonplace advertising items in those days.

In a 1962 phone book it states the Paul's Taxi was located at 315 Bay Street - the building still exists to this day as well....across from the Hoito restaurant.

Red Top cabs was located here at 200 Simpson Street at the corner of Simpson and Leith street.  As noted above, the Empire Hotel no longer exists across Leith St. from this building.
An important part of the automotive trade here in the Lakehead was S. J. Hill and sons.  They started business in 1916 later selling International Trucks and Packard and Nash cars.  The building still stands to this day at 319 N. May Street.

The following ad is a blotter (It was used to blot ink from fountain pens so you wouldn't smear the ink....Do you remember blotters??  It goes back many years with a 5 digit phone number (pre 1960) and states Fort William, Ontario.  Of all the old ads and cards, this is the only business that is still called East End Service and still exists to this very day at the same address at the bottom of the East End bridge on the corner of Pacific and Simpson street.

Thanks to Google Earth for the "almost" present day photos.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Canadian Lakehead Exhibition History - be sure to attend This August.....

This history was borrowed from the CLE website(with thanks), however the colour photos below were shown in prior posts and are included again as my favourite photos of the fairgrounds in 1961...   CLE Website link -     Two more CLE fair links click on each then return... 1 -  2 -


There are no reports or minutes prior to 1922.
The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition was known in 1922 as the "WESTALGOMA AGRICULTURE SOCIETY". Mr. Walker was engaged as the Secretary / Manager in 1917 and served in that capacity until 1929.
At this point the Society never had a midway at it's fair.
The Society looked at a name change for the West Algoma Agriculture Society, it was felt a name distinctive of the Area should be considered. The suggestions put forward to the Board members were as follows:
Unfortunately these names did not appeal to the members.
It was not until the year 1929, on a motion by J.R. Hutchison that the name of the West Algoma Agriculture Society be changed to "Canadian Lakehead Exhibition". All agreed to this name and the Federal Government was petitioned , two months later authorization was received in the form of a letter from the Hon. John S. Martin.
August 20th, 1920 the Globe and Rutgers Fire Insurance Co offered Weather Insurance for the Fair. They paid a proportionate each day if the rainfall amounted to one-fifth of an inch or over between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Local No. 489 American Federation of Musicians did up a contract with the C.L.E. on Aug 31st, 1920 to perform for the fair. They furnished 25 Musicians at a cost of $2.50 per member and one Bandmaster at a cost of $5.00. The band played three hours the afternoon and three hours in the evening of Sept 16th, 1920.
The Society had the support from both City Councils and the Society was very pleased that both Mayors and Council members attended many board meetings and jumped in to assist where ever possible.
Another popular sport in the 1920's was "Auto Racing" the sponsor was "TwinCity Driving Association".

Circa 1960
1923 Fair, it was decided a midway would be implemented.
Admission Fee in 1923 was 10 cents for Adults - 5 cents for Children.
The long remembered race track was built in 1922
Also in 1922 Mrs. B.O. Allen suggested the Society sponsor a Baby Clinic, the forerunner of today's Baby Contest.
The 1925 the midway changed hands to the "Fort William Hockey Club".
In 1926 it was decided that a Special Day for all School Children would be incorporated into the Fair.
The 1939 the Fair was held Aug 7th to 12th - this fair had Grand Stand attractions such as : Christy's Performing Elephants, Horses, Dogs, Pat Rafferty, Comedian, Happy Kellens, Beautiful Girl Chorus. Also Light Horse Shows.

Grand Attendance Prizes

New 1939 Ford Car - Leonard Refrigerator - Cabinet of Silverware - Victor Radio - Spode China Service - Chesterfield Suite. Merchants gave Free Attendance Prize Tickets.
Special Admission Rates: Weekly Tickets - Good for 6 admissions $1.00. Which was on sale at Rutledge's Book Store and McAuliffe's Drug Store.
To call the C.L.E. office you phoned South 170.
This is a large format photo to click on to view more detail.

THE FOLLOWING ARE DAVE ROSS PHOTOS FROM 1961 - click for enlargements!

Note the Union Jack flags - before the maple leaf flag.

How I miss the arch!!

The midway, walking bridge, racetrack and Sears plaza.

1966 Fair admission price was $1.00 for Adults and .25cents for children. The Attendance Prize each night for seven nights for 7 Beautiful Fords, one 1966 Mustang will be drawn and 6 1966 Falcons, all from Gibson Motors Memorial Avenue.
Also in 1966 the Police Department and O.P.P. held their Bike Skill Test known as Bicycle Rodeo for young bicyclists.
1967 the C.L.E. hosted the RCMP Musical Ride and Concert Band. Cost to attend this event was Adults $1.00 and Children .50 Cents.
Also in 1967 the yearly Fair was held July 21 - 29 which featured 7,000 Free Displays, 70 Midway Attractions, 7 Free Cars for the Attendance Draw and many Grandstand Shows. On the Saturday the Fair was officially opened by one of the Lakehead’s most attractive young Citizens - Miss Candace Kartinen who was Miss United Appeal for 1967. Opening the Fair was one of her first duties of her new job as Miss United Appeal 1967.
1968 Fair also featured a new 1968 car for the attendance draw each night. This is the 78th Fair the board was so proud of this years fair, President Joseph L. McCormack invited Prime Minister Trudeau to participate in opening ceremonies. The fair had many great attractions such as: Cheetah which can beat a car to 70 mph and Jughead, an ostrich.
1968 Fair also saw the Mighty Thomas Shows run the midway.
Did you know that in 1968 Fair goers could leave their cars at the Simpson Sears Allstate Service Station and have their cars filled up with gas for Premium it was 52.9 cents a gal. and for Regular 47.9 cents a gal.
At this point we should mention that all the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition’s were very heavy with cattle displays, horse racing, farm equipment, horse shows, petting zoo’s etc. Many trophies are still on display in the C.L.E. Office 425 Northern Ave for your viewing pleasure.Office staff of 1968 were Jessie Wishart, Ruby Fairbairn , Madeline Anderson, Dorthy Prince, Phyllis Bailey , Vera White and Barbara Rutledge.


As Quoted by one of the C.L.E’s past President Norman Shields - 1972 - 1973
The C.L.E. is a non-profit corporation owned by its members.
The members are people from the community who pay $10.00 a year. However, to be a voting member you have to have been a paid-up member for two years plus the current year.


We are governed by the Agricultural Act, which tells us to have a board of directors without a chairman, and a 5 person executive which carries out the policies laid down by the board.
The Directors put in many long hours working on bringing you the many long time favorites such as Fair, Yard & Garden, Project Pizza and much more, also many hours are put into over seeing the day to day operations of the C.L.E.
The only people who get paid are they employee’s of the C.L.E. which includes two secretary’s, one Accountant, one Maintenance Supervisor and three Maintenance Men.