Thursday, May 22, 2014

PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS....another then and now post from our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario....

For those who don't know, the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario is now Thunder Bay, Ontario since our amalgamation in 1970.

Then's and now's haven't been regular posts on HR&J for quite some time but since I have tons of photos on's about time to do one.  Then's and now's aren't just places and things but as you see here, it can be people.
A well known face in the public eye especially with the Dave Letterman show and also being a local icon, I thought I would start off with Paul Shaffer.  Now here is a great clipping showing Paul, I believe in the 1960's when he returned to Port Arthur to entertain at The Corral at the Circle In on Memorial Ave.  Paul actually had quite a mop of hair in those days as well as a well appointed cookie duster.  Us folks from Fort William and Port Arthur are very proud of our home town heroes that made it to the big time.  The next photo is more recognizable as the Paul Shaffer we know.

This photo of the Prince Arthur Hotel from back in the early 1940's is one of my all time favourite local pictures, as it vividly shows the "McColl-Frontenac Products" "Red Indian" sign in front of their service station which was on the corner of Cumberland and Van Norman Street where the Everest College building is today. 

The McColl-Frontenac Red Indian sign here is actually the Holy Grail for automotive sign collectors today, fetching many thousands of dollars in the antique market. The one in the black and white photo above is exactly like the one shown here, and I'm wondering where it went to....If you find it, let me know...LOL.  The Prince Arthur today photo has not changed much in all these years as you can see here.

The following is a very interesting advertisement from Nicholson's Tire back in the 1930's.  It wasn't just called a repair was called a Tire Surgery shop, saying "you don't have to wait" and "don't cuss, phone us".  As well as repairs, they also sold Goodyear tires.  This same building many years later become "The" Goodyear Tire Centre and now I believe it's just a gift shop.

The picture on the right is how it looked just before it became a gift shop at 271 Bay Street last year.  The building truly stood the test of time over the past 8 or so decades.  Many of the buildings our city wastefully destroys could easily be re-purposed for other business as shown here.

This is a very difficult picture to recognize, as literally nothing looks familiar...but if you click on this one you will see runners from the 10 mile road race in the background in the 1920's.  They are running towards you as you stand in the intersection of Donald and May Street facing north.  The only give-away is the name on the building on the left..."City Hall Garage" scroll down to see how that intersection looks today. 

The Royal Edward Hotel wasn't even in the above photo.

                                                              THE WHITE LUNCH

If you are as young as might recognize The White Lunch.  A well known establishment in the 1950's and a bit later, it catered to the younger generation and families.  It, like the old Lorna Doone was a great place to hang out after roller or ice skating at the Fort William Gardens.  Click on all to enlarge
   You might recognize this spot before all these wonderful buildings
    were torn down.The parking lot shown was where the White Lunch
    was on 117 Syndicate Ave.  Of course we all know that the new 
    Court House takes up all this property and more.

Three pictures of highway 61 coming into Fort William Ontario (now Thunder Bay) are shown here.  Highway 61 was historically known as "the Scott Highway" named after lumberman William Scott who had much to do with Pigeon River Timber.  The construction of a highway on only a trail to Pigeon River began in 1913 and was completed by 1916.  Much more detail can be found here  Be sure to click on ALL the photos on this post for higher detail.
Scott Highway 1916

HWY 61 - Scott Highway 1957
HWY 61 - Scott Highway 2013

This is a great clipping from the opening of Darling's Service on the corner of  Victoria and McKellar street...McKellar was originally called John Street and had to be renamed after amalgamation of our two cities back in 1970 due to the fact that there was a John Street in Port Arthur too.  
In the clipping is Mayor Gordon Carson shaking hands with the proprietor Ralph Darling...also with Zennie Dubinsky on the left and other "service" station attendants in the background.  The building behind with all the glass blocks was the old "Pilkington Glass" building.  This service station location today is Dave Knight Optical.  Click on this link for more on Darlings in this blog, then come back...

A time when this cap meant

Note that the modern photo
below left shows the glass
block windows the same as
shown in the clipping.
Click on each to enlarge!
Dave Knight optical taken from McKellar Street 2013

Thanks to my friend Shaun Hopkins, Hot Rods and Jalopies has this great photo of Glen Berger's Porsche powered Dune Buggy.  It was parked along Memorial Ave in front of Thunder Bay Volkswagen I believe in the 1960's.  The history is - Where Thunder Bay VW was is now the Dulux Paint store, the dark coloured house across the street is now the entrance to the Future Shop off Memorial Ave, and the Dow's Auto Electric building became the blue and yellow "Easy Cash" building all shown in the second photo here.  It's truly hard to believe how many changes have been made in our city in the past 50's surely fun to look back....especially if you remember.

It's very interesting looking at these two photos...not exactly sure of the dates but comparing the two probably over about 40-50 years the changes jump out at you....and the bottom one is at least 30 years old itself.  The orange roofed structure in the top photo is the old CPR station (I will do an exclusive post on that alone one day).  Water Street today travels right through the station, and notice how close the water line was to the tracks.  In the second photo you can see the station gone and then the beginnings of Water street and Marina park.  Ton's of fill was added to the water line and most of the park you see today would still be water if the massive many-year project would have never been started.  The property across from the tall PUC building will likely soon be our new Arena/Event Centre.....changes, changes, changes....some good some not so politics here!  LOL


137 W. Frederica Street West Fort William Ontario
HR&J hope you enjoyed this post.....once more, Thanks to Shaun Hopkins for the dune buggy photo and all the other photographers whom through history had the sense to take all the great photos we have to enjoy today.


Anonymous said...

Had my first French fries at the White Lunch around 1951. Instantly smitten.

Bob Parkins

Dave Cano said...

Thanks for the memory Bob....

Leah Glowacki said...

Thank you for including the picture of my "Baba" Glowacki's Lake Lunch Restaurant matchbook cover - it brings back many memories - do you still have the matches?

Dave Cano said...

You're very welcome Leah, and yes I still have the matchbook in my collection....thanks for the comment. D.

Leah Glowacki said...

Any chance I can buy the matchbook from you?

Dave Cano said...

Leah...message me on my Facebook page...It is actually only half a matchbook, but I already have a scan. You can have it if you wish.

Leah Glowacki said...

I don't have a Facebook account - any chance you can mail it to me - what is your Facebook page - how do we connect?

Dave Cano said... me directly at ..this is the email directly connected to my blog site.