Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Season Post #3 - Go Get a REAL Christmas in Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario....and more

Well here it is...that time of year again when you have to make that BIG decision..."Artificial or Real".  
When I was a kid, there was never a was always REAL!  There were very few tree lots so we would head out to the country...usually the Oliver Lake area, trudge through 2 or 3 feet of snow to find our "wonder tree".  It was usually on the top of a 20 or 30 footer that you had to chop down first, then cut the top seven or so feet off.  Hopefully after you cut down the large tree and cut the top off, that it was as beautiful as it looked 20 feet up in the air.
It is probably one of the most important family traditions I ever remembered that we carried on through the generations.
So without further ado ...GO GET YOUR REAL TREE!!

The above art work is courtesy of Retro

Of course this sign at the left is not real, but it sets up the post for a few family photos taken this time of the year throughout the ages.

To those of you who don't know me personally, our last name is pronounced "sanno" with a soft "c" like in the word celery......surprised?

This photo is one of my all time favourite seasonal photos.  I believe it was taken in around 1940 by my father.  This is a picture of my uncle Henry straddling the hood of my dads Studebaker Erskine.  They were obviously out in the bush somewhere near Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario getting Christmas trees for the whole family.

Here's my father back in 1958 loading a few wonderful Balsam trees in the back of his new Bel Air company car...I remember it being green and pretty much matching the trees loaded in the back.
My grandfather hated Spruce trees with the short needles, because they would dry out in no time and the needles would be all over the place.  He did prefer the Balsam which when watered properly would last much longer than the spruce. He had a Slovak name for the spruce trees that I can not mention here ☺.  The Balsam choice continued for a few generations.
My grandfather never drove a car in his life so my dad and I usually with a few uncles along would pick up trees in the bush for everyone.
I loved those wonderful times that are rarely forgotten especially at Christmas.

NEXT we jump a generation and a bunch of years to about 1980.  My youngest son was pretty young, so he and my wife were likely in the van to keep warm.  Here is my eldest son Darren, his cousin Jason and Jason's sister Colleen cutting trees at a tree farm just south of Kakabeka Falls .....always fun times with warm hot chocolate for everyone later.
Click on all the photos once or twice for enlargements.
This one is fantastic....cut-r-down!
Darren and Jason riding in the old trailer with our
Christmas trees!

One of the sights I remember as a child was heading down to the old Fort William City Hall during the Christmas season to check out the beautiful light display there.  One particular year, I remember the city workers made huge ice block cut-outs and placed lighted trees was spectacular.

A beautiful art piece showing a family heading

home with their recently harvested Christmas 

tree...the children couldn't wait to set it up and
breathe in the pine aroma.
This young person can't wait to get 

the tree home to decorate - what a

sweet picture!

The "Charlie Brown" tree is probably the best known tree of all time, next to the Rockefeller Center tree.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has been synonymous with the Christmas Season.  Be sure to check it out below.

The next few photos of "getting the Christmas tree" are the tongue in cheek ones from the movies we love the most this time of the year. on

After all that.......Ralphie still gets to see dad set up and decorate the tree, and all is forgiven!  One note about The Christmas Story is that it is pretty factual to the times during the early 50's.  Every time I watch this film, I see something I hadn't noticed before.

Christmas Vacation is another of the far out films of the season....we've all seen it....It's a film we all love and hate at the same time....well that's my opinion anyway ☺.  The important part is that the Griswold's went out to get their Christmas tree as a "family".  
Click on!

What a truly great photo from the turn of the century....hauling trees from the country for Christmas by horseback to sell in the city.

.....and finally of course the iconic "It's a Wonderful Life" ....showing the family Christmas Tree and a perfect ending.

OH...just one more.....we can't forget Alvin, Simon and Theodore under their Christmas out and get your REAL Christmas tree and relive your wonderful childhood days....Merry Christmas!


Dave Cano said...

From George Rogers by email - A wonderful post, and what great photos!!
I especially like your Dad's Erskine (a '27?), complete with non-original bathing beauty diving across the radiator, and the headlight bar being used either as a towel bar or to carry a partial rad cover. But I just have to say it "Uncle Henry, get your boot off that fender."
In my early days our Christmas trees were delivered. My father worked for the CPR and the section men would cut trees out along the line and throw them in a boxcar heading for town. In the evening a CPR truck would deliver the trees to the office staff. The truckers always came in for a drink or two with Dad and that may have helped ensure that we always got a fine tree.
Thanks for the memories.
Geo. R.

Dave Cano said...

Thanks for that George...always an interesting tid bit or two from you. Cheers and Merry Christmas.