Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FORT WILLIAM AND PORT ARTHUR, ONTARIO....Then and Now in our home towns....

Sorry for the long delay in new postings on HR&J....we have had some blogger issues to deal with.

It's been quite a long time since we posted some then and now photos...and we are right on track with this new post, beginning with a brand new never seen before Port Arthur photo.  Some of the later photos in this post a few of you may have on we go....
This first photo incorporates 4 major business buildings most of which have highlighted the Cumberland/Van Norman street area for decades.  This photo is dated early 1950's and shows the Lyceum Theatre, The Public Utilities building, the Prince Arthur Hotel and the little service station shown as a Texaco station was the Lakehead Motors Service Station.  It originally was a McColl Frontenac(Red Indian) station and by this date Texaco had purchased all the Red Indian stations.
This then photo, fairly sharp also shows a few more landmarks north of this intersection.

This now photo was taken approx Oct. 10, 2015
This present day photo shows pretty much all the landmarks except the Texaco station.
Playing at the Lyceum shown above was firstly "Rachel and the Stranger" with William Holden, Robert Mitchum, and Loretta Young.
The second film playing also shown above was Valley of the Sun, with Lucille Ball, James Craig, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Dean Jagger.
The lobby cards and film posters are shown below

This Fort William photo goes back to about 1912.  It is the corner of Franklin Street and Victoria Ave. facing west.  It is difficult to believe that there was nothing but a few houses west of Franklin street back then.

The now photo below has a little blue rectangle showing two homes on Victoria Ave. that still exist on their original property to this sure to click on all the photos once or twice to see them larger and clearer.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

This next then and now photo is one of my favourites as we lived on east Arthur Street and these steam engines went right in front of our home in the 1950's.  The first photo (a museum photo) shows #5274 either picking up or dropping off passengers at the CNR station to the right in the background.  If you drive down Vicker's Street today you are actually driving where the original tracks were.  I have another post on HR&J that explains much of this.  
Then engine's nose would be pretty close to Victoria Ave. shown here.  Off to the left in the "then" photo is "Red" Marsonet's Service Station which is Breeny's Collision Shop today shown below and to the right.
Breeny's and Apple Auto Glass where Marsonet's was.

Another Port Arthur photo shows Port Arthur Motors Body shop.  The building still exists to this day, but not sure of it's use.  It is rumoured that this building was once a very popular Port Arthur Dance Hall.  (I'm looking for data on that if anyone can help)

South Simpson Street in Fort William was a bustling community in the 1910's as shown here, but sadly time, deterioration and fire have eaten away at the beautiful vintage structures that adorned Simpson Street.  From the old bank building on the corner of Victoria and Simpson north, there are no structures hardly at all today for at least a full block and a half.
 It's difficult to believe that the photo below is taken in the same general area as the above one.

One more trip back to Port Arthur to see the evolution of Arthur Street (now Red River Road after amalgamation).  The first photo shows the old City Hall being demolished after the fire.  I'm not to sure of the exact date this photo was taken if anyone can help here.  Further down the street is the original Post Office...demolished for a newer more modern structure over time which today houses a huge pawn shop. 

Here we have an early 1950's photo still showing the old Post Office building, as well as many other structures along the original Port Arthur's Arthur Street.

Jump ahead a few years on the corner of Court and Arthur...Corporale's taxi is now the well known Fero's Restaurant, and Birks Stitt Jewellers is on the Corner.  The new modern brick wall to the right of this photo is where the Post Office in the above photos used to be....and of course the Brill Trolley Bus that we remember so well.

As mentioned's difficult to believe that the "now" photos are actually taken in the same exact place...such a dramatic change, but not always for the better.

I'm not sure where I found this last fantastic photo, so I couldn't give credit where due....but we move to Kakabeka Falls to Mark Leiterman and Sons General Store.  This was such a popular place in the day supplying hardware and fuel to Kakabeka Falls and the surrounding area.  When I worked for Shell back in the 1960s, they supplied much of their bulk fuel and oil products, as Shell had bought out North Star Oil and White Rose as well....I sure wish I knew where that sign and visible gas pumps went.

Thanks for watching and be sure to check in from time to time.  Also be sure to check my facebook page (Dave Cano) for other informative photos and captions.
A big thank you to all who donate or loan me their photos to keep the history of Fort William and Port Arthur alive............


Will S said...

Re: Port Arthur Motors body shop - 77 Court St. South.

Had a quick look through some Henderson's Directories - nothing for that block on that side of the street for 1911, 1925, 1935, 1943, 1949, 1954. (or showing anything there on the 1908 fire map)

A listing for Port Arthur Motors (Used Car Department) for 77 Court Street South shows up in 1956; also there for 1957, 1958, 1960, 1965.

Glad to see you are back posting on your blog with some great photos and stories as always.

Dave Cano said...

I guess that kills the notion of a dance hall...thanks for the additional data. It's been an incredibly busy summer in many ways. Thanks, D.