Monday, January 26, 2015

"THE CLOCK", "THE ARMOURY" and many more then and now photos in FORT WILLIAM & PORT ARTHUR, Ontario.....

It's been quite some time since we did a "then" and "now" post.  Sometimes,  however we cannot add the "now" because the now is inside Victoriaville Centre, as the first part of this post starts.......
Click on "THE CLOCK" collage twice to get it full screen then read the history there.  You can click on all the other photos once or twice to enlarge them as well.

I am reposting this photo from above for another reason... The first vehicle on the right parked in front of Chapples is a 1929 Pontiac Six sedan...the big giveaway is the split grille, the molded visor, and chief Pontiac on the on the radiator cap on the grille shell.  This is a wonderful local photo taken in front of the Chapple building also known as the Grain Exchange Building in its day.
Chief Pontiac
Read all about it.

Side view.

Pontiac Six only $895.00

The next Then and Now was known as "The City Substation and Telephone Exchange" (photo taken by the Fryer Studio, Fort William).  It is quite a unique little building and has been used for many things through the years such as an art studio and a dance studio.  It still exists but looks vacant at present.  The address is 910 E. Donald Street.

Current photo.

I never knew why our city would tear down this absolutely beautiful building which was once  city hall. The city should have left this building and built a new structure in the Intercity area after the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur into our present City of Thunder Bay.  I am not sure of the exact year of the photo.  The Hydro Electric building property in this photo was actually a service station at one time.

Current Photo.

"THE ARMOURY" in this next collage, like the one at the beginning of this post tells a story in itself, so, again, double click on it twice to enlarge full screen then scroll around to read all the data.

Here are some enlargements of the tiny graphics that are in the collage on them too.
HMCS Fort William - RCN.
Navy League Cadets logo.

Royal Canadian Navy sticker.

Here is the Hydro Substation on Walsh Street taken in the mid 1950's.  The present day photo is pretty much the same except the Hydro grid that was beside the old photo is no longer there, and I am not sure what the nice strong brick building is even used for today.  The building is on the corner of Walsh and Sprague St.

Current photo.

This next photograph is of Port Arthur Motors (Used Cars).  It was their used car lot on Court Street in Port Arthur which was later used for many years as the Port Arthur Motors Body Shop, and just to the right of it was their outdoor used car lot.  Kam Motors in Fort William where my father worked and Port Arthur Motors were both owned by Hubert Badanai Sr. in the 1950's when this photo was taken.  The Badanai name still stands as the only Chevrolet dealership in Thunder Bay today. 

Current photo.

Sargent and Son Funeral Home and the Port Arthur Fire Hall on Court Street in Port circa 1950's.  Here is a then and now of that particular spot.  Sargent and Son's now own all the property heading all the way north to Van Norman St.

Current photo.

OK...back to Fort William.  Check out this beautiful touring car parked on Simpson Street, just north and around the corner from Victoria Ave.  As you can see, this was a very busy part of Fort William in the 1910's during the transition from horse and buggy to horseless carriage.  What an interesting time it must have been to live during those days.  The current photo below shows no buildings left in that area.  Many were destroyed by fire in the later years.  When viewing the old photos like these, note that most of the gentlemen always wore suits and hats, and the ladies were always in their Sunday best.  In the vintage photo, the next side street at the right of the photo is Miles St.  
Reminder - click on photos twice.

current photo

The Daily Times Journal - The first photo is my own canvas bag that I used to deliver the TJ back in the 1950's. 

The next two photos are then and now Times Journal building photos at 115-119 N. May Street in Fort William.  I'm not sure weather the gentlemen are waiting to get a job or just waiting for the new edition of the Times Journal to be released.  The Palace Cafe next door was many different businesses throughout the years.  
For more about this building on Hot Rods and Jalopies, here is a link, then come back CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THE TIMES JOURNAL

A huge thank you for all the support we receive from local and international members and watchers of Hot Rods and Jalopies.
Also a big thank you as well to "The Walleye" (a fabulous and informative local arts and culture magazine), and Kyle Poluyko for the wonderful article written about us in the January 2015 issue.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

John (Jonnie) Cano ....our Dad.....RIP..... Aug 19, 1919 - Jan 17, 2015....

My Father, My Teacher, My Mentor, My Friend passed away peacefully at 10 pm last evening in his sleep.
Thank you Dad for handing down your automotive talents to your son.  We shared many a day in the garage planning and designing either in our minds or on paper.  He loved nothing more than a ride in one of the new Hot Rods I had built knowing that he had some input in the work and design..  I've spoken to many of his former students through the years from Gron Morgan Trade School and they all said that he was one of the best and most respected teachers they ever had.....a wonderful tribute.

Thanks to everyone that had sent condolences and thoughts and prayers on my FB page as well.

Jonnie Cano as some of his old colleagues called him was 95 years of age.
We will never forget him.

Here are a few photos some of which are on my FB page as well....
My dad at the NOTA Car Show in 1967 at the Port Arthur Arena - He had a ton of input in this car.

Dad and I doing the '33 Ford Victoria circa 1986

He loved the Model "A" but always said to me " When are you gonna put some damn fenders on that thing".

This picture was taken at an Antique Car Club Cruise show this summer held at Dawson Court where his resided for the past 11 months.  He could still point to all the cars and new what year they all were, even though he had dementia.

RIP Dad....Love you and miss you - This was taken at Intercity Mall on one
of our walks about 1 1/2 years ago.  He was 93 here.

Dad at his 95th Birthday Party with my sons and his Grandsons, Darren and Jay

Thank you to everyone from Rosemary and Dave at HR&J.....

Sunday, January 4, 2015

FIELD OF A's - near our hometowns of Fort William and Port Arthur, in Kakabeka Falls in 1960....thanks to George Rogers.

Prologue - Dave says:
At about 14 years old  I had already  “borrowed” my dad’s car on a few occasions (without being caught of course) and after spending much time at Kam Motors body shop where my dad worked, the intoxicating effects of exhaust fumes and the scent of body filler, began running through my veins.  To add to this, in the early 1950's the wonderful world of local dirt track racing entered into the mix at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition grounds. 

These were the beginnings of being a full-fledged gear head.  Now, 55 years later, George Rogers writes this wonderful article titled “Field of A’s”.   Reading George’s story brought forward a flood of memories of the cars George described in detail, and he even had photo proof. these two photos are not George's, but you could well imagine the excitement of any 14 year old seeing something like this in the 1950s.  These both scrap yard photos feature mostly Model "A" Fords and you can click on each of them for enlargements.  George's local photos will appear at the end of the article.

So, with George Rogers approval, read his story next and I will comment more at the end.

FIELD OF A's - by George Rogers 
(formerly of Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) - George now resides in Winnipeg.

     As a teenager growing up in Fort William Ontario, my time was divided between schoolwork (in limited doses only), my part time job, and lots of cruising.  This was at the time when cruising actually involved driving, long before it came to mean sitting for hours in a lawn chair on a parking lot staring at your trunk lid.  Typically Sunday afternoon cruising led me to back roads out in the country, checking farm yards and abandoned buildings for old cars.  
     Near Kakabeka Falls, some 20 miles west of town on a side road south of Hwy 17, there was a property where a few old cars could be glimpsed out back of the house through the trees.  However, they could be seen only from a distance because local legend had it that anyone venturing onto the property would be met by an angry old man with a shotgun.  Although I wanted to get a close look at the cars, I had no interest in confirming the legend.  
     Now, it happened that my part time job was at the Safeway store, and somehow I came to learn that one of our customers was the wife of the angry old man.  She would periodically take the train to town for a shopping trip.  She’d get her provisions at Safeway, and I’d often take her boxes a block or so to the CN station where she’d catch the train home.  She was a lovely lady, and once I became aware of her relationship to the objects of my interest, I’d make a point of steering our conversation in that direction.  After a few fairly broad hints she invited me to come out to see their cars. I did so the next day, camera in hand.  
     They had four A’s, all different models.  One, a two door sedan, was still licensed and in regular use.  Out back there was a Phaeton, equipped with a non-original barnboard roof rack, which they explained had been used to carry a boat when the car was driven through bush on fishing trips to remote lakes.  The others were a rumble seat equipped Sport Coupe, and a rare Victoria.  With the exception of the Phaeton, which bore the scars of its off-road duty, all appeared to be in decent condition.   After that first visit I went out to see her and her husband, who proved to be a good fellow, on a number of occasions.  More than once I asked about buying one of the cars.  The answer was always no, until a couple of years later when one day over a cup of tea they told me they would sell me a car, but only if I’d take all of them.  That just wasn't feasible for me, and I believe the cars were still there when I moved away a little later.  
     Incidentally, during those years I did buy a Model  A, a very nice low mileage one owner four door sedan.  Ironically, it had been stashed for many years in a garage on the adjoining property, a short walk from these cars.
     In 1960, when these photos were taken, Model A’s were very old cars.  However, doing the math, it’s clear that they were the same age as a 1985 car is today.  I find it difficult to get my head around that!
George Rogers - December 2014

THE PICTURES (as you can see, they were all taken in October 1960.  Click on all to enlarge!

The angry old man's wife (sweet looking lady)
'28/'29 Model A Ford Coach

1930 Model A Ford Sports Coupe

George must have liked this one the most, as there are more 
pictures of this one than any other.

Very Rare 1928/29 "Bush Phaeton"

Very Rare 1931 Ford Victoria - Larry Pugh in picture

1931 Ford Model A Victoria
George taking a "SELFIE"

After reading George's story and viewing the pictures, I couldn't believe my eyes, because I actually remembered these cars and where they were....I recognized some of the buildings in the photos as well, .....but before we go on, I must say that the cars are NOT there anymore and the family is NOT either.  There is a newer home on the property now and the area is pretty well built up.
When you pass Kakabeka Falls, head up hwy 590 which is just past the falls.  At the top of the hill, there is a road called Luckens Road which branches to the left.  The cars were right there on the south/west corner, and back from the main road.  It was definitely the shot gun that we were afraid of too...the rumors were true.  A couple of years later, the last car I remembered being there was the '31 Vicky stacked to the brim inside with firewood.  All you had to do was stop by the owner's driveway and he would head out with the gun and say "Get the hell off my property, you kids don't have a damn cent to spend on anything"....and he was pretty much correct.
One more note:  At coffee this morning(Jan. 4, 2015), my friend Ron remembered the rumor that the reason everyone was shooed away with a shotgun is that this fellow had coffee tins full of cash stashed everywhere around his property.....well, it was only a rumor.

The following maps show the exact spot where the cars were

This is how that corner looks today....HWY 590 goes off to the right and Luckens Road is to the left.  Luckens Road was named something else back then and was used a few times for racing hill climb runs.

Many thanks to George for this article and photographs.  George has contributed to Hot Rods and Jalopies before, and you can read more of George's input but clicking on this following link, then scroll way down past the current story -