Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Memories and a bit of Then and Now from our Home Towns of Fort William and Port Arthur.....

The Hot Rods and Jalopies generation is about memories, flashbacks, and reminiscing, and what better time of the year to dive into the past than here we are again celebrating everyone's favourite season with our first post of December 2016.

     Yes I do occasionally re-use the odd photo from past years but they are needed to add to new stories and posts for interest sake.  Here is my father in 1958 loading a pile of trees that he just chopped down, likely in the Oliver Lake of which will be used for the Annual Kam Motors Limited Christmas party.  As you history buffs know, Kam Motors was located on Leith St. in Fort William....the building still exists to this day, but Kam Motors had a depot as well....later located at May and Bethune St. across from the old Spicer's Tire store but before that it was located on the north/east corner of May and Donald you will see in the photos below.
The first of three photos I found in my slide archives show the inside of Kam Motors Depot during the 1958 annual Christmas Party.  Hubert Badanai Sr. would regularly play Santa, but I can't positively say that is he as Santa here.  My father would also play Santa on occasion.  To the left of Santa I believe is Vince Marsonet who worked for Kam in the day, and the elves are Patricia Kempinski(Kam's accountant) and Theresa Dika(Kam's bookkeeper).  When Kam Motors closed, Theresa ran the "Tobacco Pleasure" smoke shop near the southern entrance to Victoriaville., but notice out the window is the western wall of St. Andrew's Church and the edge of the white building you see was Gibson Motors.  Gibson's was located on the south/east corner of Syndicate and Donald Street, later to be torn down to build the IBM building.....note the 1958 Chevrolet banner on the wall.
      Here you can see the present day photo of St. Andrew's church wall as well as the new multi use office building that stands today which was originally the IBM building.
The next Christmas Party picture below was taken in a similar position but has myself in the photo at the far left assisting with the distribution of presents, with Vince Marsonet next, Theresa Dika then my kid sister Daryle on Santa's knee, Pat Kempinski and an unknown child in the foreground
 The next photo is taken at a completely different angle showing the south/west 1958 intersection of Donald St. and Syndicate Ave.   An old house is still on that corner (later to become McLeods Hardware store) is the old First Baptist Church, torn down a year later, and the old St. Patrick's Cathedral torn down to build the new Cathedral soon after.  I'm the kid in the front row with his arms folded and to my right (your left) is Donna Bodnarchuck.  Donna and I were close friends through the years as our parents were best friends also.  I like the little Chevrolet advertising hanging from the ceiling, as this area was used as a new car showroom.
The picture to the right is how this corner looks today....the old McLeod's store used as a bar on and off for years, the new St. Pat's Cathedral in the background and the stairs to the Victoriaville parking to the right. 
     The photo below shows how this corner looked when King George VI visited in 1939.  It was a Red Indian (McColl Frontenac) service station called "Nolls Motor Company"  and was also a Studebaker dealer in the day.  The Imperial sign shown is actually on the opposite side of Donald St., and would be where Gibson Motors was.

       When Kam Motors purchased the property in 1950, it looked much like it did when Nolls was there, but was totally remodeled at the front and side to completely enclose that portion to make for a larger showroom.  Over time the building was changed over and over many times.  It was once owned by Dominion Motors as well as Bourke's Drug Store and The March of Dimes.  The photo below shows what the building looks like today.
The photo on the right shows a not so clear Gibson Motors in the day and what has become of that property across from the old Kam Motors Depot.  Be sure to click on all the photos to enlarge them for better viewing.

 Two more interesting photos here at the end of this post....the first is what would be under a hot rod/gear head's Christmas internet find, but thought it to be hilarious.

 ......And Finally....a news clipping advertising the Chapples Annual Santa Claus Show....something we couldn't wait for year after year that would put us all in the Christmas Spirit....
I hope this post put you in the Christmas Spirit............
Click on this link for one more post from my younger days at Kam Motors Depot...

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