Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some CLE Memories in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay)....

The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition here in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur was always a huge annual event.  We as kids could barely wait until the CLE started, and the excitement for children is still there today.  In the old days however, everything was BIGGER and BETTER..... Many factors have caused the CLE to slow down somewhat for reason's I do not understand....just the fact that the race track is gone is pretty disappointing in itself, as the fair hosted many types of entertainment that could be viewed from the huge grandstand which actually held thousands of people, such as the Thrill Drivers, High Wire acts and of course our original Jalopy Stock Car Racing which began in the 1920s and ended at the fairgrounds in the 1960s with the demise of our 1/2 mile dirt track.  There were many more booths and displays than there are today as well, and many more people attended in the day.
Here we have a little collage of the CLE's south/west portion of the fair grounds, which includes the CJLX radio booth.  The Dave Ross colour photo dates 1961.  The "On the Air" portion of the collage is from Mike Wolowich dated 1959, and the Big 5 portion is my own from 1965

The Royal American Shows hosted the rides after the second world war back in 1947, and "The Death Dodger's" entertained at the racetrack.  They also gave away 60 attendance prizes culminating with a 1947 Mercury Sedan. Car giveaways continued into the early 1960's.  The fair board gave away cars every night and actually gave away a home in the early 1960's which exists to this day on High Street. 

Looking closely to the right of the Port Arthur and Fort William buses at the turn around terminal on Fort William Road, you can see the famed Co-Op Milk Bottle.  "Meet me at the Bottle" was actually printed on the bottle and it became THE meeting place for many, or even a place to find mom or dad if you got lost at the fair.

The Bottle and a ticket I saved from 1963........

Here's a couple of photos of a bear and it's trainer at the milk bottle in the late 1940's

Here's a close-up of the inside of the Milk Bottle showing all the 5 cent prices.  
Do you remember purchasing a "brick" or a "1/2 brick" of ice cream from the milk bottle?

The bumper cars were always my favourite....These old metal bumper cars are extremely expensive to purchase today if you can even find one.

...and Finally of course was the fabulous CLE stock car racing.....I can still smell the dirt and the fuel today.....Oh to go back....wouldn't it be wonderful...  I hope you enjoyed this little flashback of the old CLE days.....D.