Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

You’re old like me when..

by R.A West.

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Remember reader if you please, these are not researched recollections. Add your corrections or own experiences at will.

Also having been written on and off over 3+ years somethings are not now timely as written.
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You’re old like me when:
You remember the three movie theater locations in Welland.The opening of the ‘Park theater’ I think a Tarzan movie the ‘Community Theater’ on South Main..aka King st.” I saw the original King Kong there. I think it has been a flower shop of late. Or, older yet when you remember when there was only  one, the Capitol theater. I was told my Grandpa Banks did some of the plaster work in there. You may recall the rather ornate ceilings/walls.

When the swimming pools down Cross street to the canal were built,one being an old dock and slip closed off at the pier. The other the wading pool for beginners. Many of the ‘older’ kids swam at the pier in the canal.

When there was a Crowland township around part of Welland part way down main east and part way up King, and no Q.E. to Fort Erie. No arena either. No nothing really. We did our own thing  playing on home made ball fields and outdoor rinks.

The original Canadian Tire on East Main? It was next to the Temple club, across from the former legion site where dad was once president. He was President of the Humane society once as well, and, organized one of the Rose Parades.

Remember, the Post Office (and I believe Customs ‘House’) on King street.

Remember the robbery at the Division Street post office when the police station was next door? Remember the fire at the fire hall ?
Remember when you couldn’t bowl or shop on a Sunday. “Blue laws.”
You couldn’t get a beer unless you ordered food and the same old cheese sandwich was servd to everyone. God forbid anyone would eat it.
Men and women had separate ‘beverage’ rooms to have a beer when out to hoist a few. There was a mandatory dinner break, “last call, lights flashed’ no more suds served for a couple of hours.

And, do you remember them digging the foundation for the original Atlas Personnel office that later became the previous City Hall on East Main street. Atlas main gate was originally on main street where men gathered to be picked for day work before WW2 , then the war, there was a shortage of man power and Atlas extended to Oxford road with the promise of war contracts.

The building of the brand spanking new Barclay Hotel, a gem for the city then ! It slowly aged as we have, and has also been torn down like Shady’s (Anderson?) was, the pub it replaced. Remember Shady’s ? I think the bar had swinging doors, not sure about spittoons.

The siren sounding for the bridge to rise, gates closing. Remember? The Lamoyne going through? Our swimming in in the canal at the pier in its wake.
Cops walking! Cop on a motor cycle? Can’t recall any specialty donut shops or pizza pie places..Few things were ‘take out’ except fish & chips and hamburgers maybe.

Painted on stockings during WW11. Those seams were damn hard to pencil on straight huh! 3 cent stamps then 5 cent stamps, two mail deliveries a day. Mail on Saturday. No T.V. just radio shows that we sat around to hear as a family. No real junk food, maybe an A&W and later a Dairy Queen on Niagara near what became the later Canadian Tire plaza. A KFC on Division near where J. Smith once had the grocery store.

War on, less to eat. Fruit shortage, sugar, meat ‘points’ and ration books. War saving stamps and bonds. We had some nuts only around Christmas. Had popcorn though. Got a tube like bag of colored popcorn from Reilly’s store near the school for 5 cents.. Chestnuts warming on the hot stove top.

Many dads and family off to war, sometimes again. Two of the Chalmers (Jack and Jim) boys in the Navy. Most WW2 service men and ladies now long gone if they survived the war and came home -occasionally with a war bride in tow.

Things now gone like Central school, the high walled Main Street Jail yard , horse drawn delivery wagons – bread, ice- milk, slowing the motorized vehicles, manure on the street collected for your rose garden, the old city hall on Division and King. The ‘new’ city hall, former Atlas office sold to the city for next to zero $ by the then productive Atlas, Specialty Steel maker of Canada. Atlas and many other local industries gone! Theaters gone. Street car gone. Founded in 1909 the Vaughan Seed Co. on Burger gone in a blaze, Diffin docks south of Lincoln street. Vaughan and Diffin both former mayors ?

The trolley line tracks and station near the ‘old’ hospital (Riverside Drive) that ran over the trestle (P.C. Drive), R. R. tracks went up main West and up King street. Waiting for a train occasionally on King st. (South Main .)

Horse races at the then Denistoun St Fair Grounds. Dr. Railton local politician (daughter Jane once a life guard with me), living on the corner across from the Painters residence they that had the Forge on Major street. The now defunct Welland High & Vocational School. Remember..Lux in Tenebris, in Latin, meaning “Light in Darkness,” the motto.

The fire that destroyed the gas station in Port Robinson. What a blaze that was. What a crowd. They had no idea that the Steelton disaster (and bridge destroyed forever splitting the town),was coming years later and the canal would be crossed there for years afterwards only by ferry.

When Atlas Steels factory ended at Major St. and the City of Welland ended at Crowland Township boundaries and the car line up waiting for the Main St. bridge that on occasion reached into Crowland. A good reason for the Welland amalgamation with Crowland. Then of course on getting past the bridge traffic you got stuck on the main street R.R. Crossing. Car horns blowing at the train and ^%$*^#@! Remember the cinders from the steam engines? Burning eyes? The gates and gate house.

And when Ms. Robinson was teaching me grade one at Memorial School and I walked from Southworth street. (#7 ), Chernish lived next door , Youngs, little Bobby. Plays a good game of golf, his wife even better. The Copes (Peggy) down the street. Copes lost a family member in that war also. Costello’s, Ray and Sonny, on the corner ( Crowland meets Southworth), where the road bend made their home a hazard to cars commin’ round the bend.. The next year my walking to Empire school and Ms. Barret teaching among others. Finished my jr. years there. Fond memories. It too (Empire) gone now in name. I shared an I.O.D.E. bursary with G. Collins for marks at Empire.

When the fields were bare and open across from the south end of Crowland Ave. past Lincoln corner and Southworth street with no ‘wartime’ housing’. Brocklebank’s barn (eggs for sale), was the highpoint on the Crowland Ave. With east Lincoln street not paved out to the Merritts (Chas.) place.

And you’re old when you remember the planting of the trees in front of Empire school in honor of the King and Queen’s visit to Niagara. They’re still there. And the “Queen Elizabeth Way”, dedication to commemorate the first Royal Visit to Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother). Queen Elizabeth was delighted with the honor and agreed to attend a special dedication ceremony in St.Catharines on June 6, 1939. The dedication ceremony took place near the Henley Bridge in St. Catharine’s. I think the large commemorative concrete lion etc. may still not be replaced there ? We school kids also got bussed to Niagara Parks to see the Royal ‘them.’ and we got a medal keepsake. Where’s my medal?

I remember too our class being taken from Empire by the school to hear a professional singer at the public school on Niagara Street, Lawrence Tibbet?? Memories fade from the 40′s a bit. The recall of his voice hasn’t.

The later paving of the QE to Fort Erie when we rode our bikes to see (to Lyon’s Creek Road), passing by the old Dell farm where coincidentally I played golf (Willo-Dell).. (Dell farm Willoughby township.) I remember when there were no one way streets in Welland or St Catharines for that matter. No parking meters, no unemployment. 10,000 probably went to work daily at Atlas, Stelco, ‘the’ Page, Reliance Electric, Union Carbide, Stokes Rubber, The Empire Cotton Mill, Plymouth Cordage, Welland Iron & Brass, WelMet, John Deere, Canada Forge and several other forges and more. Women driving trucks, overhead cranes and running lathes, war time ‘Rosey’ the riveters.

I remember so many starlings on Hellems ave that citizens were allowed to blast the trees with shotguns!

I remember when a solitary Jew moved onto our street, Mr. Jacob, ‘Jake’ Lubins as I recall. Black clothes and payess. We were helped with things like butter from him when asked. I never heard a word on the street about Jews. We didn’t know about the ‘final solution’ of the Nazis. I doubt that Jake did then either. Dad was in the navy. Me? in the Sea Cadets R.C.S.C.C. Bellerophon, also gone now.

Hornby florist (still there) next to then Garner’s garage? Great burgers George. Next to Hornby’s on the corner house (now a 7-11) was P.Audet Insurance. He won awards for his sales.
The east side Welland’s Dairy at the end of Major street, with a very large milk bottle on the roof and some sort of gun target range at the corner where Major street was the end of the initial ‘Atlas Steels’, near Major-Patterson- corner area. We used to cut across the tracks there to Patterson Ave go to Empire school.

Speaking of dairy’s, I saw Al Pietz (2008) a few weeks ago, former Welland Mayor. Crowland Reeve and Dairyman. Good guy, looking good Al.

When a horse delivery wagon ran wild on Myrtle Ave. Wild stuff that to a wee lad!

When a building under construction collapsed at Atlas (newly built war time machine shop) and we in school worried about our family members working there. Principal James Allen attempting to assuage our fears. He introduced me to a love of poetry that I try writing to this day. I won/shared a bursary (G. ollins) from the I.OD.E. for my school grade that year.
Where Jones towing and garage sat on the corner of East main (later city Hall parking lot.) The grocery store on the Patterson Ave.. corner across the street. The one that took our empty pop bottle returns for 2 cents and conveniently placed the bottles outside on the back deck..What went round went round a couple times.

Smythe and Venebles (?) grocery down the street, pretty much across from the Martin family.

When There was an Ice plant on Empire street and ‘Tony’ (Dimartle?) delivered ice blocks to our house in the then called Orchard Grove near the north end of River Road (Almond Street.) White’s farm where we stood in Rev. Sayles garage and watched lightning ‘play’ on the barns lighting rods. ( Hi! Ralph-Don.) WoW! That’s entertainment.Most things were delivered then. Groceries, milk, bread, Watkins products and… the rent was often collected at the door too. A couple of us kids were taking guitar lessons for 25 cents a week. That didn’t work out, tin ear.And, recalling a blind piano tuner walking so far (to Almond st.) to tune our piano. Sorry I’ve forgotten his name, but I remember a blind man’s work ethic that taught me a lesson

We lost a young friend to some ailment then, an Alvin Defoe, lived on the corner of Oxford road and later another neighbor Alex in the first mainly Canadian WW11 invasion of France.

When we [borrowed] enough lumber from the Savanac’s future home (She a makeup artist for the little theaters group)to build a boat with Chas. Dixon and row it across the river to the Island (Merritt.)  Saw Chas. at the closing of Empire School recently.

Boating down Chippawa and back on the Welland river. Amazed at the schools of gold fish and their size.

Rev. Sayles driving us to Maple Leaf Mission way over in Crowland for Basket Ball. Few Dads around, few cars, less gas.
And when Dew Drop School, north River Road and the sheep farm was about as far as we kids walked. Mayor Hardy had a spot much later in that area. I learned to drive on that road in 46-47.

Now a bit past that area is to be developed as a sports area at Woodlawn? Large box stores at the road end now.

Looking for and finding arrow heads in the freshly plowed ground at White’s Farm on the corner of Oxford road. . I finally got to buy a bike for $5 from paper route money. Wow! Now could I travel. We got a phone a couple of years before that. Party lines. My favorite number later in a few years was 38 ring 6. Hey Ruth! Out there at HillRust north west of Turner’s Corners. I still remember the apple cider and the tow out of the ditch with the horses that winter night. Names like Hillrust, Turner’s corners, Black Horse Corners, Claires Corners, White Pidgeon, Stop 19, Stop 17, Bitner’s corner or ‘Coyle’ are seldom heard anymore.

On southward then on River Road, past the brick house a teacher Ms. Simpson, lived in the house where I had been born and up the slight hill to the old Turnbull residence stately as was it’s artist owner a Ms. Frances Turnbull. Hmmm, pictured today in my mind not as I last saw her, but in her garden in the forties, wide brimmed sun hat, long spotless smock and garden gloves ..trimming, always it seemed outdoors trimming when she wasn’t painting I guess. I heard tell the large white pillared house was once a hospital but I doubt it. She who once had me capture a fish eating turtle from her fish pond. She who gave me a Xerox of a sketch when I visited her years and years later before the fire. Still have it.(Was a Turnbull not involved with the early years of Electro-Metals?)
We were all then collecting things for the war effort. Things like milk weed pods, aka kapok for life vests, old used cooking fats taken for collection to stores in cans, (used as grease??) and metals of all kinds…all were short of supply and the war wasn’t going well.

Rubber not available for domestic use. I remember crossing the bridge with my aunt who drove an overhead crane at Atlas. She made a grab at her waist, stopped briefly as something dropped from her nether regions to the ground. With a deft kick she caught her skivvies and tucked them into her hand bag. So quick only I probably noticed. Buttons aren’t always reliable.

As I said, we lost a neighbor in the invasion, Alex, he that had the first car thereabouts as a teen. Model T ? I remember him driving us kids to St. Catharines once. Well truth be told all I remember is pushing the car back up the hill. So sad his loss and all the other young people. Still leaves a sad memory to this day.

Up to East Main again and across the busy RR track crossing and there was McCrae’s sporting goods . Remember Alex? Remember Armour our mayor ? Good times for the City then. Busy, busy. Legion, Canadian Tire there too.
Further west, on the south side, the convenience store Joe Agro later owned. I knew Joe. He had once won both a car draw and another draw cash prize of perhaps $1,000 at the Welland fair the same night. NOT FAIR!

Then, The White House Restaurant and across the street Watts Hardware, bought our gold fish there. McDermott’s Confectionery with Bill or Loretta from Port Robinson selling us Superman comics. Wish I had those 40′s comics today.

Outdoor cooking? Why? Our ‘Bar-b- Q savvy was non existent. Neither the means, available food or had we ever heard of the likes. We did get corn from White’s farm, roll it in paper, soak it and toss it in a bonfire..tasted great when you’d had bread and milk to eat or fried toast made in bacon fat in the war years. We did cook weenies on a stick when we had any extra weenies to cook and were lucky to have a stick. (that’s a joke son.)

I remember picking up coal along the nearby RR tracks to burn in our family stove . Would any kid do that today I wonder. No I don’t really, why would they. I remember the coal fire stoked at night and rising to frozen water pipes. Hard to wash up then before school until the coal stove flared and the ever present kettle boiled.

Hamilton & Ferguson Grocery at the corner of River Road always gave credit. Always put a soup bone in our order. Grams Garage (?)corner across the street. The Tribune there now of course.
Across the main street at Burger was Appleton’s Drug store, behind it on Burger later I think the Argyle Coffee shop. Pacsuta eventually opened a Dentist office above there. I was one of his first customers. He’s recently retired from King street.

I still look for that killer tree on the west side of Burger Street which the car hit, before the present church was there I’m sure, and the sad deaths, tragic result.

I also lost a couple of high school contemporaries to a tree on the highway towards Turner’s Corners and well remember a young boy I knew drowning in the canal while in my public school years. (Michael .H.) While faded by the years, I still remember all of them on occasion.
The Fortner House so impressive on the corner of Burger. Nice ladies those.

Down Burger to Division street and Somerville’s or to the best carpenter shop guys in business, on Alexander. That would be the Atherton’s. Up to Burger Park and Sal ‘The Barber’ Maglie played ball pitching for the Atlas Steel team along with Wallace, Buntrok, Cam Picard and cigar, Bill Sherk catching and others with Tommy Jones behind the plate as ump. Ed. Runge ump too. He went on to major league fame as did Sal.Get a fly ball from over the fence…free admission when ball returned.

Down the East Main street a bit ‘Shorty’ Kimber working at Mason-Kells, Hudson- Terraplane sales and service. Kells owned our house, now Hick’s Lumber. After that we moved to Almond St.

English style Fish & Chips shop on the other side later “Louie’s Ideal ‘, none better EVER! with (?) McIver Paints next to I think two brother barbers , later (? Gabe’s) barber shop.
At the next corner Dorothy street.. was our Bellerophon Sea Cadet hall (also now gone!) and across on Main corner the Registry office and the wall enclosed prison where the hangings took place. (There have been 9 persons hanged at the Welland County Jail. The jail closed in 1972.) Now The Muse location.

Across the street a Chinese restaurant at the corner of Hellems Ave. , and next Ector’s Drug store. Sometimes they made the ice cream there as you waited impatiently.

Then The Four Square Gospel hall, formerly I was told a silent movie house(?) Mrs. R. Harper played piano there at one time or other I think.

Sam Tenant’s cigar store with the novel electric cigar lighter on the counter..McMaster’s Hardware, Tip Top Tailors..top floor, (Salterelli’s?),
Patterson’s Furniture, the Park Theater, opening a (?) Tarzan feature, Belcastro’s shoe repair and the nearby John R. Joyce, (our onetime mayor) men’s haberdashery. I delivered his Trib.)

Then cross Cross St. to the corner Woolworth’s, (and I still owe them eight cents for a lead soldier that apparently jumped into my pocket when I was buying ‘Big-Little Books’.)

Across the street again the good old Capitol Theater balcony and all. I first saw Kipling’s Jungle book with Sabu from that balcony, twelve cents! And later saw a Danny Kaye movie with my dad, he in his navy uniform, me in Sea Cadets. Only time he took me anywhere alone. Sometimes they gave out plate services with the price of admission to help war time attendance. Saturday matinée. We got to see two features, a serial like Flash Gordon, a cartoon, The March of Time, and previews all for 12 cents. Milk Duds extra. If you knew the usher sometimes the ticket didn’t get more than a token tear and was reused. (Hi Ruth!) Ruth worked there and married Jimmy.

The Dexter hotel cross the street( I helped dad do some plastering there.), C.L. Robins shoe store where I worked after school and learned how he got rich ..by what he paid, and Ross Stores on the corner at the bridge. Don Oliver worked there till opening his own drapery shop. He recently retired.

I remember how trusting people were then. The March of Dimes for instance had a line down the sidewalk where donations -coins were placed and stayed for the charity. Doors left unlocked, keys left in cars, clothes left in a pile at the swimming pools. A nickel in a shoe. Find something? It got returned if possible. Fights when they happened involved only fists. Not forgetting though Haist’s drug store, Frame’s drug store, Brady’s men’s wear (Dave and Percy), Harry John’s Jewely or the old grist mill in the alley through to the swimming pool where I was later a certified, and paid life guard. Jack Eiler was head life Guard. He later got us doing clown routines at Niagara swim meets where we were entered. Johnny Kaye (Insurance) and his wife oft times drove us.

Diving off the wall or riding bikes off the wall into the canal at the pier. Diving off the main bridge. Diving off the fence on the wood bridge..showing off for anyone that stopped to watch or just for fun. Mom would’ve killed me.
The old open flood of (sewer ?) water rushing through the open pipe below the wooden bridge to places unknown..likely the river before Merrit Island at the Aqueduct.

The Olympia and 35 cent hot beef, 10 cent pie 5 cents more ala mode and 5 cents for milk. Connie on the till and Bill probably just sketching , and their bothers (Normandy Restaurant), and sister ……another sad tale..

Lostraco’s cigar store with Mickey and Julie. Buying a pop, (Creme Soda, Orange Crush, Royal Krown cola, Root Beer), (?) Some said betting in the back, but that’s impossible it’s illegal, and while standing around outside with some of the guys from up King St.. (Bucky-Slug- Dom- ), being told to “Move along boys..move along” by the big cop guy named Nelson. My mother called him “pie face Nelson”, I never found out why.

‘Red’ Lampman, and the fire chief and Wilson the cop, everyone knew their names. The Wilson boys got razed a bit. One guy would yell when we saw Sonny or Jimmy, Hey, what’s your dad do?”
Another would yell, “Nothing, he’s a cop!”

Or Percy’s pool hall, contraceptives available there, certainly not available to us in a drug stores. As I have mentioned, Shady’s Tavern with swinging doors and sawdust floors next to The Tribune on Market Lane and King. The ‘Tribs’ Johnny Swords giving us what ever advice we needed.
Enns keys and Lock Repair at the market square. The confectionery store where Bill spent (temporarily I think), a dollar bill he’d drawn well enough on one side that it passed if not turned over. The place that made bleach around the corner.The market where I spent the money I won playing bingo with granny.

Paying one of the Tuft boys 5 cents for a ride on his newly motorized bicycle in the market square.
Merritt Park where I won $10.00 gift certificate for grabbing a flag at the end of a greased pole out over the canal.
Delivering papers up to apartments and the old city hall building at the corner of King and Division. (the only public washrooms in town?)

The United church where boy scouts met on King Street was great for kids.

The original Leon’s store(s) on King St. Yup, two of them in competition.

The King Street Library where I seemingly lived for years on varied reading subjects found daily, I passed by the library delivering the Toronto Star, newspaper, and returning the ‘read’ books.

I delivered the Saturday Evening Post, Liberty, The Star and The Tribune at one time or another. I remember being mugged once on Asher street, and one of the Tufts boys chasing the ‘robber’ boys down getting my paper route ‘collection’ money back.
Later our haunt du jour the Half Moon with Mrs. Roberto cooking up King street (boot legger) way, Bitondo’s and the Blue Star of course.

Across Main street bridge the day two cars met facing each other and neither would give way. No names divulged, but one had a stationary store as I recall.
The northern exit off Main street bridge before Niagara street where you could drive all the way up Aqueduct St.. behind the stores, across the other still existing bridge, past Bitner’s tea room and all the way to the Triangle (Lee’s) restaurant.

Morwood’s another of our three hardware store. Completely disorganized but the bros. knew exactly where everything was.

The Boston cream pie at the Astoria ? Aster? restaurant. Seems I can remember their having private curtained booths in their early existence? Of course neighboring A.P. Brown’s Jewelry and Healy’s studio, and the old flour and feed mill around the corner bottom of the hill.

Welland High School: Charlie singing black face, “Washington, woe is me” in the school musical. Another reciting Albert and the Lion in British ‘Lanc.” dialect, Liz doing her ‘double jointed’ acrobatic routine. Betty getting engaged. Going to Cats Cavern on Church St. and sometimes The Lion’s Den at Atlas to jitterbug and ‘hook up’ a term we’d never heard of. We were either ‘going steady’, ‘pinned’ or not. Wearing a guys WHVS sweater was a commitment too.

Another ‘Loretta’ was what the parrot yelled at the Rendezvous Restaurant. “Hello Loretta.” Next to Pupos original nearly across from the former hospital now the Annex.

Remember the trolley station office kitty across the corner of River Side Drive and West Main street. We took that trolley across the old timber bridge trestle, (we some time dared to walk across and fished beneath), over the river, through Stop 19, Hillrust, Thorold to eventually Port Dalhousie amusement park for Industry picnics etc.

Port Dalhousie; Remember the high water slide. Port Dalhousie midway gone Crystal beach the same. Erie Beach Park too long gone before either.

Remember August 25th, 1974. On that morning, you awoke to the news that Welland Canal Bridge 12 at Port Robinson lay in ruins in the canal after having been struck by a freighter, the Steelton. Port Robinson and traffic has never been quite the same. I heard the event on police scanner and called Buffalo ch. 7. What a site when I got there. No words, just heads shaking and “How?”

Payroll deductions for the new hospital and the same for Brock, and the same for the arena…yeh, we seniors paid from what we earned. No tax write offs then. No child care credit, no paid maternity leaves.

Remember The active Welland Kinsman Club now defunct. Raised funds for the Empress Ave. school and ARC. industries.To name just a few members then, Tenzen, Kozalka, Lee, Leon, De Smit, Bond, Dr.A. Paulson, Lynn, and certainly our late ‘Babe” Newman, Walsh, Wiseman, Fuss, Kostyk. Meeting at the very popular Rose Villa. I got to be club president in time.
The making of ‘that’ Marilyn Monroe movie “Niagara”. Hey that was 55 years ago and counting!

The submarine coming down the canal?
The canal diversion. The Main St. canal bridge final raising and lowering ?
Then, you too are getting old. Better than the alternative.

-R.A.West

  1. On 16 August 2014, Allan Garner Said,

    Thanks for the memories. I remember lots of what you have written about. I was born in December 1939 at 27 Myrtle Avenue. Later we moved to 41 Myrtle (which is now an empty lot.) I went to Empire School until grade 7. I to have written about Welland back in the day. For now it’s just for family to read.

    Thanks, again
    Al Garner – Vancouver, BC

  2. On 17 August 2014, B Said,

    Morning Allan

    Thank you for writing. If ever you decide to share some of your Welland memories, we would be honored to put them on the site. B

  3. On 17 January 2015, Stan Krysa Said,

    A great account of the past. Well written. I was born in 1943 and recall most of it, including the 12 cents to see a movie or even a double feature. Thanks for the memories.

  4. On 4 June 2015, Louise Mendola Said,

    What a lovely tribute! I was born in 1935, went to Queen St school, then moved not too far from you on McArthur Ave. Knew Chernishes, Peggy etc. Do you recall Hargreaves store where we waited for the latest comic book arrivals? I also collected milk weed pods, fat in tins, whatever the Capitol was accepting for the war effort as Sat matinee entrance fare and my very fondest memory of sitting in the big paper and book collection barn at the Denistoun fair grounds and reading from books there when I was supposed to be helping. I still can close my eyes and smell those wonderful books by the thousands waiting to be processed for the war effort. Lived at the old/new/wading pools and end of pier near the waste runoff. My dad was in the army in England and I remember the air raid warden coming to my Grammas on Bald street to tell my uncle (home on leave) that his cigarette could be seen through a crack in the blackout curtains. Being oldest I dealt with meat tokens, sugar ration stamps etc. and knew where to be uptown first on Sat mornings to get a tiny portion of something rationed that was whispered to be coming in that day. I knew Jane Railton and also recall some of the tragedies you mentioned where high school kids were killed in car accidents. The hangings at the back of the courthouse near the big wading pool still haunt me sometimes. I helped make sandwiches for service men on leave at a temporary canteen near the west side of the Lincoln St bridge . The men played cards, darts etc and 78 rpms played constantly. Thank you so much for allowing me to revisit that very special world this morning. I will save your site and visit it again. L

  5. On 7 June 2015, B Said,

    Good Morning Louise

    Your tribute was also extremely welcoming and we really appreciate your sending it to us. For me this is one of the most special parts of our site; the sharing of life stories. Thank you so much for that. B

  6. On 10 June 2015, Anna Said,

    Couple questions. Where was Bitner,s tea room? And what years was it there.
    C.L.Robins Shoes. Was he related to the C Robins married to Jessie Doan? Thank you

  7. On 14 October 2015, Rob Said,

    A great site for area residents and very informative for others like me, with some great history and memories which have been very well captured. A couple of fire related events actually caught my eye, since I’m an Ontario fire buff who is interested in collecting and preserved these histories. You mention “Red Lampman and the fire chief” I was wonder if Bob Jolliffe (Port Robinson) was the chief during that period? If you or anyone else has information on the area fire stations and events in and around the Welland, Crowland area please contact me at trainingsupport@outlook.com Thanks Rob

  8. On 30 January 2016, Stan V. Cepukas Said,

    Great Site:
    Brought back a lot of good memories. Was born June 18 1949 in the old Welland Hospital (now an apartment building-By the Welland River-near A&W)
    We lived at 145 McApline Ave. . I went to Memorial Public School from kindergarden to grade 8 – then I started grade 9 at Eastdale in 1963 -school just opened-there was no grade 11, 12 or 13 when I started. Moved to 25 Golden Blvd next to the giant VW Dealership.
    Have fond memories of the Park/Capital Theatres, Nicks Fish and Chips near Winnie’s confectionary store. Played with the Leon kids on McAlpine. On same street lived Archie(forgot last name) who worked at Morwoods Hardware-built me my 1st crystal radio set to pick CHOW AM Radio(now I have my advanced Ham Radio license -my call is VE3VAC
    Worked in Canadian TV Broadcast industry – CKNX TV Wingham , CFTK TV Terrace BC and CBC Toronto as a film editor-total of 33 yrs
    Will be at the 55th Eastdale reunion this summer 2016 -cant wait
    cheers
    Stan Cepukas

  9. On 2 February 2016, B Said,

    Thank you Stan for your personal tale. This is something we are encouraging our readers to offer. Helps knit the story of Welland together.

  10. On 13 February 2016, Gerry kirk Said,

    Great memories.

    Welland was a great place for boys in the 40s. Saturdays we’d take in a movie if we could raise the 15 cents. I attended Notre Dame School, temporarily housed in the Cooper mansion on Niagara Street. Sister Angelina got me to sweep floors after school, and gave me a quarter on Fridays. That meant I could go to “the show” AND buy a treat.

    When all else failed, we weren’t above begging for change in front of the Park Theatre. We thought we were in heaven when they cut the price from 15 to 12 cents.

  11. On 14 February 2016, Gerry kirk Said,

    That’s Sister Angeline, of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

  12. On 17 February 2016, B Said,

    Thanks Gerry for sharing. I so often think of earlier and simpler times. When I was a teenager I often got teased for hanging out in front of the Bible Book Nook, one of my favorite spots. :)

  13. On 13 March 2016, Gerry Kirk Said,

    North Ward kids had a different geography to explore. We often went on hikes to the “dikes” north of Thorold Road, along the canal. Always an adventure, especially when we’d put out pheasants or rabbits.

    We did a lot of hiking in the days before TVs appeared, and twice we trekked all the way to my mother’s cousin’s farm in Fonthill. That’s over 5 miles one way. Viewing Tarzan at the Park Theatre gave us a yearning to build a tree house in the forest and live the wild life. Finding no source of food spoiled the dream, and dad would have to drive out to pick us up.

    Incidentally, my dad worked as a milkman. Milk was delivered by horse-drawn wagons at the time, and my dad’s day started around 5 a.m. The first task was backing the horse out of the stall, and hitching her to the wagon. Once the wagon was full, he’d go house to house dropping off milk, cream and butter. There were two types of milk: homogenized and pasteurized…the latter having cream at the top. Half way through the morning, he’d stop at a diner for toast and coffee. Once, while relaxing, the patrons informed him his horse had departed with the wagon. Momentary panic! His day would end around 2 p.m., after the day’s money was counted and turned in. A long hard day, especially in winter, there being no heat in the wagon save a kerosene lantern.

  14. On 25 March 2016, Doug Melville Said,

    I really enjoy your site. Having been born in 1941 I share many of your experiences and appreciate the time and effort you have invested in keeping them alive. As Bob Hope would say; ” Thanks for the memories.”

  15. On 2 April 2016, B Said,

    Thank you. We really enjoy the work invested in saving our counties history.

  16. On 9 April 2016, Bob D'Amico Said,

    Hi: I heard through the grapevine that someone had a photo of the Sunox Bleach factory in Welland. My father, Joe was the owner. We have no pictures of this building , and I would be happy to see any that you have. Thanks, in advance.

  17. On 13 April 2016, B Said,

    Morning Bob

    Good luck on your search. Photos of this factory are not in our possession. Perhaps someone can help you in your search. B

  18. On 24 April 2016, Paul L Gauthier Said,

    I really enjoy your site. Arrived in Welland in 1942 to visit my Dad’s Cousin at 10 Cozy Street, can identify with many things that you posted, like swimming at the canal pool, riding the streetcar to Thorold and back, the collapse of the building at atlas south plant, and many other memories of Welland. Thank you .

  19. On 28 April 2016, B Said,

    Morning Paul

    Glad you are enjoying the site. If you are interested you might write a memory and submit it. They are always welcome. B

  20. On 18 May 2016, André Germain Said,

    We moved from Quebec to Welland in May of 1951 when I was 8 years old. I have many fond memories of the Welland that was then. After living in apartments on Navy St. (upstairs of a wartime house), Morningstar Ave. (basement apartment that got flooded in the spring), Afton St., Hagar St. (upstairs of Mrs. Fazzari’s who had recently lost her husband and who later cooked pizzas at a local restaurant/pizzaria), we finally got our own house on Oakland Ave. near the Welland River. The following link is a book I wrote, a narrative of the exploits of “the River Rats” in the mid 1950s.
    http://shogun555.vacau.com/toc.html

  21. On 18 May 2016, Paul Gorman Said,

    While I was having difficulty researching information on an old Welland Business called, Scales & Roberts, it was recommended that I visit this site on memories of Welland. Although there are many neat articles, I got caught up in this particular one. It just echoed so many familiar recollections. Of special interest ,it was written by R.A. West, a relative of our Uncle George Banks who was referred to in the article. I believe that R.A. was also one time owner of the Morgans Point Dance hall outside of Pot Colborne along Lake Erie, which was a Friday night summer hot spot in the late 50′s early 60′s. As a young lad, I remember Rick A. West visiting relatives on Riverside Drive. I was also impressed with having overheard that he was a mover and shaker of the time.The thought was, that if he could generate a fraction of the excitement in this article that I got as a teenager at his Morgans Point dances, this would be a great read. I wasn’t dissapointed,as so many of the references in this article hit home.

    The following are just a few of the hilites from the article and my recollections, that took me back down memory lane.

    -Uncle George Banks doing what he was a master of, articulate plaster work. He was an avid hockey fan and it was always a thrill to be invited to watch a game with the Detroit Red Wings playing on TV. Gordie Howe was his idol, and Uncle George, a normally reserved man, vociferously let it be known when Gordie had the puck. It was this love of the game that brought me into the fold.

    -The Blind piano tuner that I recall coming to our house to tune the piano, during the years that my older twin brothers, Larry and Jerry, begrudgingly took piano lessons. I was in awe of his talent, and in fear of my mother when she was on the war path over missed lessons. You see, I was also behind on my clarinet practice.

    -Reference to Coyle. This was a childhood playground and fishing spot off the Coyle bridge across the Welland River. The baby garter snakes that we would catch and put in our pockets as pets. Standing around the pot belly stove to warm our frozen fingers in the station in mid winter. The time my cousin Tony and I climbed the 50 foot light tower, and then were afraid to come back to earth. It was from that point on that I sympathized with cats that were afraid to back down a pole.

    -The Fortner House and Fortner Spinsters. There history wrapped in the speculative rumour mill of two unmarried sisters. This beautiful historical Welland landmark altered beyond recognition with the building of new structures blocking the street view of its vintage architecture, situated on the corner of Division Street and Burger. The huge stately Chestnut trees that lined the property, and were cut down to accommodate change.

    -Lou’s Ideal Fish & Chips on Main St. beside the old McLean Motors GMC Dealership building, which is now the Tribune. Mom & dad went there. I frequently stopped by to pick up take home dinner that was wrapped in old newspaper. The simplicity of this old unvarnished house and the out in the open preparation by lou of what was recognized as the finest fish & chips in the area. It was rustic charm without the bells and whistles. I never was one to put on the dog.

    -John R. Joyce, who I as a carrier, delivered the Tribune at his home on the corner of Oakland & Maple.
    He owned a clothier store on Main Street beside the Park theater. I can see him now, a tall distinguished grey haired figure, always in a well fit suit. Always with a warm smile, and soft spoken word. For some reason, in later years, I did most of my clothes shopping at Blakes Men’s Wear. Maybe it was because he was often not at home, and constantly in arrears with his paper boy. Now who could that be!

    -Johnny Swords of the Tribune, his crackly voice, he oversaw we Carriers and our constant battle as preteens, to collect from so called adults who we were told to respect. The Tribune always got its share, while we often went penniless, but a pricless education. I recall putting my son Jeff into this stellar program with the Tribune, to acquire a recognized degree in the human condition. It continues to serve us both well as an object lesson in life 101.

    -The NS&T and the hanging of the large banner “Bridge On The River Qwai” on the side of the wooden trolley bridge over the Welland River, while the movie played at the Capital Theater in 1957. The stars were Alec Guinness, and William Holden, two favorites of the era. Strange that I should remember a little known actor called Ann Sears, who played the nurse. Now there was a looker.

    -The rendezvous and its Parrot, which as I remember said “Paulie wants a cracker”.

    -The Pupo bros who ran Pupo’s out of a converted house on Riverside Drive, where I also delivered the daily Tribune, and periodically found an apple, that had strayed into my hand from the out front fruit & vegetable stand, while always in fear of being caught by stern faced tall Paul. Pupo’s has expanded, and is still going strong, but relocated to Maple avenue, directly behind its original location on Riverside Drive.

    So many other familiar reminisces…. It’s remarkable how memories of the past travel such similar paths. As Jimmy Durante always sang in his closing weekly TV series of the mid 50′s, “thanks for the memories” Rick.

    Paul Gorman

  22. On 18 May 2016, Paul Gorman Said,

    It was recommended that I visit this site on memories of Welland. Although there are many neat articles, I got caught up in this particular one. It just echoed so many familiar recollections. Of special interest ,it was written by R.A. West, a relative of my close Uncle George Banks who was referred to in the article. I believe that Rick was also an owner of the Morgans Point Dance hall outside of Port Colborne along Lake Erie, which was a Friday night summer hot spot in the late 50′s early 60′s. As a young lad, I remember Rick A. West visiting relatives on Riverside Drive, the home turf of my Gorman/Whelan family clan.

    The following are just a few of the hi lights from the article, and my recollections, that took me back down memory lane.

    -Uncle George Banks doing what he was a master of, working in plaster mosaic design. He was also an avid hockey fan and it was always a thrill to be invited to watch a game with the Detroit Red Wings playing on TV. Gordie Howe was his idol, and Uncle George, a normally reserved man, would rub his hands together and vociferously let it be known when Gordie had the puck. It was this love of the game that brought me into the fold.

    -The Blind piano tuner that I recall coming to our house to tune the piano, during the years that my older twin brothers, Larry and Jerry, begrudgingly took piano lessons. I was in awe of his talent, and in fear of my mother when she was on the war path over missed lessons. You see, like my brothers, I was behind on my dreaded clarinet practice.

    -Reference to the TH&B Coyle train station. Located along Riverside Drive, this was a childhood playground and fishing spot from the Coyle bridge across the Welland River. The baby garter snakes that we would catch and put in our pockets as pets. Standing around the pot belly stove to warm our frozen fingers in the Coyle station in mid winter. The time my cousin Tony and I climbed the 50 foot light tower, and then were afraid to come back to earth. It was from that point on that I sympathized with cats that were panic stricken to back down a pole and eventually had to be rescued.

    -The Fortner House and Fortner Spinsters. There history wrapped in the speculative rumour mill of two unmarried sisters living out there lives single. This beautiful historical Welland landmark altered beyond recognition with the building of new structures blocking the street view of its vintage architecture, situated on the corner of Division and Burger streets. The huge stately Chestnut trees that lined the property, and were cut down to accommodate change.

    -Lou’s Ideal Fish & Chips on Main St. beside the old McLean Motors GMC Dealership building, which is now the Tribune. Mom & dad went there. I frequently stopped by to pick up take home dinner that was wrapped in old newspaper. The simplicity of this old unvarnished house and the out in the open preparation by lou, of what was recognized as the finest fish & chips in the area. It was rustic charm without the bells and whistles. I never was one to put on the dog.

    -John R. Joyce, who I as a carrier, delivered the Tribune at his home on the corner of Oakland & Maple avenues.
    He owned a men’s clothier store called John R. Joyce, on Main Street beside the Park theater. I can see him now, a tall distinguished grey haired figure, always in a well tailored suit. Always with a warm smile, and soft spoken word. For some reason, in later years, I did most of my clothes shopping at Blakes Men’s Wear. Maybe it was because John R. was often not at home, and constantly in arrears with his paper boy. Now who could that be!

    -Johnny Swords of the Tribune, and his crackly voice. He oversaw we Carriers and our constant battle as preteens, to collect from so called delinquent adults who we were told to respect. The Tribune always got its share, while we often went penniless, but received a priceless education. I recall putting my son Jeff into this stellar program with the Tribune, to acquire a family acclaimed degree in the human condition. The experience continues to this day to serve us both well as an object lesson in life 101.

    -The ( NS&T) Niagara St Catharines & Toronto trolley crossing at Riverside Drive adjacent to Jerome’s ESSO and the old Welland Hospital, and the hanging of the large banner “Bridge On The River Qwai” on the side of the wooden trolley bridge over the Welland River, while the movie of the same name played at the Capital Theater in 1957. The stars were Alec Guinness, and William Holden, two favorites of the era. Strange that I should remember a little known actor called Ann Sears, who played the nurse. Now there was a looker.

    -The rendezvous and its Parrot, which as I remember said “Paulie wants a cracker”.

    -The Pupo bros who ran Pupo’s Supermarket out of a converted house on Riverside Drive, where I also delivered the daily Tribune, and periodically found an apple, that had strayed into my hand from the out front fruit & vegetable stand, while always in fear of being caught by stern faced tall Paul. Pupo’s has long since expanded. I believe it is still in the family, and going strong, while having relocated many years ago to Maple avenue, directly behind its original location on Riverside Drive.

    So many other familiar reminisces…. It’s remarkable how memories of the past travel such similar paths. As Bob Hope sang in the closing act of all his TV Specials, “thanks for the memories” Rick.

    Paul Gorman

  23. On 19 May 2016, B Said,

    Thank you Paul for the wonderful article of memories for our website.. Every personal memory helps to piece the history of Welland County together. We have so much more to offer in the way of articles etc, and appreciate the input of historians such as yourself. B

  24. On 19 May 2016, B Said,

    Hi Andre

    What a great addition to our website. I will certainly be reading your work this weekend.

    Thank you.B

  25. On 21 May 2016, Paul Gorman Said,

    Andr’e,

    Great to see your articles on The River Rats, up on the Welland History
    site. It prompted me to think of an article that brother Larry penned as his
    University thesis while attending Mcmaster many years ago. He chose the
    Welland River as his topic. The reason that I bring this up is because he
    filed a copy with the Welland Library. As a young lad, I thought this to be
    a novel idea. Perhaps this is another avenue in which to share your unique
    early outdoor adventures. I think of your writings from time to time and
    feel it a shame that they aren’t given more exposure. You obviously poured
    your heart out in putting these memories to paper. They depict a time and a
    place where dreams were created, not unlike Tom Sawyer and Huck Fin.
    Preserving history is an honourable endeavour. Sharing it, is a labour of
    love.

    keep the journey going…

    Paul Gorman

  26. On 21 May 2016, B Said,

    Thank you Paul. We really would love to have others share their memories. It is so important to honor our history. B

  27. On 25 May 2016, Sharon Riley Said,

    I am Paul Gorman’s cousin, and we were two of 17 cousins growing up along the Welland River on Riverside Drive between the old Welland Hospital and Coyle Railroad tracks. Our grandfather, Martin Ignatius Whelan, bought the strip of land between the road and the river in 1913, apparently for a song since no one wanted to live by the river in those days. He divided it into 36 tiny lots, and 100 years later its still called Whelan Plan 959 in the Land Registry records. That was pretty neat to see! He built (eleven we think) of the houses along the river, and I believe all but perhaps one of them is still standing and inhabited. His children and their wives (and us kids) lived out most of their lives in five of them. Having eagle-eyed aunts everywhere sure kept us kids out of too much trouble, but gave us a safe place to freely roam. I do have a question for you. On the 1921 census, the address for Martin and other residents who we know for a fact lived along that section, is ‘River Road’ rather than ‘Riverside Drive’.I’ve not been able to figure out what happened there. But I have a theory and I wonder if you know anything about it. My theory is that River Road was originally one long road following the river from end to end, running along past our houses, through down town to continue along the current day River Road on its way to what is now Walmart. Were the two sections cut off by the canal or the aquaduct or something, necessitating the re-naming of one section? I can’t think of any other reason, but for sure the 1921 census calls our section River Road, confusing many of my cousins. I hope you can add some wisdom to this issue. Thanks for your site, it was really fun to read through. Sharon

  28. On 30 May 2016, B Said,

    Hi Sharon
    We are always happy when readers contribute information and personal stories to the building of Welland and surrounding areas. We hope others will follow your lead. I have no idea when Riverside Drive came into being. In early newspapers the long road was always referred to as River Road. I will try to find out for you or perhaps someone who reads this can answer your questions.

  29. On 8 June 2016, Sharon Riley Said,

    Regarding my question about River Road being renamed in part to Riverside Drive, I now think I can narrow the time frame down. The census in Aprl 1921 calls it River Road. But my father’s brother’s death certificate in September 1922 says he died at Riverside Drive. So the change will have occurred at some time in that 18 month period. I guess we’ll never know the reason for certainty, but I’m sure it must relate to the changes in the downtown section. Thanks for your offer to help satisfy my curiosity. Sharon

  30. On 9 June 2016, B Said,

    Morning Sharon

    I have asked several of my historically minded friends and they do not have the answer you are looking for. I always put unanswered questions in my file so if I discover any clues I can let people know. B

  31. On 16 July 2016, Ron West AKA R.A Said,

    Hi Y’all. I’m the one that wrote the memory piece, Rich’s my slightly younger brother of Morgan’s Point dance hall fame. He had a restaurant on # hwy outside Port Colborne as well. Just setting things straight.
    Bitner’s Tea Room was for awhile on the North East Corner at Aqueduct street and Thorold road.
    I was born in ’32. My memory is pretty good and I recall things I didn’t write here or dwell on, not wanting to be overly verbose..I was anyway.;)
    CL Robins Shoe store was on the South side of Main ,27 main Welland I think. His son Doug took it over later. Clarence..C.L had brothers with shoe stores too , in Fort Erie and maybe in N.F.
    C.L. had horses and lived off west Thorold road. My first job after school… selling shoes which included polishing his riding boots and shoes.
    The store later moved slightly easterly past the Olympia.

    Funny how things still pop into the mind at a scent-sound or passing comment. I couldn’t write it all down in another life time, well, not the way it happened…maybe just maybe the way I remember ‘it’, which has a bit of idealism,rose coloured glasses and optimistic recall.
    Glad those of you that liked my memory piece said so. I enjoyed your recollections as well.

    Ron West

  32. On 16 July 2016, Ron West AKA R.A Said,

    Sharon Riley Said,

    “I am Paul Gorman’s cousin, and we were two of 17 cousins growing up along the Welland River on Riverside Drive between the old Welland Hospital and Coyle Railroad tracks. Our grandfather, Martin Ignatius Whelan”

    My Granny Banks lived near the Whelans. I remember them and the Zahody’s.. It struck me funny, I was born on River Road, and Granny lived there then moved to Riverside Drive..coincidence huh.
    I likely ran into you two back in the day..

    Ron West

  33. On 17 July 2016, Ron West AKA R.A Said,

    On 4 June 2015, Louise Mendola Said,

    “What a lovely tribute! I was born in 1935, went to Queen St school, then moved not too far from you on McArthur Ave. Knew Chernishes, Peggy etc. Do you recall Hargreaves store where we waited for the latest comic book arrivals? ”

    If that was the Hargreaves home on Southworth- # 7 , Hargreaves bought the house when we lived there and we moved to Bruce Street. Then ‘Orchard Grove, -Almond street. I knew his son well . We often swam at the pier With the swim crowd. Married a Violet—– as I recall and was a professional painter. Lenny (Wheezer) Harrison is but one I recall as a good swimmer. The Sykes were swimmers of repute, won medals as I recall.I went to Memorial school then Empire. Living on Almond Street, I remember the Wilson place a black family that lived at the North end of River Road near Oxford. Story was then that the gram-pa still had wrist scars. Don’t know where the house went. It was somewhere across the road from the White’s farm. Right on the river bank.I think they went to Dew Drop school north up River Road somewhere. Maybe someone remembers? I knew the Wilson’s from Welland off Niagara at Merritt Road. I don’t know if they were kin. I remember them as good people. Keith was about my age maybe younger and I knew another Wilson in the Sea Cadets. Any still around? They did Welland proud. Makes ya wonder about those early segregated days. Glad I missed them. Living out in the sicks had lots of advantages and we made good use of the time. The trap line the Cutler boy set along ‘pike stream’ that we delighted in messing with.
    My Aunt lived on Asher Street and I stayed there a while. Knew the Jones’s and Dad ‘Tommy was an Umpire I believe at the Burgar street Ball Diamond. Those were the days of real base Ball in Welland with Sal ‘the barber’ Maglie even playing there. He went on to play in ‘The Show’,Major League Baseball.
    Remember any auspicious Wellanders? Dorothy Rungeling female pilot, author and Order of Canada recipient. Didn’t she start out in a business at the south end of Niagara street? Golfers..well Fonthills Marlene and Anne.. Sharp I remember a birthday round of golf when I was around 19 at Lookout Point golf Course. The two of us, My good friend Blake Nicholls and I waved Anne Sharp and Marlene Stewart Streit through they made us look like the duffers we were. (Remember Gordy, her THE teacher?). … She is the most successful Canadian amateur female golfer, and a world beater.
    I have had 4 hole in ones since though ..Ha Ha!
    Blake my friend was murdered. Most of my contemporaries are gone. I could relate some to the ‘King Street Boys’since I hung with a couple for part of a summer back in the day..”Whadaya hear whadaya say” were the catch phrases if you were ‘in’. We bought what we called ‘Dago Red’ wine for 50 cents. We took pride in our dress and were cool before cool was cool. Seems everyone was trying to imitate the singers of the day, well that’s what I remember. Not that there was much else to do unless you were off to The Red Barn,Morgan’s point or Long Beach hangouts on Lake Erie.
    Wrestling (so called),matches were the bigee event in Welland. The Black Mask or Gorgeous George or the midget wrestlers.
    There were ‘ social event’ hangings in Welland though, at the Court house.. these gallows were the site of the last hanging in Canada, betcha didn’t know that.

    Nuff fer now y’all Ron West

  34. On 17 July 2016, B Said,

    Welcome back Ron. I was really hoping you would reappear with some great memories. Anytime you want to add to the site, feel free to do so. It all adds up to saving this history for future generations. B

  35. On 3 August 2016, Ron West AKA R.A Said,

    It was June 7, 1939.
    I recall our getting on a bus at Empire school and being told we’re off to see the King and Queen at Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls. The ride was uneventful and with kids of differing ages there was a ‘class’ system. We young’uns were rather subdued as I recall…vaguely. A bus ride was new to me and a King and a Queen were story book characters. Hardly real in our world.
    I remember little of the day but the crowds. I couldn’t see anything much to remember but there was lots of yelling, sort of cheering I guess.
    We were each given a metal coin about the size of a (?) Loonie, probably a bit smaller but pretty big to young hands.A brassy medal in commemoration of their royal visit.
    I think the medal or at least one of them had ‘Kinsman’ stamped on it, but I’m not sure. One I saw think I did. Kids traded them around and mine got lost I guess.
    We went slowly back to school, then home. I think I told Mom about the bus and the excitement but forgot it was a royal visit thing til she asked had I seen them..’Nope” I don’t think so, too many people there. The ride was fun though.”
    Later that week, not exactly sure just when, two maple trees were planted in front of the school with a bit of a ceremony. One on each side of the Duncan Street front Main Entrance. We students used a side entrance to go into class though. I think I remember a fire drill using that front entrance.
    I remember it took quite awhile with some old guys talking about the trees commemorating the royal visit. My teacher a Ms. Barret was there though. I sure remember her,
    I seem to remember a shifting from leg to leg wanting to go pee while the ‘commemoration trees were set.
    The trees were dinky things,and nothing special except by their historical meaning..In hindsight there should have been a plaque on them.I went by there today. sad-d-d-d-d-d. :(
    The school is mostly a pile of bricks today in July 2016 and the ‘royal’ maple trees ….Well, I guess they never meant anything to anyone, not over time, certainly, not now today, ’cause they have cut them down for a parking lot. The large maple trees were nearly 80 years old and beautifully shaped. I have recent pictures of them in front of the school actually anyone can see them on Google map,,with a search for Empire School Duncan Street Welland. Least they could a week past,
    There was some effort made to conserve them, but no historical proof or provenance of their ceremonial significance could be found.
    . My thanks to those that tried.
    So in the end the axe man got them, another parking lot as so often happens.

    Ron West

  36. On 23 August 2016, Jack Smith Said,

    The car dealer, where the trib is today was the Chev dealer and was called HEBERT MOTORS. it had an elevator to take the new cars for storage up to the roof. Mclean Motors was on Hellems Ave and is still there opposite Murphy tire (long gone) Morgans Point Dance hall was built by “Pappy Kneff” from Port Colborne and was run by him till the late 40′s Then was operated by Andy LIPTAC who lived on main Street East next to WATT”S hardware . thank s for the GREAT!! sight. Born in 1933 at home on Grove Street

  37. On 23 August 2016, Jack Smith Said,

    Correction Mclean Motors is now Young’s Automotive I believe Sorry , memories fade

  38. On 26 August 2016, B Said,

    Hi Jack

    Thanks for the great memory. I have an advertising brochure for Hebert’s Motors that I should post. Feel free to add any information as it all adds to the history of Welland County.

  39. On 4 October 2016, Ron West AKA R.A Said,

    I must have thrown the covers off around 5 a.m. this morning and awoke shivering since I sleep with a window open.

    For some reason as I tried to get back to sleep I was induced dreamlike to thinking of the cold in our bedroom back in the days just before the war and beyond.

    Things happen like that with a scent or a food or a déjà vu moment.

    We had many a cold awakening back then. No heat in the bedroom other than a bit from the pipe running from the downstairs coal stove through to the roof. When that stove was banked as it always was at night, little radiated to our shared bedroom.

    Our house had four rooms. Two bedrooms, a kitchen and living room. Nice veranda and we had screen doors and insert screens for a couple of side widows.

    Cold…brrrrr Canada in the late thirties forties……Brrrr.

    Sometimes the stove actually went out completely. When we got up for school, Da had stoked or restarted the coals but bare feet on Linoleum sheet flooring caused one to jump about preferably onto the sofa -daybed or chair as we dressed.

    Often enough any water left in a glass was frozen solid. Washing waited for hot water to heat on the stove and then we used the basin put into the sink or passed til after school.

    We did have indoor plumbing, but it sometimes froze up. Da had to use blow torch very carefully to thaw the pipes out.

    In a bad winter, and many were then, that happened too often with no insulation in the old four room home.

    Sometimes we were out of coal, bad years those. I was sent the few blocks to the RR tracks to pick up ‘spillage’. The trains stoking engines or what fell from car loads going to factories I suppose. I usually could get a metal bucket (no plastic then), near to full by a mile or so walk along the track. Heavy to lug back as I was a scrawny kid.

    No thanks or ‘ta’ from Da, just a ‘what took ya so long?”

    Yeah, we had indoor plumbing. There was a sink in the kitchen and a wash room of sorts upstairs next to the bed at the top of the stairs where mom and Da slept. We, the four kids, me the oldest, had to go up the stairs and through their bedroom to ‘our’ room. Two shared beds , one room.

    Sis not yet born. We were then 11 -9-7-5 boys.

    The washroom, well it had a sink and a commode, no tub or shower, those were luxuries I never enjoyed (unless at Aunties) until I married at 19.

    Anyway the cold awakening took me back and I stayed awake for two hours reliving moments I’d forgotten through those years of meager living and war when Da was off in the navy for four years and I was ‘the man’ of the family. We went through the rationing and I can still see in my mind’s eye Mom darning socks. She used a light bulb inside the heel to stitch over. I remember her cutting out an insole of cardboard to stuff in my leaking shoe.

    I remember getting the frozen bottle of milk in from the veranda, cream up an inch or more above the top with the cardboard top sitting like a jaunty cap.

    Making breakfast. The toaster was a two sided flip open toasting two pieces at a time which you had to take out,turn over and do the other side.

    Or– As we often might, make toast in a cast iron pan on the coal stove hopefully with a bit of our saved bacon grease.

    I learned to cook basic things at an early age, not that we had much variety, but it was wholesome and good…well except for mom’s ‘shoe sole’ liver. She never did learn to cook that, and it was very cheap, often ‘thrown in’ to any order so we ate it a lot. The chewing strengthened our jaws I’m sure. Funny masticating just popped into my head..that happens a lot..

    Anyway I won’t attempt to regale you with any more of my recall unless …well…unless I awake shivering and think of…..never mind…

    Ron

  40. On 4 October 2016, B Said,

    Your articles are always welcome Ron. Love this.B

  41. On 21 February 2017, Sharon Pylypiw Said,

    I lived in the Wartime Housing on EXETER AVE. where we would get carbon dust on our windowsill from the plant.
    Now Welland is like a GHOST TOWN with all of the HUGE INDUSTRIAL PLANTS GONE!!!
    Welland was the HUB of the NIAGARA’S WORK FORCE.
    Union Carbide Christmas party @ the Capitol Theatre. – GONE
    Union Carbide & Atlas Steel CRYSTAL BEACH PICNIC
    CROWLAND HOTEL Separate rooms/ WOMEN NEEDED TO BE ESCORTED BY A MAN
    Going for shoes @ HARRY HOKUMS @ the corner of Main St. & River Rd /Burger St. where you got a box of pink popcorn and play on thee rocking horse.
    The horse drawn milk wagon with the NO MILK SIGN placed in the window!
    RACING to beat the BRIDGES going UP!
    BUILDING the MAIN STREET TUNNEL!
    Walking uptown to get a cone of fries @ Louise IDEAL Fish & Chip. BUTTERED BREAD on the Tables.- FIRE – GONE
    Great burger @ the MAJESTIC RESTAURANT on Main Street.- GONE
    THE OLD FAIR GROUNDS! – GONE
    WELLAND HIGH & VOCATIONAL SCHOOL W. MAIN STREET – GONE
    RENDEZVOUS RESTAURANT
    ATLAS HOTEL – GONE
    SUNSET HAVEN the POOR HOUSE!! – GONE?
    MAIN STREET POOL – GONE with some REMNANTS are VISIBLE
    KRESGE & WOOLWORTH LUNCH COUNTER
    STILL shop @ PUPO’S
    Niagara Farms grocery store MAIN & RIVER RD.
    GOTTA LOVE the TONS OF SNOW!!!
    A MUCH SIMPLER LIFE!!! NO AIR CONDITIONER or LOCKED DOORS!!!!

  42. On 23 February 2017, B Said,

    What a great message. I too have fond memories of these wonderful spots that are now gone. Very happy times spent in Welland. Thank you Sharon. Some sad ones also. Like the time the Cisco Kid came to the fair. Imagine my excitement as a kid when I met him behind the bleachers talking to someone. However was traumatized when he jumped into a limousine and drove off. Where was his horse!!!!!! :)

  43. On 24 March 2017, André Germai Said,

    I too have a vivid recollection of seeing the Cisco Kid (Duncan Renaldo) at the Welland Fair. The Sheriff of Cochise (John Bromfield) also appeared there at the grandstand around that time and dazzled us with his mastery of his Colts, twirling those handguns with his index fingers and then “fanning” one of them, getting off 6 shots faster than you could count ‘em. And who can forget the Wild West Rodeos and the Helldrivers who also appeared there and thrilled audiences? And for the record, I think that the shoe store referred to by Sharon Pylypiw was Harry Holcomb’s.
    Requiescat in pace, Rick West…

  44. On 24 March 2017, ron west Said,

    Harry Holcomb was manager of C.L.Robins shoes on Main Street when I started there after school and Saturday. Roy Staley, Ross Howell, (sp) and others worked there then. Some started their own shoe businesses as did Harry and Mac. McBride, his on St Paul -end of James street.in St Kitts,…’Tots for Teens.’ I worked there with Mac for a while in my teens..Harry opened his store where Hamilton & Ferguson Grocery once was on the corner of Main and River Road as memory has it.
    Interesting fact? We were taught us to take a customers shoe away ‘looking at the size…’ and leave it at the shelves so they had trouble leaving and to ‘always’ transfer to a more senior salesman if the customer got antsy and were about to leave.
    I once asked why they had a shoe box with one left shoe in it. I was told a man with one leg had bought the other and C.L. wouldn’t throw the pother out hoping another one legged man might come in and buy the other. Sounds like a tall tale? You didn’t know C.L. ;)
    Thanks for the thought on my brother’s passing. We have lost Rick and Jean of the siblings. Jim Dean and I go on…

    Ron West

  45. On 28 March 2017, B Said,

    Love these memories. Always feel free to add them, Ron and Andre. Big Smile.

    Sorry about your loss Ron.

  46. On 28 March 2017, ron west Said,

    I have many memories of my teen years in shoe stores as I worked some ….in St. Kitts/Niagara Falls(2), and Welland(2). I learned a lot about selling and of life. Once sold a pair of kids brown and white shoes to a circus midget.
    Two pairs to a pretty young lady in …two differing sizes, a polio victim with two sizes of leg/feet. Polio a curse in those years.
    When C.L’s (Store owner’s) son flew his plane under the Peace Bridge. When he hit a cow with his new Olds. 88. When nylons were scarce as hen’s teeth at end of WW2. When I won a chain store’s company stock as second best sales person in Canada. When I was offered a managers job while sitting in Goldie’s place off South King..bootleg beer late after the shoe store closed, (Harry Gone.)
    Didn’t take it .Worked at Atlas Steels like my Dad, 2 brothers, then wife in the N.P finishing,Bro in law – main office and my Aunt in the earlier war years driving a crane. Nephew and son there too for a short time.Mom for a while at the Atlas ‘canteen -bowling allies’, That adds up to a pretty good size family connection.
    Thanks Atlas.

    Ron West

  47. On 29 March 2017, B Said,

    Once again thank you Ron. Your articles are an extremely important addition to the history of Welland. B

  48. On 17 May 2017, Marc Wilson Said,

    Living on Almond Street, I remember the Wilson place a black family that lived at the North end of River Road near Oxford. Story was then that the gram-pa still had wrist scars. Don’t know where the house went. It was somewhere across the road from the White’s farm. Right on the river bank.I think they went to Dew Drop school north up River Road somewhere. Maybe someone remembers? I knew the Wilson’s from Welland off Niagara at Merritt Road. I don’t know if they were kin. I remember them as good people. Keith was about my age maybe younger and I knew another Wilson in the Sea Cadets. Any still around? They did Welland proud. Makes ya wonder about those early segregated days. Glad I missed them.

    Hi
    I came upon this blog out of a need to fill in my early years to my curious children
    I’m Marc Wilson my father was Paul Wilson brother of Keith of the black family mentioned by Ron above
    My great grandfather did have the wrist scars and the segregated days carried on I have vague memories(as are most of my recollections)of him dying at a great age in a housefire
    My grandfather William married my grandmother an Englishwoman from Leeds and had Thelma,Paul,Keith,Marie Jenny and Willa I always remember the address as Stop 19
    Keith was married to Freda an Italian and I have cousins with whom I have lost touch
    Paul met my mother Peggy when serving overseas and had 5 children living in UK and Ireland They divorced when I was 16 and Dad came back to Welland I was in Welland in 1974 with my brother Jason I worked in Union Carbide as a summer job and used to drink with him in the legion and Paul worked in Atlas or maybe Newman Steel as a crane driver but in 1955/6 worked on the ship canal
    We moved to Fenwick and lived in the top of a massive(I was 4/5 years old!)farmhouse owned by Mr and Mrs Stirtzinger a kindly decent family with 2 daughters Nancy and Linda
    I remember falling off Mr S’s tractor and falling down the unplanned woodenstairs(splinters!) and getting severe tummy ache from eating not quite ripe pears and cherries.!Not all on the same day I had some good strong childhood memories of Fenwick
    We lost touch with Dad after 1974 and my mother passed away 2 years ago in Northern Ireland hence the vagueness
    I do have some photographs but would really welcome and appreciate any other information please
    Many thanks and regards

  49. On 20 May 2017, André Germain Said,

    For those interested in reading of the exploits of the River Rats referred to in one of my previous posts, the website URL has migrated to:
    https://wulfblue.000webhostapp.com/index.html/toc.html
    cheers.

  50. On 20 May 2017, B Said,

    Morning Marc

    Thank you for sharing your story and hopefully someone can add to your collection of memories. B

  51. On 20 May 2017, R West Said,

    RE: (“My grandfather William married my grandmother an Englishwoman from Leeds and had Thelma,Paul,Keith,Marie Jenny and Willa I always remember the address as Stop 19″”)
    The Wilson house of William I believe was at the West corner of Niagara/Merritt Road as I recall. Keith had me take my Buick to his dad’s to see about fixing the tranny. Nice man.
    I seem to remember two Wilson’s at Atlas ? Maybe a Roy? But I worked with Keith for years. I still wonder about the Wilson house on River Road, maybe that was the fire that Marc references. ( “My great grandfather did have the wrist scars and the segregated days carried on I have vague memories(as are most of my recollections)of him dying at a great age in a house fire”),There was no longer a house there in the late 40′s though. Still apple trees there then though at the river bank that someone must have planted…Russet apples as I remember. Can’t remember who or which was in the Sea Cadets with me in or around 1945-6.
    So hi Marc, never met a Wilson I didn’t like ;)
    Stop 19 was the trolley stop at the N-W corner (of the now) Thorold Rd. Rice Road intersection. Hamre’s once had the West corner building a street over…Geraldine the daughter, a pretty girl with a beautiful singing voice Married a George….Never mind, I do tend to go on…

    Ron West

  52. On 20 May 2017, R West Said,

    Sorry, the ‘Roy’ at Atlas I now recall was a Roy [u]Jameieson.[/u]

  53. On 21 May 2017, Marc Wilson Said,

    Many thanks Ron
    Keith was a lovely man and he and Paul had a hard time..
    As did all the family not least my grandmother since inter racial marriage was at best frowned upon and even as a 4/5 year old I remember incidents of what I now recognise as obvious discrimination
    Grandpa Wilson was a motor mechanic so he would have looked at your transmission
    My father Paul I guess was in the sea cadets. I know he had a conflicted relationship with my grandpa and ran away from home and joined the army only for it to be discovered that he was underage so he was sent back home
    Not sure what steel plant he worked at but I have photos of him working with heavy plant on the ship canal and of him standing on logs and of us standing in front of a large floral clock? Perhaps that was on a holiday with my mother.I.think we drove to Nova Scotia in an old Studebaker and I cherished a tiny penknife which was a souvenir of Cape Breton Island
    This would be 1955/6/7 ?
    Will post some photos and try to find my mothers photo album
    Thanks
    Marc

  54. On 21 May 2017, Marc Wilson Said,

    Ron
    Thanks for that…

    So hi Marc, never met a Wilson I didn’t like ;)

  55. On 21 May 2017, B Said,

    Great messages. Thank you all for bringing such wonderful and thoughtful memories to our site. Where would history be if not to share.our stories. :)

  56. On 22 May 2017, R West Said,

    Well Yes I guess it was Paul with me in the sea cadets then on the approximate corner of Dorothy and Main streets. 141 Bellerophon was the oldest sea cadet unit in the country! I remember went to get fish chips with him a couple of times around the corner from the Sea Cadet Hall at the place that eventually became Louie Elia’s Ideal Fish and Chips on Main street across from Mason – Kells Auto sales and service.Paul was quiet ‘course we were kids with a war on and short of cash.
    We were pretty proud of our uniforms and ‘pea’ coats. Paul was pretty good at basket ball at our ‘breaks’ in the Sea Cadet knot tying (etc.) classes. I never put Paul and Keith together as Bros for some reason till now.

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