Victoria Avenue Library, July 6, 2017

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Clark Bernat

Carrie Bosco

Suzanne Moase

Red (Ateo) Iseppon

Luella Iseppon

John Harkness

Sandra Kandracs

Lynda Swackhamer

Doug Swackhamer



Clark Bernat: Long story short this is not about us speaking, what it is, is us trying to capture what you know about these buildings we talk about. The library’s going to put that into a database compile it, keep it together, and really, it's about you know we have these pictures but what we are trying to do is capture the flavour of these pictures. What are the stories behind these pictures? um and what we want to hear from you is who worked at different places, who lived there, uh, um we’ll get into some churches, priest that you remember, we’ll get into some schools, any teachers that you remember, who you liked who you didn’t like at that school, those types of things, we’ll add to some of the uh, more interesting aspects of it, so um, I guess what are you doing, you trying to figure out. I’m rambling now, they were alphabetical on my list but let’s not care about that. Let’s start with the City Hall pictures because we have 3 of them. So, we got some pictures of City Hall why don’t we just do those first? So, we will pass those around um share a few I think we have 3 or 4 of City Hall (unclear)

Clark: Let’s start with City Hall building. (passing out photos, mumbled speech)


Clark: Sorry. Way easier when we had it on PowerPoint. So, we’ve got the old Town Hall, let’s start with that one. And I usually have something to read from too. So, the old Town Hall is right beside the current City Hall, so I guess what I’m looking for is - um, does anybody remember um, going into the old City Hall, what was in there?

John Harkness: Oh ya.

Luella Iseppon: Do you remember going into the old City Hall?

Clark: So, we’re trying to remember going into the City Hall, what was in there? What was inside?

John Harkness: Well as far as I know there were only two girls worked there. The one was the mayor's secretary and the other was everybody else’s secretary. I went in there to get my license to get married and had to swear an oath of allegiance to get my license but that’s where I got my license to get married.

Luella: Do you remember the old hall?

Red (Ateo) Iseppon: City Hall? Ya. It used to be, it was a police station was in there also and the basement was a jail and across the street was a fire department and City Hall was City Hall.

Clark: Did then what it does now? Do you remember the people that worked there?

Luella: Do you remember any of the people that worked there?

Red: No, I don’t. But if I saw the names I would probably recognize them, but off the top of my head, no.

John: I remember all the people who worked there because they had a great big staff and you had to take your time when you went there, and all the guys did their own work.

Clark: Right.

Sandra Kandracs: I just remember going with my mom when she had to pay a bill. That’s all I remember.

Clark: So, City Hall you kind of did what you did, ok.

Lynda Swackhamer: What sort of things are Fenian Raids?

Clark: Fenian Raids, those are 1866 uh Irish, um, in 1866 there was an Irish American um, population in the United States that were, um, broiled in their English, sort of conflict with the Irish and the English and decided to grapple it up in North America basically so they sort of congregated just after sort of after the American revolution, sorry the American Civil War - they needed something to do, so the soldiers decided to muck it up in Canada for a bit, so that’s what that is all about.

Red: City market was behind City Hall every Saturday morning.

Clark: That’s my next picture, perfect segue.


Luella: City Market, do you remember that just like that?

Red: Yup, and there’s the fire hall, and across the street was the New York Central uh, Railway Station because the passenger trains that come across the bridge there.

Clark: Right. So, the market was back there does anyone remember any of the vendors or any of the people that sold back there? Any of the things that were kind of...

John: I remember seeing them, but I didn’t know them.

Suzanne Moase: Did you know anybody that sold things there?

Red: I did when I was a kid.

Luella: He used to say that his arms were really long because his mother used to make him carry the bags home. (laughter)

John: (mumbles) We had three ... Downstairs used to be a firehall and it was the stairway up was poured concrete, but it was all logs so we used to sit drinking our coffee and watch the market… and then we’d just ...

Luella: You would buy live chickens?

Red: I did. And it was Saturday morning and I hated Saturday morning because my mother would cross the CNR tracks from Silvertown, and go to the market and there she would buy live chickens and bring the chicken’s home. Their legs were tied, but they were still alive and very much, very much alive and I just hated it carrying baskets of chickens down Erie Avenue, um, past the old hardware store and there was Ed Masters’ father had uh, sold peanut butter and peanuts and jam on the store on Erie Avenue and the kids just used to buy that … (sticks tongue out)

Luella: What about the coffee place?

Red: Oh, the coffee place was on Queen Street it was just one block, one store up on Ontario Avenue.

Luella: They used to roast coffee? They roasted coffee??

Red: Ya on Erie Avenue. They used to roast coffee and you’d walk down Erie Avenue and the smell would just drive you crazy, of course they always roasted on Saturday morning because people from, well going to market would go in and buy coffee.

Luella: And there was a coffee pot where the smell came out of the sign …

Red: There was a big coffee pot where they vented the coffee machine though the coffee pot onto the street and it was the smoke billowing and the odor would just fill the street up. They were smart! (laughter)

John: In ‘54 when I came here Ed Master’s Menswear was on Main Street, ‘course that was a booming place then every Friday night was Main Street and Thursday night it was Queen Street, but Main Street was a booming street then, the sidewalks were crowded on Friday night. And the men’s, I bought, um, the first thing I bought from Ed Masters was 3 white shirts because they were custom made to order. Paid 30 bucks then for 3 white shirts, custom made.

Clark: You still got them, right?

John: I might (laughter) I had them for years.

Clark: While we stay on Queen Street, we’ll do one at a time ya. The first one we'll start with is Booths Stationary if anybody remembers that? That’s not actually where Olson’s Steel is? I don’t know if anybody remember the stores where Olson Steel is?


Doug Swackhamer: Yes, it’s on Queen Street.

Clark: So, does anybody remember anything about that store or that building in between there or where Olson’s Steel is, anything else that was in that building?


Clark: (Laughter) No??

John: Just that it was on Queen Street.

Sandra: I don’t know but what’s interesting is that there are some elderly ladies that are in their 90’s now...

Clark: We should drag them out here.

Sandra: (laughter) Well, the one is pretty blind, but they might have some good stories that I could gather from them.

Clark: Well this one would be something that you people from Niagara Falls would know. Woolworth’s (laughter)


Red: Yes, Woolworth’s place what was that third one there…

Luella: I remember there used to be a lot of shoe stores on Main Street, Queen Street too.

Red: I remember that, used to go there when I was a kid.


Clark: So, what were they selling when you were a kid, what did they have in Woolworths?

Luella: They had a lunch counter. (laughter)

Red: Busy, busy, everything else in there too.

John: They had Woolworths, Kresges …

Luella: They had Woolworths, Kresges and what was the other one?

Suzanne: Metropolitan.

Luella: Oh, the Metropolitan!

John: Yes, Metropolitan, my wife worked there, every counter had a girl behind it, you know not like today, every counter.

Suzanne: Yes, yes.

John: They paid them nothing of course.

Suzanne: But they knew everything about their product, right?

Clark: So, Woolworth’s had a counter and it was a 5 in 10 sorts of a little bit of everything?

Luella: Ya, it had food counter and you’d sit in sort of those spinning seat covers.

Clark: So, was it like a soda fountain type of set up? No? More of a diner?

Luella: No, it had a long counter, it’s …

Clark: Um, anybody know anybody who worked at Woolworth’s?

(mumbling) (side talk)

Luella: He’s going to be 88 in a couple months - same as you. It’s nice, … good memories.

Clark: Does anybody remember anything they bought at Woolworth’s? Just stuff?

Luella: Do you remember anything you bought?

Sandra: Probably little toys.

John: Everything.

Sandra: I remember it was the men's store down there - what was it Kent’s?

Lynda: In the Woolworths? The Woolworths?

Sandra: No, no, down on Queen Street, Mr. Hirst? Do you remember that name? He used to work there.

Clark: Try another one to see, maybe that one was corrupted? Oh, you're trying. So, do we have the… what about the block um, by City Hall.


Luella: Right up your alley...

Clark: So, the Imperial Bank building, oh that one came out, okay can you maybe get the Elgin block up, that’s what I’m on.

Suzanne: Sorry which one?

Clark: Elgin block Um…

Suzanne: Queen Bean?

Clark: Queen Bean, yup.

Red: I owned that building at one time.

Clark: Oh, did you?

Red: Joyce Waters was the tenant in there, and the lawyers worked up on that, who’s the lawyers now? I’ve forgotten their name but they were up on the second floor.

Luella: And your company.

Red: Our company were up on the second floor.

Luella: INS were on the main floor and they had a pool hall in the basement.

Clark: For staff?

Luella: For the employees and …

Red: This was a …

Luella: Stock Market ...um place …

Red: Yes. I forget the name of it now.

Clark: A broker?

Luella: Ya a broker … yes.

Red: And there was a men's clothing store next to that.

Luella: On Queen Street side.

Red: Stephens…

Luella: Oh, Sammy Stephens? He was a …

Red: I forget this was after the original people that were there.

Luella: And he …. renovated this. Red renovated this and put the original pictures in the vestibule, there’s some very good pictures in the vestibule on this building still… Ya ok, because they put those in.

Clark: The city has the offices in there now.

Luella: Ya, ok, because they put those pictures in.

Clark: Alright, so this is the building we are talking about now, we are back on track.

John: Where is this?

Luella: Queen and Ontario….

Clark: Yup, Queen and Ontario.

John: The Odd Fellows building?

Luella: Were the Old Fellows ever in that building?

Red: Yes. they used to have a dance every Saturday night.

John: They owned the building. They were on the top floor, but they owned the building.

Clark: There were dances in that building too, did anybody go to the dances?

John: Pardon me?

Clark: Did anybody go to the dances?

John: I went, on Saturday nights because I was pretty new then, and I went with, he had a, he was a barber and he had one next to…. the old firehall, I think…. (mumbles) it was later on, maybe they took the fire hall out of there, he was there for a long time.

Clark: So, what about the dances, what were the dances like?

John: Everybody had dances then, there was no TV.

Luella: Did you go to any of the dances?

Red: No, but Ma Fig and her orchestra was the music.

Luella: Ma Fig?

Red: Ma Fig we used to call her and she lived in the Stamford Centre and she’d come down and play at the dances.

Clark: She played there?

Luella: Yes.

John: She played sort of everywhere, all the churches had dances.

Luella: Was she a singer or did she have a band?

Red: No, she had a band. Ma Fig, she had the band and she supplied the music.

John: She played at Niagara on the Lake, out in the park they had out in the park they had a dance hall and they had that screen, fly screen all the way around.

Clark: That’s out at the park, ya. Ok, down Queen Street, (mumbling) right. So, getting a bit more contemporary - Ballett’s Clothing Store - women’s lingerie.


Luella: Do you remember that? Anything special about it?

Red: Yes. Nothing special, but that’s just my memory.

Clark: Women’s lingerie store, you weren’t going in, right?

John: My wife would be the one to talk about this …

Clark: You know about it … (laughter)

Carrie Bosco: Well, because Queen Street was the only place you could go when I was growing up to get shoes, or a pair of jeans and Ballett’s was kind of a nice store, pretty expensive at the time, but ya it was pretty popular, of the few places you could get something decent.

Clark: Not from Eaton’s?


Luella: Oh, what was the name of the silver company?

Red: Rogers?

Luella: Rogers Silver?


Clark: So, moving off of Queen Street and out of the downtown a little bit. Cyanamid factory swimming pool.


Luella: Oh, the swimming pool, all of us swam in the swimming pool!

Red: Oh, my goodness.

John: They used to pull from across the river to swim in there.

Luella: I lived in Port Robinson and we used to …

Clark: You used to come from Port Robinson to swim there.

Luella: Ya. So, this was taken from the picnic grounds he said over.

Red: Boy, that’s a sight!

Clark: So, what do you remember? Like obviously a swimming pool is a swimming pool, but was it because there was no other swimming pools around? Was that the only place?

Luella: It was big.

Clark: Niagara Falls doesn’t have any … it has water but it's not swimming water.

Luella: Was it free? Was it free?

Red: They pulled water from the canal.

Sandra: Was the water in this pool from?

Clark: It was from the Hydro Canal?

Sandra: The water in this pool was always murky, you could never see the bottom and the bottom was kind of gritty.

Luella: That’s right, but it was pumped out of the canal.

Sandra: All I know is that we went swimming there and the whole family would go and there was people sitting off on the hills, families, kids are down there, lifeguards, it was a busy place. Actually, my grandfather worked on this.

Luella: No, you didn’t have to pay to go in, it was free to go in. and it was a big swimming pool and it was open to everybody.

Clark: Well and that’s the, the fact that it was next to a chemical factory, always makes me a little...wonder.

Luella: That’s what I think.

Clark: But, did anybody care about that? Did anybody talk about that?

Sandra: Never even thought about it, well, why would you? It was there, it must be safe.

Red: Only thing people cared about were the people who lived on Ferguson Street and Buttrey Avenue, because the west wind would invade and they would take all the smoke from by the Ferguson and blow it right down the street.

Luella: Put your laundry out.


Red: So, when you put your laundry out a lot of time my mother would just curse the sight of it because she’d have to do the laundry over again and then hang it in the basement.

Luella: That’s how bad the air was.

Clark: Now, did anybody know anyone who worked at Cyanamid?

Sandra: My Grandfather did.

Clark: Do you know what he did there?

Sandra: He was a janitor. He was an immigrant to the country and that’s what he did. But he worked there, ya.

Red: Half the city worked at Cyanamid.

John: My uncle. He was a Canadian uncle, but he drove a truck and he hauled from the quarry and I remember him taking me but that’s when we first came. They hauled the stuff they make, some was made into fertilizer and some was made into drugs.

Clark: So, it was drugs, fertilizer and a few other things chemicals, right?

John: Oh ya, it was tons.

Luella: You said half the city worked there?

Red: Oh ya. When I worked they had their own railway locomotives, two of them that I can remember very distinctly it was locomotives not the same size as Canadian national, but they were industrial locomotives, and uh, it kept them busy.

John: I remember the guys the ones that retired and the ones that worked in the plant, years later lasted about a year...

Clark: It wasn’t very long then?

Clark: Now I also, beyond the pool I also have seen pictures of a bowling alley and a recreational hall, were they open to everybody as well, or was that just for employees?

John: No, it was just for the workers. That’s where You know down where the … um… what do you call it?

Lynda: The Gale Centre.

John: Back behind the, you know where Gale Centre is now, they had places for the employees.

Red: Um yes, there was, I don’t recall, they were a good company and they had, I don’t remember what it was but they can something yes.


Clark: So, this one the library did this one on the corner of Thorold Stone Road, the McGibbon’s Inn.

Red: Right at the curve. I remember right at the curve, the McGibbon’s Cab Company

Luella: The Gibbon what?

Red: The McGibbon’s cab company, right at the curve, and that’s where they’d be.

Clark: And they were offering, I took a bit on this this afternoon, I mean they were operating until well into the ‘60s. McGibbon’s still owned it by then. Did anybody know the McGibbon’s or, who they were in the community?

Luella: Did you know the McGibbon’s or do you remember anything about the McGibbon’s?

Red: No. Other than that, they were there.

John: There's motels all the way-out highway 8.

Luella: Well, tell them about why motels were on, why um, the city bylaws.

Red: Oh, there was a bylaw that you could not have a motel in the city, but just in the Stamford Township you were allowed to have it. So, if you were Stamford township, that’s why Lundy’s lane where the city ended and Stamford township began, that’s why all the hotels ended up on Lundy’s Lane.

Clark: And then the other way along the border as well.

Red: Yes.

John: Lundy’s Lane because that was the old highway, and the Queen E wasn’t really, second then it was…

Luella: Highway 20 ya.

Red: Knott’s Hotel on Staley Avenue close to Ferry Street was the first motel that was built under the new bylaw where motels were allowed, and I built it.

Sandra: Who was that Knott’s you said? Tony Knott?

Red: Ya.

Luella: And he built the Flying Saucer too.

Clark: Oh, did you. The original, right? Not the current one?

Luella: No, um, well, it’s still there, the original shape is still there, it’s poured concrete.

Clark: Does it look different, it is just because I’ve seen pictures where it looked different or is sort of just the molding outside looks different?

Luella: He said there was pictures of the um…

Clark: A little bit more rounded Flying Saucer.

Luella: I think they added a second one to it, didn’t they? The second pod, when you built the original one.

Red: I built the original one, they put the second one, wood framing for floors on that and just cut it to shape and built the walls around to shape.

Luella: And poured the concrete?

Red: To shape, and pounded the plywood sheeting on it, nailed it to shape and that was it. We just made it happen. (laughter)

John: Mrs. Rosburg, the older Mrs. Rosburg she lived on that street just past the flying saucer, when she saw that on her street she complained to City Hall and they did nothing about it. She packed up and moved to Toronto.

Luella: Did you know that? Mrs. Rosburg didn’t like that building and she packed up and moved to Toronto. She had complained to City Hall (laughter)

Sandra: What’s your last name?

Luella: Iseppon.

Sandra: You must have known my dad, Bill Kandracs.

Luella: Bill Kandracs.

Red: Ya.

Sandra: Well that’s my father.

Red: Oh, is that right? Small world.

Sandra: Yes. When you said you built that I thought you must know Dad.



Clark: Hey there we go; can we make it a bit bigger? Alright, so next one moving in further from the core is on Victoria. So that's this is now Victoria right near Stanley Park, Valley Way, no not Victoria, Valley Way and … it’s on there Victoria?

Luella: Yup, Valley Way and Victoria where it meets.

Red: Ya on Victoria.

Unknown speaker (off camera): Valley Way and Victoria, where it meets.

Luella: Where a good used car could be bought for 25 dollars.

Clark: So, does anybody remember that car dealership?

Red: It was way before my time, just before my time.

Sandra: It’s from 1922 so… (laughter)

John: The Mercury Lincoln was about there, they worked down, they had a fire in there, I remember being down …. The alarm went off and they set the place on fire and everybody had been wondering what had happened.

Clark: Anyone remembers that place, did anybody buy a car there?

Sandra: It’s from 1922 so… (laughter)

Clark: Well it’s still an auto body now, so I presume that it would still be...

John: Well, I was talking about a different time, I was talking about in the ‘50s so.

Clark: Ya we know you weren’t around in the 20’s… (laughter)

John: But I remember that name.

Clark: Do you remember the Bouck, Bouck was there in the 50’s

Luella: Do you remember the name Bouck? B. O. U. C. K? Do you remember?

Red: Ya, that was the auto dealer they were there on Victoria Avenue.

Clark: Did you ever buy a car off them?

Red: No. My father did.

Clark: Do you remember what he bought?

Red: No. I don’t remember.

Clark: Alright, ummm… The Hospital …


Luella: It must have been when his father was doing rather well after a while, at first, he had a bicycle and he didn’t, do you remember he would put straw in the tires because he couldn’t afford the uh, uh …

Red: Tubes.

Luella: The tubes, he had a job right out of Fort Erie, right?

Red: Ya, he uh, worked at Queenston Quarries and he used to come down at night into the Ferguson Street on a bicycle with tires filled with straw wired on because he couldn’t afford to buy the inner tube because he took money down on the lot on Ferguson street to build a house so he’d work all day at Queenston Quarries and then get on the bicycle and ride down at night to work on the house at Ferguson street and then go back when it was night and go to bed and he’d get back up in the morning and work in the quarry, what a life.


Clark: To do it all over again, 6 days a week.

Red: And to try to keep the tires, the wheels inflated to be able to come to work at night and then go back home, what a way.

Luella: There’s more to that. Um, once they got the house almost done, his mom put a quilt too close to the oil.

Red: To the furnace.

Luella: And burnt the house down.

Red: Burnt the house down.

Luella: And he had borrowed the money from what’s Sangster’s Lumber, Sangster’s.

Red: Bill Sangster.

Luella: And that was on what, 4th avenue?

Red: First Avenue, the lumberyard was on First Avenue, Bill Sangster Sr. lived on, I think it was Third Avenue and when my father was there just watching the firemen put out the fire and Mr. Sangster, Bill Sangster pulled up because at that time the city was small, when they rang the bell you knew where the fire was. Bill Sangster walked up to my father and said well, you are going to need some more wood, and my father hadn’t paid for the first house.

Clark: The first house?

Red: He was paying off the first home, let alone the second house. And he was just dumbfounded. He said just give us the order and we’ll bring you wood.

Luella: That’s how it was.

Red: And that was it and Sangster lumber brought the wood for the second house.

Luella: But my husband went on to build many, many, many buildings and he used to order train loads of lumber through Sangster Lumber because of that tie back, train loads.

Red: That’s true loads of lumber and it was because Bill Sangster came down and told my father if you need the lumber just order it, and that was it.

Clark: Alright, let me go, that’s not Ontario was it, this is not Victoria, um, this is the hospital sort of in that area on Jepson. Does anybody remember the old hospital on Jepson?

Red: That’s Jepson Street, right?

Luella: Yep.

John: Well that was the only hospital when I came here.

Clark: So, who was born there?

John: Ha-ha

Clark: You weren’t here yet…

John: No, no my cousin she had a little boy and she said it was her first time coming over and customs said where were you born, and right away he said at the hospital, and she always remembers that, thought it was cute.

Luella: It’s just men in that picture, so you would have been born there.

Clark: It’s just men in that picture, eh?

Suzanne: Ya, I think it was men only, or at least men on that floor anyways.

Doug Swackhamer: Men only.

Clark: So, does anybody remember any of the doctors that worked in that hospital?

Red: Ya.

Luella: Who would that be?

Red: I don’t remember...um…

Sandra: Did Dr. Fisherman work there?

Red: He had an office down on St. Clair Avenue, right behind the post office. Dr ...

Suzanne: McGary?

Clark: Dr. McGary?

Red: Nope. McGary was either in the next building or the next block.

Clark: So, were there doctors just in the hospital that didn’t practice regularly is that how it worked?

Red: I don’t remember.

Clark: You don’t remember?

John: No they had no doctors in the hospital, you’d go out.

Clark: Right, it was just nurses in the hospital and your own doctor would come and visit you.

John: But as soon as you said McGary, you’ve got a lot of McGary’s, like Howard McGary was my daughter's doctor he was a pediatrician, his family had a clinic down at the end of, I can’t think of the street now, in the city - pardon me, do you know where Doctor McGary’s clinic was?

Luella: Do you know where doctor McGary’s clinic was?

Red: I was just trying to remember the other name of the doctor.

Luella: He’s trying to remember the other name of the doctor (laughter) One memory at a time.

Sandra: Wasn’t he on, was that on Portage Road?

John: No, no - it’s still there, it’s a great big huge building, it’s one over from Queen Street.

Sandra: Oh, (chatter) … my grandmother lived out there. I still remember Dr. Fisher.

(various chatter)


Clark: Alright, let’s go into a school. I think this is the only one we've got in the downtown core, St. Patrick's School. Anybody happen to go to St. Patrick's School or know somebody who went to St. Patrick's School?

Red: You know…

Luella: Did you go to St. Patrick's School?

Red: Nope, I went to Glenview, but all the kids around me went to St. Patrick’s because they were Catholic and I was Protestant. And all the Catholics went to St. Pats. Yep, I remember that school.

Luella: Do you remember any of the teachers?

Red: Nope, because I didn’t go there.

Luella: Do you remember when they, is it still there, is the building still there?

Red: No.

Clark: So that building is gone, so it was near the church I presume or around the church?

Luella: Was it near the church?

Red: Right on the corner of Victoria Avenue and what was it, maple street there… right where the new school is now, that’s where the old school is …

Suzanne: And what did you know about that Church? That it was near?

Luella: What about the church it was near, what do you know about that church?

Red: Oh St. Pat’s, ya. That was built by the Newman Brothers in St. Catharines and in later years I remember putting the dormers on the steeple and re-shingling the steeple.

Luella: We have pictures from up there - down Queen Street.

Red: And that’s about it, it was built by Newman of St. Catharines and I worked on the steeple and so forth (laughter)


Sandra: You are moving away from Queen Street area did you know anything about the Gay Brothers Bakery?

Clark: No.

Sandra: Holy.

Luella: Gay Brothers bakery.

Red: Gay Brothers Bakery, oh ya.

Sandra: Oh! They used to deliver the bread by horse and buggy, and when I used to visit my grandmother who lived on Willmott Street. When I heard the clunk, clunk, clunk of the horse, I’d go running they’re coming they’re coming she’d give me some money because they used to make these suckers. So, I’d run out.

Luella: Do you remember they made suckers?

Sandra: I could give you a lot of information on that bakery.

Red: But, Gay Brothers used to deliver by horse and wagon and I lived on Ferguson Street and we’d wait down on the corner of, of, Buttrey and Ferguson Street for the wagons to come by and grab on the back and get a ride and of course the driver would run out and chase us off, we’d run out and then run back and get on again, it was uh… merriment.

Luella: Was there a lot of activity around that bakery was it a big bakery?

Sandra: Um, I know they had stables for the horses. And was it on St. Clair?

Luella: was it on St. Clair? Where was it? On the corner of what?

Red: Right on Queen Street the alleyway is still there and the building on the corner then there was an alleyway and there was Gay Brothers Bakery and they kept their horses up on the laneway up where the roads Simcoe and Ontario cross over the railway tracks there was a stable there where they had their horses.

Luella: Is that the one where your mother gave you money to collect the horse manure? Are they the guys or?

Red: They were the horses I’d follow.

Luella: His mother used to pay him to get horse manure when Gay Brothers Bakery came down their street.

Red: They came down River Road and came around Buttrey Avenue toward Silvertown.


Red: And I would discretely follow the horse with a pail and a small shovel. Because when the horse would dump and I brought that home my mother that was fertilizer. And my mother would pay me 2 cents. And 2 cents at that time was big money you could afford to sort of hide from the rest of the kids and hide the bucket and the shovel very discretely and still follow the horse when the horse went, I had it. (laughter)

John: When I go down to the doctor's office on Queen Street you look up on the side of the Gay’s building and you still see on the top of the top there’s still adds there for Gay Brothers Bakery.

Sandra: Isn’t there something down there still, ya that’s what someone said to me, you should see the sign is still there.

Clark: On the brick?

John: Ya.

Earl Family Farm?

Clark: Ok so going well away from the downtown, well not that far away, Dorchester Thorold stone, the earl family farm, peaches? Just down the Earl family. Does anybody know that property?

Sandra: We probably picked peaches there. Because I know when I was a kid.

Clark: You stole peaches from there? (laughter)

Sandra: Well you know sometimes it was pick your own. Whenever we were go St. David’s we’d go to the farms there.

(various conversations - chatter)

Luella: Red’s parents when they first came here from Italy they lived in the quarry right? In the quarry on the escarpment.

Clark: Queenston Quarry.

Luella: Yup, Queenston Quarry, that’s right. And they used to get bread delivered and milk and what else and there was one central well, they all were out of the same well

Red: ____ Grocery store out on Ferguson street to the groceries up and they would open the store 3 days a week and they had a little building up in the quarry and they would come up and they would take orders for the people who lived there and they not only did orders but they had basic food stuff in the one store and if you needed it, it was available. And they would bring people going back to Niagara Falls they would jump in the truck it was a truck and they’d go back to Niagara Falls.

Luella: give them a ride?

Red: give them a ride because there was no transportation getting out of the quarry, getting back up to the quarry that was your tough luck.

John: I think when we bought that land from the church for the Monroe house … first of all they took the top off and used the basement out and then we took it, the whole thing out and built the church in there, and that’s where the name glen gate came from. The new church (mumbles) and the new church is still called…


Clark: Ok, we go on to Beaver Lumber. A little bit more contemporary. Does anyone remember shopping there?

John: Oh ya, it was booming when I came over.

Clark: That’s over where the Delta Bingo is basically.

Luella: Do you remember it? Did you buy things there? So, what would you buy there?

Red: Building materials.

Luella: So that was when you were in construction then?

Red: 2 x 4’s, 2 x 6’s, 2 x 8’s, building materials.

Clark: So, did you work do you remember any of the people that worked in the Beaver.

Red: Probably.

Luella: Go ahead, try to remember some of the people that worked there.

Red: Because we primarily dealt with Sangster lumber on First Street.

Luella: And what was his name? His first name Bill?

Red: Ya, Bill Sangster.

Luella: And what was his father's name?

Red: Bill Sangster Sr.

Sandra: So, my dad probably went there all the time to … Beaver Lumber.

Luella: Her dad probably went there also …

Red: Oh yes.

Sandra: Ya, I was sure Beaver Lumber ya.

Red: And Beaver Lumber was on Fourth Avenue (mumbles)

Suzanne: It was on Fourth Avenue before it was on Drummond?

Red: Beaver was on Fourth Avenue, ya, just before.

Sandra: What?

Suzanne: Before this?

Red: No, I don’t recognize that building.

Luella: No that’s where Delta Bingo is now.

Red: Ya.

Luella: So was it on Fourth Avenue before then.

Red: Yes.

Unknown speaker: Before this?

Luella: It still looks like that, Delta Bingo, when you know it was the Beaver.

Everyone: Ya, yes, (laughter)

Luella: You can really see it.

Clark: Now this picture shows it open, all the lumber you can have you just need a roof now was this during the construction of Beaver Lumber or was it always open until they just closed it up, you know? Like was it always open ...

Luella: What do you mean by open?

Clark: Well, like you can see right through the building, like it’s not actually a building. Like basically a roof.

Luella: Was it basically just a roof open?

Red: Open truss?

Suzanne: Well they’ve got city barriers there, so it looks like maybe they are renovating or something? In ‘77 a fire destroyed, and it was quickly rebuilt.

Clark: Ok, so that’s probably when they redid it.

Suzanne: Ya.

Everyone: Ok.

John: Pardon me, before it was a Bingo hall it was, what is it called, you rented your store in there.

Luella: You mean a storage place?

John: No like a flea market…

Clark: You’re not mixing that up with the St. Catharines one are you because the St. Catharines one did the same thing...

John: No, no ..

Clark: No, it was this one, ok.

John: We’d just wander around and you’d go in on a Sunday.

Suzanne: St. Catharines did the same thing with the Beaver Lumber.

Clark: I think it was a flea market in the Beaver Lumber afterwards as well, I vaguely remember that.

John: It was later on it was set up in a very small way but it went big and it was a lot better business and it went 7 days a week and it went bigger and bigger.

Clark: You think we should add those ones?

Suzanne: I don’t know, we’ve hit our one-hour mark - ish.


Luella: Just down the street closer to the canal there was a house there and it was the city yards for the water department wasn’t it, and the water commissioner used to live on, it’s just neighbour to there remember Dave Pringle used to live where the Lions Club is now.

Red: Ya, on Drummond Road.

Luella: On Drummond Road.

Red: On Drummond Road and the Canal.

Luella: Ya, so just neighbour to that and the water commissioner and his name was Dave Pringle and he and his wife lived in that house and in behind it was all these huge water pipes and kids used to play back there I’m sure they weren’t supposed to but it was city land and that was part of his pay was getting this house.

Clark: You got a house to be a commissioner. Huh. So, the other picture they gave us was the construction of the Morrison Street bridge across the Hydro Canal and so I was just wondering if anybody did any construction work on any of the bridges or the Hydro Canal or anything like that? I guess the other thing is growing up in Niagara Falls what was it like being around the Hydro Canal? Cause now it is corded off, and it was always fenced off limits.


Luella: So, they wanted to know what it was like growing up around the Hydro Canal? How about swimming in it Red?

Red: We never swam when the walls were vertical we only swam when the walls were sloped and that was very, very, dangerous because the water was...

Luella: Drop…

Red: The water left the vertical walls and went to the sloped walls and it was really fast, and you’d jump in at the top end and then panic to stay close to the bank and then there were 2 or 3 ropes near the other end to grab before you were swept down into the floor beam of the power house.


Sandra: Is that where they’d, my dad tells a story about how they’d grab a rope and they would get a hold of rope and swing out onto the water...

Red: That’s under the bridge you could go out under the bridge and drop out onto the canal get the rope and drop under, the main thing was to keep to the right-hand side because if you missed the right-hand side, because if you missed the right-hand side you went down...

Sandra: That’s what My dad didn’t know how to swim, and he thought it looked like fun and he got hold of the rope and jumped out like the big guys did, and he let going and then, but he didn’t know how to swim (laughter) but he thought he’d get the rope and go… but … somebody rescued him.

Red: Ya that is a foolish and dangerous thing to do but we did it.

Sandra: That’s right, that’s right.

Luella: But, when in the around Silvertown where the trains are near where Lococo’s is now, he used to swim in the tank, in the water tank that they used to fill up the trains with and they pull the train up and they’d pull the train and it was like being in a toilet bowl (laughter) and the kids would be inside this tank.

Red: Oh ya, it was a big wooden tank, wooden tank on legs.

Luella: Warm water.

Red: And it was up maybe 40 or 50 feet you went up by single ladder and there was a sloped roof with a hole in it and a ladder inside and what you did was you went up opened it up and, and jumped in because the water was warm and you swam around and then you’d get up on the ladder and then stay on the far side from the CNR railway offices so the cops wouldn’t see you until you got dry and then come back down the ladder. Well, sometimes the cops would come over there and you’d go out and you’d look down and the guy would be … (waves hand) (laughter)

Luella: It’s a wonder anybody is alive.

Sandra: Did you ever hear the story about the pilot who took the plane underneath the rainbow bridge?

Luella: Do you remember that?

Red: Ya.

Luella: He remembers.

Red: Ya, I remember the plane coming down the Niagara River from the old bridge coming down past Ferguson Street and I’m looking down and here’s this plane coming down.

Sandra: Did you know who that was? It was the Gay brothers, one of their sons who was a pilot. And he took the plane and he went under there.

Luella: One of the Gay Brothers was one of the pilots, was the pilot.

Sandra: Earl Gay was his name.

Luella: Early Gay was his name, Earl. Now, he skipped school to watch the bridge collapse.

Red: Ya, the bridge up at Fallsview, um, the ice damage it caused the, uh, and they closed the bridge because it would eventually collapse. And everybody went wanted to skip but on this day, I decided to skip school and I went up to look at the bridge and I was sitting there watching it and all of a sudden, down it went, so it was worth skipping school that day. And I think I got away with it because I explained to the teacher I saw the bridge collapse go down and um …

Luella: You said part of it was taken...

Red: It came down the river on pieces of ice and it sank just before the last piece sank just before the rainbow bridge, so there’s an old bridge down under the water there.

Clark: What did it sound like when it came down?

Luella: what did it sound like?

Red: Nothing spectacular. No big bang or anything, just that was it, done.

Luella: What is that building?


Clark: Oh, no, no, ok. It was the last story …(mumbling) it's still around… (laughter) anybody know where that is?

Sandra: Is that going toward Queenston way?

Clark: Nope that’s not part of the casino what is that Ontario Power? Ontario Power.

Luella: The Ontario Power House.

Sandra: Oh ok.

Clark: So, we get lots of big buildings for power in this area did anybody work for any of the power companies.

Everybody. Nope. no.

Clark: No business. The one thing about this again is it is a huge beautiful publicly owned or utility owned building um again a building like this what was it like in the was it part of the community was it just sort on the fringe did it it’s got a great vantage point was anybody around this?

John: You’d could never see it, it, was all (mumbles) When I came to Niagara Falls I’d go down to my cousin’s house and she’d turn the lights on in the room and ..boom… boom.. and I’d say what’s wrong with the lights and she’d say oh that’s 24/7 and at that time they were switching over the wattage and so they’d took the motors out of your fridge and they’d come in and re watt it, that’s what in 1954 they were re-winding.

Luella: 1954 they changed the wattage and so they had to take the motors out of the fridge and re-wind, do you remember any of that kind of stuff?

Red: Nope.

John: That’s all I knew to say, nothing special.

Clark: Yup it's a beautiful location in down and had a great location in town and nobody went near that.

Luella: Was there… did you pay your bills there or anything?

Red: No.


Clark: Ok, I think we are going to end it there. Um we want to thank everybody for coming out and participating and listening in um, thank you for being a part of the project, the library the next step for the library is they download all the videos and transcribing all the audio.

Carrie: Has anybody gone to the website to see the photos? If, um, if you have a chance if you have a computer do go to the website because not only are those photos there but several others that we may have had in some cases we had like 6, 8, 10 different photos of a particular place and so we only had to choose 1 for the poster and you’ll see other ones there and perhaps a little bit more, it maps it all out on a map for you, you, can follow along with it and at some point we hope to have all these little snippets from details that you’ve provided which will be kind of nice and that website is meant to live on in perpetuity. And we’ll keep adding to it as time goes by ya sorry, that’s a long time yes, so actually I wanted to make mention of the next one which is the 20 where did my little sheet go, I believe it was July 24th, yes… um... and it is at the museum …

Clark: 27th!

Carrie: 27th at the museum and I think it is in the afternoon, right? 2pm. And it is nice and cool there too (laughter) so you’ll be in a nice cool place and we are going to be talking about that area surrounding the museum Main and Ferry all that spot there which of course is a very, very, historic spot as well and you’ll see our posters down throughout the Main and Ferry area there, um… on the corner.

John: When did you open that museum?

Clark: ‘83

Carrie: I don’t know, several, we got some more, that’s from Gus’s pawn shop, he’s got happy to have lots, so that’s…

Clark: He’s got more stuff (laughter)

Carrie: Ya he’s got more stuff (laughter)

Luella: That’s going to be at the museum?

Carrie: Ya, at the museum. So that should be interesting and then we are going to head to Stamford in August so if you are around in August and also, I grew up in the Stamford area so... (laughter)

Clark: So, thank you everyone, have a good day.