Then & Now 3

Then & Now, part 3 of 3

As with the previous two posts (Then & Now 1 and 2) I am endeavouring to collect vintage photographs and postcards from Barrie / surrounding area and then bring them to life with comparative photography.

The Simcoe Hotel
31 Bayfield Street

Another hotel
previously occupied this location on the north side of five-points but was destroyed in a 1876 fire. It was soon replaced with this handsome wedge-shaped structure after the Second Empire style. The building features a mansard roof with attractive dormers. Michael Shanacy is listed as the proprietor of this establishment in the 1872 Gazeteer & Directory of the County of Simcoe. The Simcoe Hotel obtained funding with a loan through the City of Barrie's Façade Improvement Program in the early 1990's.

Summersett Hotel / Wellington Hotel
Currently Riviera Pizza & Pasta House & Royal Thai Cuisine
4 Dunlop Street West

Located on the north west side of five-points across the street from the Simcoe Hotel, the original
hotel located here was destroyed by fire in 1876. It was rebuilt by Thomas Summersett, proprietor, as the Summersett Hotel, and latter became known as the Wellington Hotel. The building's windows have flattened arches on the second floor, and round arches on the third. This boxy commercial building has suggestions of an Italianate syste. Riviera Pizza & Pasta House and Royal Thai Cuisine currently share this location with apartments above.

Roxy Theatre
Currently The Roxx Nightclub
46 Dunlop Street West

Built for John Sasos, a local fruit vendor, the Roxy Theatre opened in 1931 and featured the latest technology of synchronized sound dialogue, also known as "talking pictures," or "talkies." The Roxy was a one-screen movie theater and had room for over 700 people to see a film or a live show. The elaborate enframements above the tall narrow windows suggest an Italianate style. The vintage photograph indicates that 'Gone With The Wind' was showing at the time, dating this circa 1940. Sasos leased the theatre to Famous Players in 1968, and then to Stinson Theatres in 1977. The Theatre eventually closed and was re-opened as the Roxx Nightclub in 1989.

Barrie Street-Scapes
Owen Street looking south towards Memorial Square

Compare the images and guess what historically significant building is missing. If you guessed the Post Office & Customs building, you are correct. The Post Office was constructed in 1884 on Dunlop Street, just north of the Barrie GTR train station in a beautiful Romanesque style. The parkette was known as Post Office Square, then Fred Grant Square and currently asMemorial Square.

Much of the history of early Barrie may be attributed to documents discovered in a time capsule discovered when the Post Office was torn down in 1957. When the building's corner stone was laid in a grand ceremony on 8th October 1884, the document entitled 'Historical Sketch of the Town of Barrie' composed by Judge Boys, was deposited in a cavity. This document, along with notes and illustrations had been reproduced by the Simcoe County Historical Association in 1978 and is available at the library and county museum.

Barrie Street-Scapes
Dunlop Street looking east from Five Points

Known as Five Points, at the intersections of Clapperton Street, Bayfield Street and Dunlop Street lies the heart of the City of Barrie. This vintage photograph, circa 1910 prominently shows the north east corner of Five Points . Here, we are able to see the Otton & Sons Hardware Store, located at 2 Dunlop Street East (A 1888 fire insurance map indicates a hardware store at this location as well). Cancilla Fruit market moved to this location in 1929. The building here was last occupied by 'Sam the Record Man' and burned down in 1995.

Speaking of Fires . . .

Barrie was once said to be, in newspapers of the time to be one of the 'best burnt' towns in the dominion. These extensive fires were due in large part to the all wood construction of the buildings until a brickworks located here.

Some major fires of note with the loss of dozens of buildings during each conflagration -
24 June, 1871 - the Glebe block (south of Dunlop, west of Market),
31 January, 1873 - the Boys block, west of the engine house,
8 February, 1873 - north side of Dunlop Street from Owen Street westward,
27 July, 1876 - Wellington Hotel block
18 April, 1880 - Crompton block

I am unable to provide credit to whomever may have originally had taken the vintage photographs or produced the postcards, but most were discovered on the web.
If you have any old photographs of Barrie and area, please eMail them to CopySix@gmail.com !


Anonymous said...

great site mate well interesting
matt.... england

Anonymous said...

131 years later, the Wellington Hotel block has burnt down again.

Anonymous said...

Fine work!

Jesse said...

Do you have any information about the interconnected passageways/tunnels bellow Dunlop Street. I've tried online research but I'm coming up with a very vague history. e.g. underground railroad,war of 1812,free mason/reptile alien bla bla bla