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 !


Then & Now 2

THEN & NOW, part 2 of 3

As with the previous POST, I am endeavouring to collect vintage photographs and postcards from Barrie / surrounding area and then bring them to life with comparative photography.

Doc MacPherson's
Currently Rinaldi Salon & Spa
58 Collier Street, Barrie

Constructed for Mr. John Weir in 1845, this attractive townhouse was built after the Georgian style and featured a two storey verandah. Decorative details were included in the handrails, columns, and bargeboard. Missing today as Rinaldi Salon & Spa are the three roof dormers as well as the decorative brackets. Older Barrie natives may remember this location as the long time was the home and office of Dr. MacPherson during the late 1930's and 1940's.

Barrie Public Library
Currently the MacLaren Art Centre
37 Collier Street, Barrie

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie believed that libraries should be free and therefore sponsored construction of hundreds across North America. In 1915, Barrie benefited from Mr.
Carnegie's philanthropy to the tune of $15,000. This building is an interesting marriage of Beaux Arts and Romanesque. As Barrie grew, so did its library and in 1996 it moved to its new location at Owen and Worsley. It remained empty until the MacLaren Art Centre made its home here in 2001.

Simcoe Foresters Drill Hall
MPP Joe Tascona Constituency Office
36 Mulcaster Street, Barrie

Constructed by the City of Barrie, County of Simcoe and the federal departments of Public Works and Militia in 1888-89. This fairly small structure served as a military drill hall, company armoury, orderly room, quartermaster’s stores, and band room. This space served as the headquarters of the 35th Battalion Simcoe Foresters until 1914, when the militia moved to its new armoury at Queen's Park.
After this time, it say a variety of uses including a farmer's market in 1948.
The building face was restored through the City of Barrie's Façade Improvement Program in the early 1990's. It is owned by the municipality and is currently leased to Member of Provincial Parliament Joe Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford) who uses this as his Constituency Office.

Clarkson House Hotel
Tiff's Restaurant Bar
130 Dunlop Street East, Barrie

A plain building in the Georgian style, this was constructed in 1871 for local dry goods merchant and politician, Thomas “Oily Tom” McConkey. No clue as to the nick-name but I would suggest that he see a dermatologist. The building originally featured a two-storey verandah long since gone. It's not clear when
Joshua Clarkson became a proprietor of the hotel but I do personally know that 'The Clarkson' became 'Tiffs' when I was living next door in the early 1990's. mmm . . . cold beer . . . good wings.

Barrie Hotel
Currently, Queen's Hotel
94 Dunlop Street East, Barrie

This is the site of Barrie's oldest hotel which saw continuous operation since it was opened by
proprietor Edward Marks in 1850 as the Barrie Hotel. It is also unique in that it is set back from the adjacent buildings and also features a bridged narrow passage on the west side of the building to access the former stables. The establishment became known as The Queen's Hotel after the mid-1920's. The Queen's obtained funding with a loan through the City of Barrie's Façade Improvement Program in the early 1990's. It is currently owned by former mayor Rob Hamilton. It is known to have good looking Georgian College girls frequent the location on Thursdays. mmm . . . cold beer . . . college girls.

Barrie Street-Scapes
Dunlop Street looking west from Owen Street

In this vintage photograph from the late 1950's, we are able to see the old Zeller's located at 60 Dunlop Street West. I recall a Bi-Way store operating at this location in the early 1990's. Currently, it's a Dollorama store. Are you seeing the cr@ppy trend here?

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 !

Then & Now 1

THEN & NOW, part 1 of 3

In these next three posts, I am endeavouring to collect vintage photographs and postcards from Barrie / surrounding area and then bring them to life with comparative photography.

Allandale Train Station

A series of three buildings following the curve of the original Kempenfelt Bay shoreline, the Allandale train station was constructed circa 1905 by the Grand Trunk Railway. The tower has been removed as well as the beautiful clay tiles to be replaced with shingles. Currently abandoned, this site is awaiting redevelopment or possible renovation into a public-use building.
I intend to devote another post to this latter on this summer.

Grand Trunk Railway Allandale Master Mechanic Building
now Barrie's South Shore Community Centre

Built in 1903 by the Grand Trunk Railway, the Master Mechanic building, also known as the 'GTR Office and Stores Building' it housed the offices of clerical staff as well as the parts (stores) department serving the roundhouse next door. Evidence of the round-house is still visible today. The Rotary Club and Tourism Barrie Office moved to this location in 1995. The building, now much enlarged rents out its hall and is popular with wedding parties due to the lovely view of Kempenfelt Bay.

Allandale (Rail Road) Y.M.C.A.
Most recently, the Crazy Fox Restaurant

I have presented three slightly differing views here of the Allandale YMCA simply because I could not really decide a definitive image. The first original provides us with a happy view of some of the denizens sunning themselves while the following two shows the squat 50-foot high water tower long since removed. Note the eco-friendly 1-horsepower transport parked outside in the third original. The building is currently being renovated.
For more history and current information, see this POST.

Royal Victoria Hospital
Currently, Victoria Village

In the above vintage photograph, circa early 1960's, we can see the original Royal Victoria Hospital (another much earlier image shown to the left) built in 1902 in the foreground.

In 1997, the hospital moved to its present location on Georgian Drive. Massive re-construction took place and in 2003, Victoria Village retirement and long-term care facility opened.

Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a familiar contemporary for comparative due to the extensive renovations which involve the demolition of some of the building.

Dunlop Street looking east from High Street

Again, nothing concisely comparative. In the early 1960's photograph, on the north side of Dunlop Street, is Canadian Tire, and Adams Furniture. On the south side, a Shell station where the new MacDonald's restaurant currently resides.

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 !


Innisfil Agrarian

Recent stirrings of Spring in Simcoe County had roused me from my hiemal hibernation to once again go out and explore area rural abandonments.

The two farmhouses explored, located in Innisfil, had been previously visited by fellow explorers 'Megs' in January of 2005, and latter by 'faded_x', in February of 2006. What better way to chart the progress of deterioration and decay by a follow-up visit almost a year latter.

The first farmhouse appeared to have been constructed after a fashion in a Gothic Revival style which featured an arched Gothic window set in a gabled dormer wreathed in simple gingerbread bric-a-brac.

The exterior consisted of a plain coursed ashlar masonry interrupted only by lintels at the front of the building which suggested a certain frugality during construction.

Given the odd cross gabled roof intersection, I strongly suspect an addition not long after the original construction as the building materials appear to be virtually the same.

Entry to the house was hazardous at best due to a hungry basement which was slowly consuming the main floor.

Here in the washroom, just off the kitchen, it appeared that the shower stall is about to slip into the basement as well.

Looking at the peeling ceiling paint in the kitchen, one can almost imagine a large insect shedding its skin or an autumn tree ready to sheds its leaves.

Among the various debris and relics scattered in the kitchen was this amber moonshine jug with a copy of the 'Cookstown Informer', some now unknown local newsletter.

As the stairs to second floor was completely inaccessible, I decided to set the timer on my camera and stick it (on top of my tripod) through a hole in the ceiling.

The result - this elegantly appointed bedroom . . . eat your heart out Travelodge

As this was a working farm 'back in the day', I then decided to set out to find the obligatory pile of old tires and used oil . . . I was not disappointed.

Early farmers not only had to know husbandry and horticulture, they also were required to perform their own mechanical repairs as evidenced by this pile of hardware curios which did not quite make it into the driving shed.

The second farmhouse visited was immediately recognised as being constructed for a far more affluent farming family. This two-story cross-gabled Quuen Ann Styled structure featured intricate decorative brickwork.

Each corner of the house included attractive faux quoins and each window, embellished segmental pediments. Long covered porches were provided at the front and side of the house. The second floor also had a balconet which was crowned with a rounded arch of alternating coloured brick voussoirs.

A very large breach in the wall at the rear of the farmhouse provides us with a good view of this structure's superior assembly. This image clearly shows the solid masonry or 'double brick' construction of an inner and outer wythe.

It is doubtful that the wall(s) failed naturally as header bricks appeared to be solid and installed at least every 6th course.

More evidence of of solid construction was evident inside the front room which featured a masonry hearth. It was obvious that the hardwood flooring was scavenged. The exposed floors showed the massive wooden floor trusses.

The spacious dining room with its blue wainscoting, white walls are large windows suggested an almost Mediterranean environment.

A chair in the main floor hallway was sporting a retrolicious vinyl coat resplendent with funky patterns of brown, gold, and olive green.
The 1970's called while I was photographing this and asked for their chair back.

Upstairs, habitat-confused barn swallows had built several nests in the house.
Silly birds !

The days are numbered for these two very different and unique farmhouses. As this tangle of vines may analogously illustrate mother nature reclaiming what mankind wrought.

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