Share a story with us. Do you have an old memory of a person, place or event in North Bay?
Can you make other visitors say... " oh ya, I remember that too ! "
It doesn't have to be exciting. Sometimes our fondest memories are of the simple little things.
E-Mail your story or requests to the webmaster for posting on this page. Photo's welcome!
( please type " North Bay Memories " as the title or in the Subject line of your email,
and don't forget to include your name and where you're from. )
Freddie PitzJune 4, 2007
Hello there. I came across 2 names in the "guest book" that stirred the old memory machine!! One name,
Butch Frederick and the other name , Leo Rouselle.. I grew up in Fossmill, during the late 1940's and mid 50's and I remember having Stan Frederick and his family as next door neighbors ... and I remember Mr. Rouselle was our mailman, way back then. If you care to, you can contact me at email@example.com ...Hope to hear from you ... F.P.
From:Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Arnold ParleeDecember 28, 2006
I consider North Bay my home town although we only lived there for about 9 years.
Any "old" friends can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org This is a terrific site.
Barry VanWart June 1, 2007
On this day in 1969 it was highly likely that i was spending my milk money for Sunset Park Public School over at Bouchers Confectionary. Spinning on a bar stool, the big decision was "do i spend the 20 cents on one chocolate bar or buy 40 two-for-a-penny candies?" Of course Vic or Gloria were hoping you would go for the chocolate. The patience of these folks was incredible ... ok 2 spearment leafs and ummm 3 MoJo's and ummm 2 black cats and ummm oh no wait a minute! just 1 black cat and 1 bazooka and ummmmmm.........
From: North Bay
Mike Oldfield February 6, 2008
I could send you pages and pages of memories...but here are just a few. My parents and I arrived in North Bay at 6 a.m. on October 23, 1947 after a lengthy Grey Coach bus ride from Toronto. We had recently emigrated from England. We had our breakfast in the Chicago Restaurant and then took the bus out to West Ferris to find lodgings in Kirkland Cabins (later named Ted's Auto Court) near Sunset Park. Our weekend entertainment usually meant a trip into North Bay to do shopping on Main Street and then a movie at the Capitol, Melrose (later renamed the Odeon) or the old Royal Theatre near the St. Regis Hotel. I can remember coming out of the Royal one summer's evening and finding the air around us filled with shad flies. We had to get a broom to sweep them off the car so that my Dad could see through the windshield. The bus service provided by John Palangio's Deluxe Bus Lines was very reliable in those days. One of our favourite drivers was Frank DiGiacommo who drove the Callander bus which we rode out to West Ferris. Frank was a funny guy who loved to talk but would tolerate no nonsense or bad behaviour on his bus as many a drunk found out as he was quickly ejected from the bus. One of the sights which never failed to amaze me was the vast array of neon signs which came on at night. All along Main Street's three blocks there were dancing lights, twirling, swirling circles and jumping arrows above almost every store. I remember that part of the sidewalk on the north side of Main Street West in front of Cochrane-Dunlop Hardware was actually a wooden boardwalk in those days. One other great little memory....There used to be a vendor with a small cart on wheels from which he dispensed dixie cups filled with hot french fries for a dime. He did very well with the late-night crowd until the restaurant owners complained to City Hall and the poor guy lost his business license!
Freddie Pitz April 16, 2008
How many of you out there remember The Top Hat Pavilion, which was on Lakeshore Drive. I cannot recall just where on Lakeshore it was, but it was a very popular place and had some great shows back then.
Another place I recall was The Mackey House in downtown North Bay..Great memories of a bygone era. From:Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Anne Campbell November 19, 2008
Was delighted to see the mention of Top Hat Pavillion by Freddie Pitz. That was one of the most wonderful places for young folk in particular, to go dancing on a Saturday evening. One of my haunts along with a lot of other local yokels. For Fred's sake, The Top Hat Pavillion was located on the very same spot as The Golden Dragon Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Owned and operated by Jack Shaw, the Kennedy's and Mr. Sing or Young,(I am not sure of the latter!) Many name bands used to travel to North Bay to play for everyone and one in particular that I remember well was Mart Kenny. Also the well known pianist Oscar Peterson. I believe Oscar was only 13 years of age the first time he performed. Among others were the Happy Gang And Charlie Spivack and quite a few musicians from Toronto.
Too bad there is no place as such for the young folks to-day. Those were the days when we all had good clean fun and didn't have to spend our time on the streets looking for something to do.
From: North Bay
Joff Barlow November 30, 2008
During the late 40's & early 50's I spent my summers in the Bay, we would hang around the murphy's corner store at the corner of Castle St & King St eating buttertarts & drinking pepsi.They would give me a free icecream bar just about everyday. Just down the St. from the Murphy's was the blacksmith shop where I spent a lot of time cleaning up while the blacksmith would shoe the horses from the Silverwoods dairy. When the ice truck came around we would all run out grab a piece of ice and think we got away with something.
I have a lot of great memories of the Bay.
From: Medicine Hat AB
Anne Campbell December 3, 2008
I am sure some will remember Lorne Greene the actor and lead in the Ponderosa show from Hollywood. The same fellow just happened to start out his career right here in North Bay and with one of the radio stations. He was mainly involved in forwarding the latest news on the second world war happenings. He later went on to Toronto to start up the radio college of Ontario and then, Montreal, Quebec . My cousins, Dorothy and Frank Heron of CBM in Montreal at the time, used to write and produce many shows for Lorne. Lorne ended up at Radio city in New York where he later was introduced to a famous actress (Catherine Cornell) who in turn recommended him for the Ponderosa. Later, my cousins moved to Hollywood as well, to write for Jonathan Winters and were entertained by Lorne Green and his wife at there, then, home, an exact replica of the Ponderosa on the show. Lorne and Frank and Dorothy used to sneak into town to visit with us unannounced and while here, always marveled at the great acoustics of the Capitol Theatre and how it should one day be turned into an Arts centre. Guess they got their wishes granted Huh! I could go on for hours, but I had better save some goodies for next time. See you. I think. Anne Campbell, again.
From: North Bay
Sandy May December 10, 2008
I lived in North Bay the biggest part of my life. As a young child I would go grocery shopping with my parents to
Ben's Supermarket - owner Ben Herman, on the Main St. - ( where " TNG grocery & deli " is today, across the street from "the Moose" restaurant. )
He was a kind man with always a warm smile and hello for everyone. He would always give us kids a free chocolate bar when we went in to shop.
The first shopping we went for at his store after we moved back to North Bay was great. Every isle we went down Mr. Herman chase after me and hand me a chocolate bar saying I had dropped it and gave it to me. I remember leaving the store with a handful of full size chocolate bars.
Also one time he got one of his workers - Edgar, to take down a planters peanut man he had as display hanging from the celing and gave it to me.
Years later his son Herbie Herman took over, I continued shopping there with my own family and not breaking his fathers tradition Herbie gave my son a chocolate bar.
From: North Bay
Glenda Metivier February 17, 2009
Hi Everyone :)
I went to NBCIVS in the early 50's, lived in an apartment up over Hoffman's Ladies Wear.
I have been so excited seeing all those old photo's of Main St. I met my husband at the Arcadian Grill & we have been married for 53yrs..how time flies.
I remember dancing at the K of C hall upstairs over one of the business' on Main St. with the Veltri Bros. Band, I don't remember what they called it. Irwin Prescott was great singer as well.
Also danced upstairs over or near the A & P store.
Does anyone remember the name of the Laundromat that was near Ben Herman's market or the Bay Theatre in 1952/53 ?? on Main St. East.
I would love to know what it was called if anyone knows, it was owned by a Mr. Jessup and my brother worked for him, he also worked for Carload Grocery, Walker Stores, LaFrance Furs.
What about Bucsemie's (sp) Bakery ( Main/Algonquin) St.
best bread in the city.
Zeller's. Sally Shop, Himmels Ladies Wear, Atlin's Ladies Wear, Deegan's Shoe Store and Agnes Surpass, Railton Studio. I remember Main St.well.
From: Bobcaygeon, Ont.
Freddie Pitz March 21, 2009
This anecdote took place in North Bay (I cannot recall the exact year) but it was the late 60's,probably 1966.I was working part time, for a local t.v.. service facility.. A friend ,co-worker of mine (who shall remain nameless),asked me to come and set up a color t.v. for him.He had just bought it at a ridiculously low price,and at that time,the manufacturer had a program whereby,the initial set up was free.
In the interim, however, we had a service vehicle,which had a new color t.v. in the back, stolen....and.....yes...that particular t.v. was the one that my friend purchased, not aware it was stolen..
After setting up the t.v. and returning to the shop ,with the particulars of the t.v.,which included the serial number,my boss recognized the serial number ,promptly called the police and my friend lost his new prized possession.,just as he settled down with some refreshments ,to watch The Stanley Cup Playoffs!!
This item made the North Bay Nugget, morning smile column.
Cal Smith April 11, 2009
There was a policman in North Bay in the 30s named Green. I was only nine, but he appeared to be very tall and slim. My first encounter with him was when my brother Clyde and I robbed a neighbor's garden ( a few carrots, I think) and he investigated. I thought he was very nice.
I believe it was the next year, 1940, that a neighbor boy name Ernie Warrie (sp) got a new bike "from his uncle" and thought he'd try to sell it to one of the many second-hand stores on Oak street and asked me to go with him. The owner of the first store we went to told Ernie he would have to get a 'sales permit' from the police department before he could buy the bike and said it wasn't a big deal, 'just a formality'. We went up to the Police Station a couple of blocks away, but Ernie lost his nerve and asked me to go in and get it. Mr. Green(e) asked me where I got the bike, but I couldn't think of a story, so he knew right away (although I still didn't) that the bike was stolen. Finally I admitted it wasn't mine, but belonged to my friend who was waiting on the street outside. He went out and brought Ernie in. I wish I could remember what happened exactly, but I don't. I just went home alone and life
continued normally. Ernie didn't suffer much, I don't think. Nothing changed with him that I was aware of.
I wonder what became of Officer Green. I always thought he was great.
North Bay from 1931 - 1951 when I joined the RCAF.
Steve Worboys April 30, 2009
I read these stories with fond memories as I feel North Bay is my Home Town. We lived there for only 10 years but that is where I grew up.
We moved to North Bay from Virginia Town in 1956. Immigrated to that area from England in 1955. We lived on Douglas St. where our old house still stands but now is a lot smaller than I remember. The rocks that were across the street (Douglas and Cedar Sts.) are now gone and houses are built up. We spent a lot of time sledding there in the winter and playing in the summer. Even the rocks between Morin and McLeod are gone, and the one on Cassel St. (where there was a small cave) is now built up.
I went through Public School at Dr. Caruthers- Kindergarten to Grade 8 (got the strap a few times), and High School at Algonquin (Go Trojans). At 10 yrs. of age, my brother and I walked Chippewa Creek from the Airport Hill to Ferris, jumped the twin bike hills at Devil's Glen off High Street at Princess. On Saturdays we would either bike to Minimishi Road off Hwy. 17 to visit friends in the summer, and watch the car races on the way back to the Bay on 17 Hwy., or walk the C.N. tracks from Cedar Street to Duchesnay Falls. We would build forts in the bush at the top of the falls but next weekend - we could never find the one we built last. We would pack a lunch and hike up the hills from the end of OBrien Street looking for an old Ghost town near the place where the missiles were hidden. (Never found it), and we never got lost. We would tease the bums that spent the nights in the coal sheds off Oak St. and run like crazy. We swam at the Dock in "the U" at the end, and could find the old boiler that was under the water in the beach to the North of the dock, or went to the Kinsmen Beach off Henry St.
We had a bomb shelter in our basement in the 60's. that was stocked with food and in Public School, were taught how to lay down at a curb if we were outside and the Russians nuked us. We canoed from Trout Lake to Mattawa in 2 days with my Dad and his friend. When in High School, we moved to Ferris at the end of Premier Road. I bought a new Sports Pal canoe (with help from Dad) and fished every day in the summer for Pickerel. We had our special spot near a Channel marker at Champlain Park and caught our limit of 6 fish in less than an 1/2 hour. There were 2 diving boards at the Lavase river one 5 ft. and the other- a lot higher. There were boats tied up at several Docks in the park and the swimmers had to watch for boats coming and going all the time. There were 2 or 3 Marinas further up the river. I remember the fuel depot blowing up on Gormanville Road in the 60's, and the Airport Hill exploding one night. Watched the old odd shaped record building down town Algonquin and Main St burn.
We used to have a coke floats at Domarcos. Pronto Pops at a take out stand at the top of Algonquin Av., eat 10 cent hot dogs at the restaurant near the Odeon. We played on the trampolines on Lakeshore drive in Ferris. Birthday meals at the Empire Hotel. We would play in the elevator at the Post Office or one less used at the Seniors place on Olive Street.
Now we go back to the Bay, the CN train station at the top of Fraser Street is gone., the old trestle on Front street where we used to swim during heavy rain storms, (Mom and dad never knew) and cars that tried to get through would get stuck in the water, is gone, Dr. Caruthers is gone, Silverwoods dairy - gone. Edgar Ott - our milkman and his horse Jim - long gone. Zimbalaties store and Italian cheese shop on Front St. - gone. Delux (Smith) Transport on Second Av. is gone. Algonquin High is still there but Catholic now. Most of the tracks are gone except a few at the west end of Fraser. The old Fraser Hotel is still there and I have finally been in for a beer (last year). I really miss the train horns and the sound of Voodoos flying over. The old train from the Ferris park is now hidden behind a street off Oak Street and looks unattended and tattered. The Lake front and downtown area has really Improved. Now I'm retired, I will be coming home for a visit every summer.
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Claudia (Gray) Aaron-Sneed July 15, 2009
What a pleasant surprise to find this web site. What memories it brings back!
Our family moved to North Bay in 1957 - back to Canada from an air force base in Germany. My Dad was then assigned to the air base in North Bay- I think it's the North Bay Airport now.
I ended up marrying a fellow from Virgina, and have two grown children I live now in on the coast at Wilmington North Carolina - close enough to hear the ocean . I miss the autumn though - but not the snow.
I would love to hear from any one that might remember me.
From: Wilmington North Carolina
Lucille (Larochelle) Boucher August 16, 2009
I was born in 1956 in the beautiful town of North Bay. As a little girl, one of my fondest memories was the older man who rode his two wheel bike all over North Bay wearing a long army coat that was covered with badges. He never said a word but there was always a smile as he went by. I wanted to ask him if I could look at those badges and where they came from, but I was too shy. He wore that coat everywhere despite the heat or the cold. I knew he was proud to show everyone that he had so many badges and there wasn't one space on that coat that was uncovered. I had believed he had the badges because he was a war hero. Then one day, he was gone. I missed seeing his colorful coat and his kind smile. I never did know his name and I have often wished I that I would have spoken with him.
I know there are those who have lived in North Bay for many years who know the man I am talking about. Please share your memories of him and hopefully someone remembers his name. I believe this memory deserves to live on in the hearts of everyone who remember that amazing coat and the man who wore it. That image will stay etched in my mind forever. He is truly an important part of this city's heritage.
UPDATE to the above submission : August 24, 2009
The following link to another local website posts a photo and some insight on the gentleman mentioned above.
Thank you for the update Sandy !
UPDATE to the above submission : Feb. 7, 2010
August 30, 1982 North Bay Nugget headline states " Button Man Dead at 91 "
The article mentions that Mr. Kuzmick emigrated to Canada from Poland in 1911 settling in Cochrane. At the start of World War 1 he moved south to Ansonville and then to Smooth Rock Falls in the 1920's where he was injured at a papermill and hospitalized in Toronto for 20 years. He moved to Cassellholme as part of an exchange with a Toronto institution. It was rumored the injury caused the loss of his memory. A quiet man, Mr. Kuzmick rarely spoke.
Thanks for the newspaper clipping Jill !
Sandy C. March 22, 2010
I was wondering if anyone remembers the legend of "Leroy" ?
I was raised with the story of "Leroy the Muskie" in Trout Lake.
Apparently he was always seen under the same dock, where that was I have no idea. It was said he was as long as the dock was wide. He was very old and at some point there was a young boy sitting on the dock and Leroy bite his toe off.
As a child my husband too had heard stories of Leroy, he was raised with the story that Leroy was very old and couldn't be caught, he had spears, hooks and even a bullet in him.
I am curious if anyone else has stories of Leroy.
UPDATE to the above submission : March 28, 2010
I read Sandy C's piece on Leroy the muskie.. I remember reading about him in the Nugget,and at that time he is supposed to have bitten a chunk out of a paddle .I did a lot of swimming in Trout Lake and was always concerned that Leroy may have been lurking in the area at the same time as me!!However..I am still in one piece and as far as I know,Leroy is as well.
Thanks for this web page as it is nice to read about local happenings and people from the area..
I grew up in Chisholm Township in the 50's-60's
Freddie P. Nepean (Ottawa) Ontario
Debbie McLeod ( now McDonald ) May 17, 2010
I have so many memories of North Bay. I was born there (1956) and left at age 30. I remember the three chip stands at the top of Algonquin (Ted's was the best of course). Thank you for putting in a picture of Mr Buttons. He was a great memory also. He was seen all over North Bay in my time. I remember the Barbara Tralevan (?) Dance School. Never went there, but always went by it. I remember the Rock Museum on the way to Trussler school. The swamp land where at Zellers or Towers was at the bottom of Tibeaut Hill. (excuse my spelling of these places). Vic Fadelli's Variety store on Algonquin. Vic told me I wore too much eye make up when I was 16. He was probably correct, but I loved the way I looked at the time. Went there every day. Then there was all the shoe stores downtown. More in North Bay than any other town. Kresge's at the corner of downtown. Chicago Restaurant (great place to eat). Richardson Hardware, Daschnese Food Store, McKewen butcher shop, a tiny yellow variety store that had the best variety of candy for us kids. We used to go in and get 10 cents worth in a little brown bag. These stores were all on Algonquin, top end. I remember the best Entertainer in the area was Erwin Prescott. I still think of him and his great songs, "Out behind the Barn", "the Auctioneer" etc. And what about the book store at the other end of town. I can't remember the name of it (it was a one work store). I had to ask Dad to drive us down, so we can get some used books. Loved it; then try to talk him into stoping at DQ for dipped ice cream. The 3 theaters and 2 pool halls were fun also. There were more, but I only went to 2 of them. Dad didn't like that much. What about that little joke shop beside the Odeon Theatre. I remember the little lady and bald guy that worked there. They were great people. They also had a beautiful little daughter years later. The daughter looked like her mother so much. That joke store was always fun to go into. Even the taxi stands were great. They treated us all great at the time and it was like they knew you. One even came to my help in time of need. I never forgot that. I am sure I am forgetting tons more, but I must go for now. I hope I brought you many lovely memories also.
From: Trenton, Ontario
Don McFarlane July 6, 2010
There were many memories of walking by the Central Bakery on Algonquin Ave. and then around the corner to the A&P store. For the Military folk >> who remembers training in that cold drill hall at the end of Chippawa street at the old armour building and then back to the H hut for more training.
Eugene (Gene) Turgeon Sept. 29, 2010
Love the memories. I was raised and went to school in the Bay. Joined the Air Force in l942 in Hamilton . Had 2 brothers in the service also. Wish I could hear from or see all those that i new then. Still visit my sister who just lost her husband last month. Have worked 30 years in the province of Quebec , got married there and raised our family of 4 there. Moved to Cochrane in l975 and retired in 1987. BUT will always call North Bay my home town. Eugene(Gene)Turgeon
Blayne Stuart March 13, 2011
After reading all the stories of former North Bay residents I realized the memories I had of North Bay ...all stored up and triggered by reading those stories!!
Here goes...I remember:
- bicycling to Trout Lake (circa 1956/57) with my buddies and our fishing rods with 25 cents in our pockets. We would fish by the Marina and catch tons of sunfish. Then off we would bike to Balsam Creek to fish for trout. We would buy chips and coke near the days end and then bike home before dark. No one worried about us. We would swim near the Marina docks and dive under the docks and stay underwater until we reached the other side. Someone would yell "Old Ironsides" and we would all scramble...for "Old Ironsides" was that terrible (mythical?) muskie that would bite your toes off!!
-fishing at the government dock and selling my fish to the Chinese restaurant owners for a nickel and then buying more minnows with nickel! Home by dark.
-playing "chase" throughout North Bay...the game would start at Galt St...or McLeod St and last all day
-playing hockey for Elk St Playground for Art Ott(I think someone referred to him as Edgar Ott?)..our coach and milkman. We always got beat by Burke St Playground
-taking our tricycles and going under the milkmans horse as he delivered milk to our home (circa 1953/54)
-getting pronto pups and chips at Ted's Chip Stand at the top of Alqonquin St...and looking at all those neat cars (1953/59) parked out front..and all those neat guys with their hair combed back (they were cool to me!) with all their neat girlfriends
-playing hockey on Galt St...for hours and hours in -40 degree temperatures..and grabbing a bus by the bumper and sliding for blocks and blocks
-going hunting with my father and shooting my first partridge up near Balsam Creek.
-having a crush on my first (in my mind anyway) girlfriend named Pam McDermott...we went to O'Brien St Public School which is now a hotel I believe. I wrote under the O'Brien St bridge overpass BS loves PM...I wonder if it's still there?
-spearing suckers in the Chipewawa Creek in the spring...I never really knew what we did with all those fish...I think they went into the garden (and we wondered why we had a racoon and skunk problem)
Whewf!!! All those thoughts. Can anyone add to those!?
Both my father (Harold Stuart) and my mother (Phyllis McQuestion and her sister Eleanor McQuestion) were from North Bay also. My father served in the Canadian Navy during the war...sailing on the HMCS Kenogami for 4 years.
Thanks for the memories North Bay...and even though I moved away in 1960 (to Deep River) I always call North Bay home!!!
Brian Chu March19, 2011
I have no memories of North Bay, Ontario, as I have never been to this place. Yet, in my forty years' existence, I have heard my father mention North Bay quite many times.
In the late 1950s, my father left Hong Kong for Ottawa to pursue his university education. To earn some money for his tuition and living, he had had a few summer jobs in his four-year stay in Canada. During three of those summers, he had a job as a waiter at the Chicago Restaurant in North Bay. Given that some of his friends found similar jobs in places as far as Boston, MA, I wasn't too surprised he ended up in North Bay.
Quite remarkably, even after five decades, my father precisely remembers the address of the restaurant to be 167 Main Street. Thanks to Google Earth, we easily got to the street level of the address and found a Chicago Cafe right there. Perhaps the successor to the Chicago Restaurant? Otherwise, it's the same building that my father was familiar with. My father was very delighted to see the two-storey brick building where he had once worked and lived in. He was provided accommodation in the second floor of the restaurant by the owners, the members of the Eng family. He had spent most of his time working in the restaurant, but when he was off, he had gone to the beach, which was somewhere, to the best of his belief, "behind" the restaurant. He also has recollection of the train station where he got off the train, which seems to have been relocated by looking at Google Earth. We "strolled" along Main Street in Google Earth and my father was excited to see North Bay appearing before him again; but nothing else on the street rang the bell.
If you had visited the Chicago Restaurant on Main Street in the summer of 1959, 1960 or 1961 my father might have waited on your table.
I must thank you for your website and all the other people for sharing their memories of the place where my father had a connection, no matter how brief it might be.
from : Hong Kong
Austin Gormley November 20, 2011
I was working on the Trans Canada pipeline and travelling to work early one morning back in the late 1950's when I lost control of my truck carrying welding and pipeline equipment. I was driving alone and encountered millions of those darn shad flies that seem to cover everything. Crashed into and pulled down one of the pillars, the left side coming into town, sorry about that. I wound up in hospital for four or five months in the capable hands of a doctor Girout (sic).
I believe the newspaper had a photo showing the damage. I eventually returned to Ireland for some years and I'm now living in Myrtle Beach SC.
The Sylvester Family - New beginnings. November 27, 2011
In the springtime of 1912 my Great Grandfather, Charles Thomas Sylvester, arrived from Staffordshire, England, at the age of 31, to start a new life in Canada. He had been working at the local potteries as a crate packer of dishes for export, life was tough and with a growing family to support he knew there were better opportunities elsewhere. He managed to secure a job at a refinery in North Bay and plans were set for his wife, Ruth, and their two boys, Walter and Charles, to join him after the birth of child # 3 (Thomas, born on 08 Oct 1912). Upon arrival to the North Bay area he secured some property on west end of Jane Street (which was wooded at that time) and began to build a family home. Ruth and her three children secured passage on the White Star Line ship Megantic, which sailed from Liverpool to Montreal, arriving in Canada on 17 Nov 1912 - the family were re-united in North Bay and celebrated their first Christmas in the new world as new members of the Presbyterian Church.
Submitted by Daniel Richard Sylvester
Maureen Bruce-Payne March 14, 2012
Does anyone remember St Mary’s Commercial Academy on McIntyre Street West? It had been a hotel at one time and later housed a boarding school and the commercial section of St Joseph’s College was switched over there. I wonder if there are any archival pictures of the building?
R. C. (Clyde) Russell November 2, 2012
I remember the little variety store owned and run by Billy Booth. If my memory serves me right, in the early 60's, he was a war veteran that had lost an arm. I was young at the time, because I was born in 1958 in North Bay, but that is what I remember. He was located on Algonquin Avenue just down from Demarco's.
How about Passmore's Food Store on Ann Street. Bernie Lee's Pool Hall beside Passmore's. We lived on Ann Street, just a couple blocks down from the Voyageur Hotel, so Ann Street had a lot of road hockey games against Galt Street. A lot of good times and good memories.
Kathleen Armstrong April 14, 2013
In the early 1970s my husband Joe took flying lessons from the founder of Voyageur Airways in North Bay, Jim Gray.
Jim had been a Spitfire pilot with the RAF in England during WWII.
Joe has wonderful memories of hearing Jim tell him about strategies for surviving dogfights. If you took flying lessons from Jim Gray, you learned from the best!
Alas, Voyageur Airways has no employees who remember Jim now.
Joe would love to get in touch with Jim Gray if he’s still alive or to know what happened to him. Do other readers remember this excellent flying instructor?
Karen McLaughlin Sept. 26, 2013
Hello…I moved to North Bay from Tacoma, Washington in 1964. We were air force brats J. First moved to West Ferris and then to Sage (Birchhaven) where we lived in air force housing. Sylvan Cresc. Went to E.W. Norman…then Trout Mills. Moved to Pinwood in 69. Went to Centennial and Chippewa S. S. Great memories of swimming in both lakes and of course Bernie Lee’s Pool Hall. Many friends there.
My parents still live there on Trout Lake Road. My stepfather worked for the North Bay Jail and my mother for Walker’s and then Morse Jewellers.
CELEBRATING OVER 60 YEARS
SEEDS OF LOVE
GENERATION TO GENERATION
Most area residents have plants from Laporte’s Nursery in their yard. The business has been around for over 60 years and gardeners have learned to depend on the four generation family business for solid advice and healthy plants. My grandparents; Aldege (Alec) and Christina (Tina) Laporte had a wonderful garden. Grandma worked very hard tending to all the beautiful tomatoes and vegetables. Grandpa worked at Butti’s Grocery store which sat where the new TD Canada Trust is now located in downtown North Bay. When the grocery store closed down, grandpa opened Alec’s Meat Market and operated that for the next few years. The small deli was located where The JOKE SHOP called home for some 40 years after. My grandmother while still tending to the garden would have people from the area come and ask to buy some produce from her massive garden. She would dig up or pick what the person wanted and wrap it in newspaper and put an elastic around it. By this time grandpa was older so his duties were limited to the seeding of the plants and the collecting of the money. But, you might still remember my grandfather as the bus driver for North Bay to Temiscaming and North Bay to Callander. (We used to call it the Callander Stage.) Customers would say to him “Your tomatoes and vegetables are really wonderful; do you think we could buy the plants from you and try growing them ourselves?” And so Laporte’s Nursery was born. Trees, shrubs and evergreens were planted in the ground until being sold. A customer would purchase a Mugho Pine for example and the family would go out in the field and dig it, bag it and load it in the customer’s vehicle. Prior to my father; James Laporte taking over the business in 1971 when I was nine; he worked for Fred Culin at Arnstein Equipment as the parts and service manager. Lots of men still come into the garden centre and talk to my dad about tractor and truck parts. With the increasing demand for plant paraphernalia, Laporte’s Nursery evolved into a fully fledged garden centre. As the business expanded and the demand for their plants outgrew the size of the garden and amount of greenhouses and taking into account our short northern growing season, we had to find a grower in Southern Ontario that we could count on. Brownridge Greenhouses has been growing for us for more than 45 years. With the demand for newer and more unique plants we have now expanded our growers to four in Southern Ontario. The nursery was located for 49 years on Toronto Street in Nipissing Junction, with all the generations living in the area at some point in time. In 1999 the operation was moved to 1054 Lakeshore Drive. Business was rapidly expanding so we had to move to a much larger and more exposed location. Through the years the full time staff has remained the same. Heading the list is Lea Bale, my dad’s sister. She has worked at the nursery since its inception, looking after the annuals and special orders for customers. Her kind and gentle nature make her a customer favourite. Mary Lawrence has looked after the perennial area since I was a little girl. Her plant knowledge is invaluable. Steve Claridge works in trees, shrubs and evergreens. He is a fun loving guy and always willing to help the customer. I have known him most of my life, he is like a brother to me. Mark Claridge works in the yard loading soil and aggregate. You can always count on his smiling friendly face to greet you! Lyndy Krause and Dianne Barber Murdoch round out the full time staff. They are beautiful, wonderful ladies always willing to lend a hand. We also hire 10-15 students in the spring. I would like to make a special mention of Dalton Hazzard; who helped out at the garden centre since I was a little girl. Dalton is in his late 80's. Never could you find a more helpful person than him. Steve and I always say that if we can be in as good a shape as Dalton at that age, we will be laughing! And then there is me, Lori. You can always find me somewhere in the yard or shop or on cash. For a good portion of the season we work seven days a week; some of us working 12-13 hours a day.
It is important that our customers know that we are here for them. Our family will not sell plants that are not proven to be northern climate cold hardy. I often talk about my sister, Keely Laporte, who truly inherited the green thumb from grandpa and grandma Laporte (just like Aunt Lea) She definitely had a passion for plants. She passed away from cancer June 4, 2005 at the age of 43. It was one of the busiest days of the year and the Nursery was so important to her, that she didn't want us to close. Each year we only get one shot at the busy season, so we waited a month to have her funeral. The saying; “Make hay while the sun shines” is so true. Six months prior to Keely’s death we lost another beloved staff member, Aldean Dowdall. Aldean worked in the houseplant and geranium greenhouse for many years. Her sense of humor always had us in stitches. Terry Dawn Hamilton who worked in trees, shrubs and evergreens for around 20 years has since passed away also. When you are a small family operated business and you lose some of your key people, it is like losing a part of yourself. Both my daughters; Ashley Champion and Kelsey McMullen work with us as well during the busy season and have for many years. That makes us a four generation family business. My mother Beverlee Laporte passed away April 3, 2007. Having 2 grandchildren and 4 great nephews and nieces maybe the nursery will be in the hands of a fifth generation. Wouldn’t that be great? I think Grandpa and Grandma Laporte would be very proud of Laporte’s Nursery as it is today!
..........Lorraine (Lori) Laporte March 19, 2014
Donald Montemurro April 12, 2014
I was born and spent the first 18 glorious years of my life in North Bay. When I came across this web site , so many memories came flooding back that it is hard to know where to start We lived in two places that I remember. The first was on Jane street directly across from NBCI&VS and the second was at 426 Algonquin Avenue (Clock Avenue at that time). I was a member of the long-established Montemurro family and I still have a brother Reg, and a cousin John-Michael living there. Oh the places and names I remember! :Demarco’s and the fountain across the street where we as young boys used to watch the girls go by.There was Jack Gray, Johnie Johnston, Spyro Loukidelis, Arthur Scott, Tom Reynolds, Cliff Buchannan. I remember the little wooden shack just down from Demarcos where Billy Booth sold candy and ice cream .The fresh fruit sundaes served up by Frank Demarco for 15 cents. Fishing at the dock and riding bicycles to Champlain Park for a swim in the shallow water;. Diving into Lavase Creek from the diving board located there and coming out covered in leaches; I remember Fosdick’s book store, Richardson’s Hardware and so many other places on Main Street. The stone “Gateway to the North” at Ferris that I clipped one day with my father’s car.Several people have mention the location of “Top Hat “ on Lakeshore Drive. I recall making 5 dollars a night playing my accordian in Curly Mcpharland’s North Range Cowboys Band every Saturday at Top Hat. My father and older brother bought a large parcel of land around the Pump House at Trout Lake just after the war with their demob gratuities and we had to clear the bush and trees to make the first roads into what is now the subdivision of Birch Haven. Many of the streets there bare the names of my mother, brothers and sisters .
I left North Bay to go to school In London On. where I have lived for most of my life , but if people ask me I tell them I am from North Bay, my hometown.
My fondest memory is the teenage love for a young girl named Claire Wall. We went our separate ways when I left North Bay to go to school in. London.
If anyone remembers me I would be so happy to hear from you.
Kaitlynn Quinn April 30, 2014
My dad was born and grew up in North Bay. Recently I have been on this new journey of trying to find out my father’s real biological father. My grandmother (Shirley Mitchell) met my father’s biological father (Robert Claridge) at a dance in North Bay in the 50’s I am guessing around 55 or early 1956, because my father was born in 1956. The only information I have is his name Robert Claridge and that he was in the air force a the North Bay base. I have checked Legions, records and obituaries. I haven't had any luck and my grandmother won’t give me anymore information. I am hoping that someone knows about this dance or knows either of my grandparents and can give me some information on Robert Claridge.
Deb Meisenheimer-Lebel March 31, 2015
I to am from North Bay. I attended Dr.Carruthers,Sunset Park (remember Mr.Calverly)? & later Chippewa. My grandmother Clara Perry always went to Demarcos and the Hardware store. Dasheney Falls was awesome. We swam in Lake Nipissing or off the Gov:t dock where back than the fish were plenty. My grandfather had his own spot on that dock and all knew not to go or fish there, lol. I didn't like Trout Lake though, water was so cold & the stories we heard gave us the creeps. And that lake is deep. I remember the Campbell family going missing from there cottage and were later found years later in the water. It was strange to say the least. And remember when Donald James Kelly was on the loose and seen by someone I knew wondering Cassell st. We lived at 921 Lakeshore Dr. for years, had a german shepherd, a squirrel monkey, birds, rabbits and even a Mallard duck that my friend Rory Claridge brought to my dad because of an injured wing. My parents loved nature and all animals. Then we lived at 1127 Cassell st. and that house was haunted. Across the st. was a convient store that had a bad fire and we watched as it burned, it was sad. My childhood memories on Lakeshore were the Graffs, Claridges, Campanaros, Caleys, Lawrence. Our back yard would lead eventually to Premier Rd. and we loved swimming there. We often visted the Convenient/candy store on Lakeshore, such nice people ran it. And the Campanaros who ran the Deli on Cassell st. with their home in back of the store. Later in years going to the Regis hotel, but our fav spot was Madams. Disco all night, other side was the Continental inn, where my parents played many a nights. Oh and the Joke shop was a busy place to. Our favourite place to eat was the Elmorrocco on Main st. Ran by 2 sisters and their husbands. And I remember Thomas the button man always smiling. fav thing was when my mom would pack a lunch and we would go berrie picking, by hwy and than mom would make pies and jams with them. My cousins (Stewarts) lived by hwy 11 and we would stop in to say hi. It was a busy fun day back than. We used to also hang by Chippewa Creek, cold water would flow there and we"d dunk our feet in it to cool off on the hot days. Remember Pinewood Park, now the Clarion, I used to work there in my teens. And best burger in town was at Cornial Hoagies on Cassell st. I worked for the owners and still see them when I visit North Bay. And Lee Roys was another favourite now is Burger World yum. My fav park is by the Legion, memorial Park. Love visiting there and having a meal at the Legion. So much has changed there especially down town. My Parents were well known in North Bay as Ray & Kathy & The Starouttes and I have all their clipping that were in the paper of where they played, Continental, Regis, Belmont Hotel, Empire, Le petit Quebec hotel just to name a few. Their names & a plaque is hung at Music city amongst many others whom was in the Country Music business back than. Ah the memories are endless. I have a much better appreciation for Country music now.
From: Barrie Ont.
Kathleen (Kent) Uren April 14, 2015
I have very vivid and wonderful memories of years visiting my grandparents, Frank and Olive Kent. They owned and operated Bona Vista Camp on Highway 17 East. Many families returned year after year and my grandparents forged many strong relationships during the years they owned the camp. The winter wonderlands to the unbelievably beautiful fall seasons and of course, those lazy days on the shores of Trout Lake are something I cherish. They were and remain, some of the most memorable and enjoyable times of my life. I have to say though that there are two things that I could have done without…the “itch” and the shadflies! While my grandparents (and parents) are gone as is the Camp, nothing can cloud the visions and memories that remain.
Wayne McLeod London, Ontario April 14, 2015
First teacher I can remember was from Worthington St, her name was Miss Buchanan......and tough as they come for teachers in those days.
The public Library & McIntyre St School were located where present day City Hall is now. North Bay Dairy was just down the St., Owens Cleaners, Don's Fina Station just behind the Continental Hotel all within a block or two of each other. Scoop Lalonde's chip stand on Wyld St. The railway stock yards down on the water front not far from National Grocers. Gamble & Robinson down at the far end Oak St where we used to turn in to go to the Government Dock.
There was a Fuel Business located there as well, supplied coal, coke, coal oil etc. to most of the city.
Many the trip to Sunset Park for a dip, the Narrows on Trout Lake, Camp Tillicum for St Andrews church picnics, a run up to Temiskaming to watch the Dam being built, the creation of Johns Manville Plant. Bo marc Missiles coming into town, Sage/Norad Control being dug out. Monastery Hill & Eloy's Farm, Bill Parfit and the best potatoes in town (I believe they are still operating)
Sunbeam (Weston's) horse and wagon, Silver woods horse & wagon (pure cream was always in the round part at the top of the bottle)
In the late 40's we lived on 4th Ave. (little playground at the bottom of the St. across Fisher was fun) later on 2nd Ave, Monk St., Copeland, 1st Ave, Marshall Park Dr. We moved a lot between Sarnia and North Bay.
Steam Engines would go right in front of our house on 2nd. It was disappointing when Diesel's replaced them. The bells and steam disappeared and replaced with a horn.....totally sucked! How many remember the old Arena on King St. & the Farmer's market behind it on Saturdays. Sat night Hockey games with Wolves & the Trappers. Occasional Sat. night wrestling matches (My mom's favourite was Whipper Billy Watson, Tuffy Tuesdal) My first job as a young boy was helping Jack McIntyre (ran a little corner store corner of Wyld & 2nd) hauling Trunks from the CN Station down to the Empire Hotel. Many people in those days travelled with Steamer Trunks by rail. The empire was well know for promoting TCA (Trans Canada Airlines now Air Canada) Big Viscount turbo prop twin engine planes that were state of the art in those days. Was there when the Saber's were replaced by the CF 100'S, 414 Black Knight All Weather Interceptor Squadron. No fences, gates or much security until the CF 100's were on station. (cold war)
The original A&P was on the corner of Algonquin & Main (hardwood floors, dust ban & sawdust) then relocated to the old Arena location on King. The Sibbit building across the way was where we had to go once a year for TB testing.
Many places on Main St have been mentioned in previous posts but others stick in my mind, Fong's, Green Rooster, Split Level, beside the Fraser house, Colonel Tompkins on Main. ( It was funny because he thought he could compete with KFC. Even dressed like the Colonel, beard and all. )
Ken's Meats, Perron's Red & White on Fisher, CKGN TV in Callander. The original Post office was downtown, remember seeing posters still up of WW 2 images, one stands in my mind of a pilot sinking a ship.
The first Kentucky Fried Chicken was started in the Arcadian Grill. Met and shook hands with the Colonel himself. Tasted so much better then. It was served with little containers of liquid honey for dipping.
Hollow's Meats next to Barnes Wines both across the street from Ben's supermarket & Deluxe Cab. Original Loblaw's was next door to Hollow's. Later became a Sear's outlet.
Denny Hollow's was Meat Manager for them during the war. Many stories he told about the war rationing etc. He later left Loblaw's and opened his own operations in the perfect place......next door to his competitor.
His meat business was so successful that Loblaw's eventually relocated down the next block close to the Odeon Theatre. Denny was an avid member of the Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band.
Fisher St. was a dirt road, Hwy 11 ran thru downtown. My Family were good friends with the Depencier's and spent many a Sat/Sun with them. The old city dump was located near them and bears were quite common to encounter on the way there.
Once the HWY. 11 bypass was in place all that changed. My Grandfather worked for the ONR, was a member of Branch 23 Royal Canadian Legion, served and was wounded in the first war, contracted and survived the Spanish Influenza, was a reservist in the second war.
Remembrance Day was a major get together. The Korean war was ongoing then and support for our troops being so fresh out of WW 2 was exceptional. We weren't that big of a city then but it seemed the entire community would attend.
North Bay was not amalgamated with Ferris or Widdifield then, that's why the Gates to the North were located on the boundaries of Ferris and Amelia Park.
Both Widdifield & Ferris had their own Police Dept's.
Police Radar came to be in the early 60's. They would run a long cable down side of the street for a few blocks. Being typical teenagers we would locate the cables and spin our tires over them to mess them up knowing that the officer on duty was stuck and could not leave his post.
I left 1n 1982 but return once a year to reunite with what family that is left there and visit gravesides. Still consider this my Home Town.
Phones were the Grover exchange....Operator would come on and ask what number, we would say Grover and give the number. Party lines were common.
Big deal when Bell built the new building on McIntyre St. and rotary dialing was in place. Girls were held in high esteem if they were a Bell Operator.
The Orange Men parades were common as well but were stopped. It was a catholic/protestant thing celebrating William Duke of Orange's victory over the Catholic Irish at the battle of the Boyne in Ireland. Never found North Bay to be prejudice regarding race or religion. I am Scots and married a French Girl. My children all spoke French. Thru history the Scots & French were allies against the English.
Chippewa Barracks was right beside the Chippewa High school. Would be common to see men marching up and down Chippewa St.
They were members of the EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) created during the cold war as a reserve military unit.
In later years when they were disbanded. The OPP then requested they be absorbed under their command as an Auxiliary Police Force. I was a member.
There was a Sherman Tank sitting at the Barracks. Have pic of it in a Canada Day Parade going up Ferguson St. Had rubber tracks on it so as not to damage the roads.
LEE ROYS on McGaughey Ave.
In my day it was an open chip stand with a fold down front. Not open all year round.
Many times especially after work we could drive right up to the front, hop out and place your order. There was no seating so back into the car and gone.
They had the best Fries, Pogo's (Pronto Pups) & Foot Long Hotdogs in town. Still stop in occasionally (Burger World, not quite the same tho)
Because it was an open concept there were certain times of the year you had to make your Fries didn't have WINGS! (Shads)
Have personally seen a few of them trying to do the back stroke in the Hot Grease. However this did not deter us as Shads were part of our growing up in North Bay.
Manys the times I have slid thru an intersection infested with Shads. Was not uncommon to see business's using Fire hose's to wash down their buildings or Store fronts the next day, probably still do.
A & W Drive In on Lakeshore had the best Teen Burgers (today's Teen Burgers don't come close, no comparison. Same could be said with KFC.)
Deluxe Drive In on Lakeshore was another popular place. It was neat as in both places they would come to your car and take your order.
Horton Motors was also on lakeshore where Churchill's is located. Tim Horton, his Father & Brother used to come in and shop where I worked.
This was well before Tim started his Franchise.
The Belmont Hotel & the Mackie House were located on Oak St. with only Ferguson St. separating them.
Both relied on business from CPR passengers much as the Fraser House did with the CNR & ONR. Lay over's or train delays were quite common.
Thirsty Traveler's needed a watering hole????? Right!!!
Manys the times you would see someone dragging their bags from CPR station up Fraser St. or Ferguson heading to CN/ONR station or visa versa.
It was hard work dragging your luggage those 4 - 5 blocks. In the winter Deluxe Cab would keep cars at either station depending on rail schedules to assist in this transformation.
Jane Ranger May 27, 2015
I was wondering if anyone would know if there were any taped episodes of the 60’s teen dance party TV show that were held every Saturday afternoon at the old television station on the hill in Callander Ont.. This aired while I was in my teens and my father knew that my sister and I were into watching every episodes so he took us to one the airings where we enjoyed and danced to our hearts content. This memory has made us nostalgic to see these episodes. I don’t remember the name of the show so if you could help with this it would be greatly appreciated. I can be reached at ...
There was a Barber Shop on Wyld St. between the Continental Hotel on Main and Don's Fina on McIntyre (later torn down for parking). For the life of me I can't remember his name but Gibbons or Gribbons comes to mind. Great barber. I remember a few times that I was there by chance that Jack Garland would come in. He was well respected in North Bay as a member of the Federal Government (LIBERAL) so much so that the airport was named after him.
Pamela Lynn M. (now Colleen G.) August 24, 2015
Hello! I have certainly enjoyed reading all the memories of North Bay, where I was born. Although we left when I was 4 years old, I grew up hearing about so many of the places mentioned on your page.
When my family moved from North Bay, I left someone behind, although I didn't know it at the time. My birth mother was living there in 1970; she was 15 years old and in grade 10. She was 5'2" and had brown eyes and dark brown hair, and was working as a live-in housekeeper. She had 3 younger siblings. Her mom was a bookeeper and her dad a bus driver.
Unfortunately, the Children's Aid society saw fit to remove my original surname from my order of adoption. I only know that my birth mother named me Pamela Lynn, and that my surname started with 'M'. I was born in April, 1970; a few weeks early. I have been trying for years to find the woman who carried me into this world, to thank her for the gift of life she gave me and to tell her that I am happily married (24 years!) and have twin daughters who mean the world to me. I also want her to know that I think of my little half-brother often; he was born with epidermolysis bullosa ('butterfly child') and only lived a few months.
If anyone here knows who am I referring to, could you please tell her that Pamela (now Colleen) is doing fine and is wishing her every happiness! If she (or anyone with information) would like to contact me, I can be reached at Thanks for reading my post. :)
Wayne McLeod London, Ontario - Sept. 3, 2016
There is a house located on the next lot same side HWY 11 North of Western Star Truck lines.
It was relocated there from the lot next to 840 McIntyre St W. I believe some time in the early 60’s.
A person by the name of John Barrette had purchased it as it was scheduled to be demolished to create a parking lot for 840 McIntyre St. W.
He had purchased the house very cheaply & reasoned this along with its relocation was cheaper than building a house from scratch, which it was.
840 McIntyre was a small business run as Jug Milk Store, Groceries & Post Office.
Because of the Railway Bridge on Algonquin Ave. It was transported down Main St. to Hwy 17.
East on 17 then up 11 north to its present location. The big challenge was moving it up Thibault Hill.
In any case it was quite a move in those days.
Another memory is of “Thibault Camp” located at the junction of 11 north & Collins Dr.
This is where Thibault Hill derived its name. A hunting camp it was.
Located there was a Bear living in a cage that was a tourist attraction & very visible from the Hwy.
Eventually the Bear was gone and never replaced. Over a short time the camp was gone as well.
Approx. where Tisdale Bus Lines are now located not far past the old Psychiatric Hospital Site was a lively little establishment called the “BLUE SPRUCE HOTEL”.
Although being some distance north of town it did a surprising business.
After work employees from the Psychiatric Hospital, military personnel from the “BOMARK SITE’ not to mention thirsty traveler’s up & down Hwy 11.
Hunters, fishermen, snowmobilers along with North Bayites themselves would & could frequent this establishment.
Of course much changed since then regarding drinking & driving.
Needless to say this is the most likely cause of its demise & I suspect the same situation with “COMMODORE HOTEL” on Trout Lake Rd.
Wine & Cheese at the Elks Club on Wed. was something else and was reasoned to help breakup the boredom of the average work week.
I suspect it also helped breakup a few other things well. LOL!. There was no lack of support from Bayites.
Many downtown hotels would complain that it was not a licensed hotel and should be shut down.
It was in operation for many years & in particular a favorite during “SEMAIN FRANCAIS & WINTER FUR CARNIVAL”
Both of the weeks combined to make a two week party of it.
Later the wine & cheese was moved to the Voyageur Hotel on Algonquin but never as successful as the Elks Club.
Brian Bedard North Bay, Ontario - Sept.14, 2016
As a resident of North Bay for 45 years and an employee with the school board, we talk often in our classes about things related to the city.
Today I had the craziest memory of a restaurant at the location of Guardian Drugs on Algonquin... Tom Thumbs Restaurant!
I remember getting my burger and walking to a counter where you could add all your own fixings... The pickles were amazing :-)
Also, Ponderosa restaurant and the trees that used to go down the middle of Algonquin at the top of the hill...