Art Pogue Remembers Colborne Street Businesses (1918-1973)
May 24, 2023
Art Pogue with Jiggs in front of Pogue's Garage
Art was born in 1912, and operated a Colborne Street Garage
The businesses on Colborne Street at this time in 1973, starting at the canal and working north are Sider’s Jewellery Store and Sider’s Variety Store, I.G.A. Food store owned by John Sobko, Murchison, Sangster & Folkes Insurance and Real Estate occupy the next two stores, then the Public Library, Peggy Ann Beauty salon operated by Mrs. Walter Junkin, Eddie Wong Restaurant, Doyle’s Discount Drug Store, Harry McCallum Men’s Wear, Jackett Cleaners, Glen Woods Real Estate, Brandon Hardware, Fenelon Men’s Wear operated by Mr. Spiers, and the last place on the block is Fred and June’s Snack Bar, run by Fred and June Raby.
Across Francis Street East to the north, the first store is Coburn’s Drug Store, operated by Mr. Stinson, having recently taken over ownership from John Coburn. Next is McFarland’s store for men owned by Brian Divan, then there is a small space of about 12 or 15 feet to Vanatter’s Groceteria, followed by Crest Hardware. There are then about two vacant lots before the Ford Garage, owned by Emmons, a large used car lot and then the Fenelon Theatre, built by the Conskys just after World War II.
On the corner of Bond and Colborne Streets, the first place north of Bond is the office and residence of Dr. George Johnstone, who is the son of Dr. Hugh Johnstone who treated me for a fairly severe head cut when I was about five years old.
Now to start south on Colborne from Bond Street West we have Webster Brothers Wholesale Tobacconists, in a fine building built during World War II, next is one large building where Bob Reid runs a variety store, and Jerry Palmer has a furniture store, then a store that specializes in Water Filters run by a Mr. Hogan, then there is Don Stephenson, an Optometrist, then Jerry Palmer who owns an electrical business in the next establishment, Jean McKendry has Ladies Wear next, then another vacant store owned by Mr. Robson, followed by a medical office run by Drs. Young and Dukelow, after which comes a Men’s and Ladies Wear Store, run by a Mr. Stephenson (no relation to Don the Optometrist). To finish his block, we then have George Palmer Insurance Agency, a law office run by Lindsay lawyers, and last the Bank of Montreal.
Starting the next block south of Francis Street, we have the Bank of Commerce; Murray Bulmer, a barber; with McClelland, a dentist in the rear of the building; Fotheringham Bakery. Bob VanAlstyne’s Meat Market, Ed Taylor’s Variety Store, a War Surplus Store and Watson’s Variety which includes Simpson Sears order office. Next there is Ken McArthur’s Drug Store, a barber shop and pool room, Mrs. George Howell’s Ladies Wear, Jim Guild’s Chinese Restaurant, Long Real Estate, the Sketch Box, a souvenir store run by Mrs. Bigley, and last in the block is a Canadian Tire Store.
As I continue to describe the different changes I have seen in my time, I shall take in other parts of the town such as where the park between the bridges is and some places south of the river.
To start all over again at the canal on the east side of Colborne Street, there used to be a small lockhouse located just east of the bridge. The lockmasters I remember were Tom McDermot, Rainey Burke, Walter Bown and of course there were several helpers during that time, such as Jack Ellery, Bloucher Scott, Ted Mitchell and some that came from out of town. North of the canal driveway, where we now have Siders and IGA stores was J.J. Stanton photography studio, a vacant lot and then three stores in one group. First was Mac McCallum’s men’s wear and custom tailoring run by Mr. Mac from my first recollections until his death when Harry McCallum took over and ran the store until all the stores were sold to make room for the building of the IGA store. The next and middle store of that group was a Chinese Laundry, then John MacKay’s Bakeshop and also a variety store for a short while. The last store in the group was a barber shop, Gordon Bruce butcher shop, Tom Carley lawyer, a dress shop and finally Mrs. Walter Junkin’s Beauty Parlour. The next was a laneway which at one time led to a house to the rear of the next three stores known as the Fraser Block. This house was rented by several different families over the years.
The Fraser Block was built by a retired minister, Mr. James Fraser and consisted of three stores and two apartments. One apartment was occupied by Mrs. James Fraser and the other was the dental office of Dr. M.C. Mills, who built the house directly south of the United Church. The first store was rented by Miss Washburn, who operated a Ladies Hat shop until her death and then it was taken over by one of the McFarland girls, who ran this shop until the 1940s when it was taken over by Brandon and Murchison Insurance Agency, who moved their office across the street above Henderson Barbershop. This agency changed to Murchison and Robson after the death of Max Brandon who was the greatest hockey promoter Fenelon Falls ever had. Later Robson sold out and the firm is now known as Murchison, Sangster & Folkes Ltd., Insurance and Real Estate. They recently took over the next and centre store in the Fraser Block as a Real Estate Office. Previously to this the first business operated here was a restaurant by Mr. Lee, a Greek, who sold out to Mr. Harry Curtis, who in turn operated the restaurant for a few years and then moved across the street. After this it was Consky’s shoe store, in the middle 30’s it was made the Bell Telephone exchange until the next exchange was built in the 1960s across the street from the United Church. There were other small businesses in this store for short periods until it was taken over by the present Real Estate Company. The last store was first the Standard Bank, then Sterling Bank, followed by the Bank of Commerce who closed out about 1933. The public library that had several different locations in town took over this store and is there at the present time.
The store immediately north was a butcher shop run by Mr. John Copp, followed by his two sons Hilliard and then Harvey, who sold out to Henry Popert, now a butcher for Van’s Meat Market. After Mr. Popert closed shop, it was taken over by Gerald Palmer as an electrical store, which operated for a couple of years and then Mrs. Walter Junkin moved her Beauty Parlour from the other store and she is still in this location.
The next store has had Arnold’s Grocery, Sam Bryans and then McLaughlin’s Barber Shop and pool room, an elderly Chinese man who started a restaurant in the 1920s, who sold out to Jack (also Chinese), and then to Eddie Wong, the present owner of the three stores in this block.
The next store north is Harry McCallum who moved from the old store further south, this store was William Campbell’s Clothing Store. After Campbell’s, it remained vacant for some time. Then it was opened in the 1930s as a Groceteria by Art Perkins, after Perkins the grocery store was operated by Bill Moore. Then after Moore, it was taken over by McCallum’s. Back in the 1930s, the barbershop was moved away and a building was built by adding a roof with front and rear walls between the exterior building. This was originally a garage operated by James Daniel and Alvin Gould, where they sold Start and Durant cars. The garage was taken over around 1946 or so by Hugh Dixon who also sold farm machinery. Mr. Dixon closed out the business and the building was sold to Orville Jackett who installed a dry cleaning establishment in the south half and rented the north half to Glen Wood Realty. It is still being operated as Jackett Cleaners, only under the management of Mr. & Mrs. William Clarke.
Brandon Hardware Ltd. is still operating in the next store. Throughout the years, they have enlarged their store by including the south part of the Mansion House Hotel. Also, the other parts of the old hotel include where the main entrance and lobby was, there is a men’s wear store operated by Mr. Spiers. The corner sample room and old bar has been converted into a snack bar and lunch room run by Fred Raby, having been operated in the past by Leo Lauzon, John Gleed, and people by the name of Alexandris. When the Liquor Control Board store was located at 27 Francis Street West, the hotel kitchen was converted to an empty bottle return depot. In 1970, this was torn down and replaced by a cement block building for the same purpose. The upper part of the hotel has been made into apartments. This pretty well covers the south east block of Colborne Street.
Now for the next block North. McFarland’s had two adjoining stores, one was a grocery store and the other a clothing store. McFarland’s General Store at the start of my time was owned and operated by Andrew McFarland. Upon his death, the building and business was bought by his nephew Wellington McFarland. After his death his wife Alice carried on for some time and then sold out to John Coburn, the druggist, who had bought the G.F. Vicars drug store across the street. Mr. Coburn remodelled the whole building, putting in several apartments upstairs. He put a drugstore in where the grocery store had been and Mrs. McFarland carried on in the other section with a clothing and shoe store. About 1968-69, Brian Divan purchased the clothing store and Mr. Stinson bought out Coburn’s drug business in 1970.
Back in the early 1920s, there were two small frame buildings north of McFarland’s, the first one Tommy Lanty Junkin had a shoe repair store and lived in the rear. After he left, there was a Chinese laundry in the building for a few years and then Fred Gubbins operated a bicycle shop for a couple of years and along in the early 1950s it was demolished. The other frame building had a bicycle business operated by my father until 1917 when he moved across the street. This building was also demolished. This would be in the early 1920s.
There was a bad fire in the fall of 1930 that destroyed the next three stores. The first store that I remember was operated by Mr. Cornelius Curtis. It was a small restaurant and candy store (if I remember correctly). After Mr. Curtis, the store was taken over by Mr. Frank Magee, who had a harness shop and men’s clothing store until it was destroyed by the fire. The other two shops were Heard’s Hardware. They were run by Mr. Bill Heard and behind the stores were living quarters where relatives of Mr. Heard lived. After the fire, Mr. Heard and Mr. Magee built the present stores. Mr. Vanatter’s Groceteria is now located in both stores. The south store was occupied by Dominion Stores Ltd., a grocery chain, and the other by Jack Ellery and Bill Palmer, as a harness shop and clothing store. The Heard store was replaced and run by Mr. Heard until his death and then his son took over and ran it until he sold out to Bill Shields from Coboconk who ran a Crest Hardware. He later sold out to Ken Tuckey and his son-in-law Bill McNeice who are the present operators.
The next place is a vacant lot that in the late 1930s was the town horseshoe court managed by Curly Irwin Junkin, which used to be a real beehive of activity for about three years when horseshoe pitching was a real sport throughout the country.
The next property is a real interesting deal, as I remember: starting out it was a wooden frame building, built long before my time as a hotel, later it became the post office. It was located right up to the sidewalk. My first vivid recollections was it was operated as a Ford garage by brothers Alfred and Emmerson Tiers. They ran the garage until about 1927 when it was taken over by a Mr. Ed Little and Alex Haig. Haig stayed about three years, then Ed Little carried on until he got into financial difficulties, and then his brother from Richmond Hill took over for a few years. During this time, the frame building was moved back about 30 feet to make room for gas pumps. The building was then pulled down and the present one built. Gerald Armstrong took over and ran the Ford Dealership up to about 1969 or 1970, when the present operator took over. Where the present used car lot is, the was a frame building where Cecil (Dodger) Deyman was born when his father Lewis had a furniture and Funeral Director’s business there. Dodger sold the building to Gerald Armstrong who demolished it to make the used car lot.
From the Deyman building to Bond Street was a vacant lot until about 1949, when Abe Consky bought the lot and built the Fenelon Theatre on it, and it is still being operated by his son Lou, who lives in Haliburton. The first house north of Bond is the home and office of Dr. George Johnstone, and was also the home and office of his father, Dr. Hugh Johnstone before him. The house was originally built by a Dr. Wilson.
Now directly across the street from the theatre, the SW corner of Bond and Colborne was a vacant lot which was a part of the property of the North Star Milling Company. The flour mill stood facing Bond Street about 150 feet west of Colborne. During the Second World War, while I was away in the Air Force, Webster Bros., Fred and Russell, sons of Harry Webster, built the present building as a wholesale warehouse. This year, 1972, it was sold to Douglas Clerk, who worked for them and Mr. Hugh McNamara, who used to own McNamara Sales and Service, a plumbing and heating business south of the railway, next to the bowling alley and car wash, which places were being built around 1969.
Going south on Colborne Street, we now have the next building which used to be three stores, the first was a restaurant run by Washington Northey until his death, then by his son Alexander. In the late 1960s, Alex sold to Mr. and Mrs. Bob Reid, who still operate the store. The Northey’s at one time were noted far and wide for their homemade ice cream. The other two stores in the group, were owned by Alfred Northey, a brother of Washington. In one store he sold musical instruments and in the other was a bake shop. He did all his own baking in a large brick oven in a building in the rear of the main store. I remember one time Violet one of the daughters who worked in the store, remarked if the price of a loaf of bread dropped back form 6 cents to 5 cents a loaf they would have to quit baking. The Northeys lived above the two stores. One son Lorne took over the business in 1947 and formed both stores into a Groceteria. He later sold out to Elwood Thompson who in turn after a few years closed out the business. The buildings were sold to Gerald Palmer who remodelled them and operates a furniture store upstairs and down.
The next buildings south were built by my father; the north unit was built in 1928 and is occupied by two business, north section by Stitch-N Tyme, a store catering to dry goods, the south section by Don Stephenson, an optometrist. This building was built for a new and used car showroom, after World War Two, I operated a garage in this section and a showroom in the next building now housing Stinson’s Drug Store, who moved from the McFarland building. Next building where two stores, Touch of Class (a ladies clothing store) and Beckers Milk Store are located. This building was built by W.T. Robson in 1914 to house a farm implement dealership.
The first I remember of the next building was that it was a bake shop operated by John MacKay; now a photography store. The present store, Gazette, was in the past a drug store operated by different owners, Harry Robson, Fred Vicars, and John Coburn, who moved the business across the street to the McFarland Block and sold out to Stinson’s who in turn moved to their present location.
After a fire that burned their large furniture store down, that was on a site on Francis Street, just west of the Travel Agency, Sydney Gaynor moved into where Palmer Insurance is, after Gaynor the location was a public Library and for years the office of Dr. White and a Law Office.
South of the Doctor’s office was a butcher shop that was incorporated into the remodelling of the Bank of Montreal. This butcher shop was run by different people over the time I remember, Paul Ouellette, Bill Bothwick and Earl Vanatter.
The southwest corner of Francis and Colborne Streets was a large vacant lot with a bandstand located in the middle. The bandstand was later moved to where the War Memorial stands in the Market Square. In the middle 1920’s, Bill Black built the building that the Men’s store is in. Black operated a barber shop at the street level. Dr. Foster Graham had his dental office on the second floor, now it consists of the Men’s store in the front, Murray Bulmer’s Barber shop in the rear, with the upper floor in apartments.
1935 saw the opening of a new Post Office on the corner, which was remodelled and became the Bank of Commerce; the Post Office being moved to its new location next to the Public Library at the Market Square.
Tom Arnold had a double store, being one half grocery store and the other half a shoe store, since then the north part has been a bake shop operated by Gill, Nevison, Stanley Flett, Fotheringham, Burnie Bell and the present bakes. The other half operated as a butcher shop by Harry Webster, Johnstones, Ted Watt, Bob VanAlstyne; a Sport shop by Tom Townley and now Re-Max Real Estate Company.
Around 1940, Fred Warren remodelled his variety store and added the store of Websters Wholesale into one store which has been owned by Mary Warren, Ed Taylor and Pat Durr.
W. Burgoyne and Son had a double store; north part was a grocery store later owned as such by R.N. (Dick) Mitchell and Grattan Rutherford, and later as a War Surplus store; the south part as a Variety Store by Chas. Burgoyne, Garnet Graham and now Ron Watson.
Ken McArthur’s Drug Store has been operated by Alvin Gould, also it was the Bell Telephone exchange and my first recollection as a U.F.O. Grocery Store. The present pool room and barber shop had previously been Gould’s Drug Store, prior to their move to the McArthur location, Consky’s Grocer and Clothing store.
A Real Estate office is in what was a barber shop and pool room operated for a short time by Mr. McLaughlin and then Jerry Henderson and family. It also served as the Library at one time.
The Chinese restaurant was started in this location after the Curtis’ moved their restaurant from the Fraser Block across the street, prior to this it was Myles Jewellery store. The wool and handicraft store, at one time a real big business, was owned by the Townley Family, and they sold made-to-measure men’s suits throughout the province and employed a large staff of men. In the last years of this business It was operated by brothers Art and Herbert Townley.
The last building before Water Street was the McArthur House Hotel, run by John Aldous. The main floor consisted of a large bar next to Townley’s; sample room for travellers; a pool room; a large dining room and kitchen, plus a card room. On the corner of the building was the Post Office for many years with W.B. Brandon as postmaster.
The Post Office had four locations I recall: First was in the building that was torn down for the Ford Garage; second, at the corner of Water and Colborne; third where the Bank of Commerce is located at Francis and Colborne Street; fourth, at present site. The Library has been in the same building as the Post Office was located on Colborne Street; second, moved to where Palmer’s Insurance is; then to home of Jim Webster on Francis St. West; also in the house where the Trent Tradition Gift Shop is; then to a small building on Francis Street West behind the Bank of Montreal, since demolished; the next moved to the store in the Fraser Block vacated by Curtis restaurant; and finally to its present building.
On what we call the Island, the land between the river and the canal, there were several buildings that have been cleared away and a park established. From east to west they were: A Municipal building called Town Power House; a stone building that held several businesses including a flour mill, chemical plant and a furniture factory to name a few. This building was twice gutted by fire.
On the West side of the street, a large wooden building that at different times held a grist mill, a restaurant, electrical store, a shoe repair, a garage operated by Des. Kelly, a Chrysler [Dodge] Dealership and Service Station by the last operator Aubrey Lyons; behind this building there was McIntosh Creamery, and on the point Calvert’s [Alex Flett] Boat Livery and Tourist Cabins. There was also a small building housing McDougald’s Insurance and Angus McDonald’s shoe repair.