Thursday, 12 July 2012


By Theodore B. Allen


And here are my observations after spending Saturday night, Sunday and part of Monday going to, at, and coming from Nipigon:

Had a quiet week-end in the new Normandie Hotel being built for Peter Prete. Modernistic in design and dress, plans for the hotel were drawn by George Blanchard, Port Arthur architect. Hotel will have sixteen rooms, four with private bath. Owner awaiting , like others with half-completed structures, delivery of material. Front entrance of Hotel Normandie will be of oak and imposing. Brick and stucco exterior. Latest furnishings inside. Hotel fills need in fast growing community.

Saw Fred Brown of Nipigon Lake Timber Company Limited. Living there now with family, including sister-in-law, Miss Nell Gillis, who was in Port Arthur Post Office several years. Mr. Brown discussed plans of his company for the season. In the company's waterfront yard workmen were putting fresh coat of red paint on towing tugs, making mechanical repairs to tractors and loggers.

Noticed that the company's tugs have been equipped with "cages" enclosing their propellers. They are flat blades or round bars of steel welded circularly in shape to the hull of the craft and were designed to protect the blades from being sheared off by floating logs. Mr. Brown says there is no reason why the principle could not be used for bigger ships. The "cage" on a larger scale of course, could be incorporated in ship-construction in Canadian yards, he believes.

In Nipigon you don't see or hear many radios. Taxis seem to have them, but public places have not. Radio reception is not so good there due to the magnetic influence of mineral deposits thereabouts.

Attended a lecture and showing of motion pictures on the dread killer cancer Sunday night in the community hall. Quite a good crowd of interested people. Showing put on by the Port Arthur Junior Chamber of Commerce, with Frank McKeever delivering a statistical talk. With their new hospital and infiltration of better educational facilities Nipigon people are as health-conscious as those at the Lakehead.

Nipigon Junior Chamber of Commerce is up-to-the-minute.  It has the Sault Ste. Marie Lake Superior Highway already constructed...witness part of the wording of its large sign on a vacant lot, along the main street "_ Junction of Trans-Canada highway routes to Hearst and Sault Ste. Marie."

Where else but on a government building would you see such a sign...This one hangs on the front door of the Nipigon Post Office : "Please shut door, as closure is broken".

Port Arthur waitresses may think they are overworked. Wonder how some of them would feel were they to carry out the tasks of one girl at a Nipigon cafe, operated by Chinese(?) She said she worked alone from 7 o'clock until noon. At one time she was serving six people at the counter and there were ten others at several tables.

S. "Frenchy" Dupuis on the International Transit Company's bus route for many years, is known and liked all along the way. He has a keen sense of humour, as witness:

"Sure you can have a one-way ticket. I'm taking a one-way ride all the time. One way up in the morning, and one way back at night."

All the way along noticed only one person working on the land. A woman was grub-hoeing, getting a piece of high-ground in shape for planting. Bad weather seemed only to enhance her urge to see things sprouting. Plenty of water about on most arable land.

Rivers running high, Pearl River was overflowing below the highway. Murky churning water not far from the level of the Black Sturgeon River bridge Sunday. Trout Creek, Blind Creek and other streams tumbling to the lake.

Highways in spots worst in years, say those who have to use the road. Big mud  holes in vicinity of Red Rock and for three or four miles in Hurkett area.

Noticed the United Church has a new cement basement, thus providing Sunday School and minor hall facilities so badly required. Was told congregation of St. Mary's Anglican Church expects to see a new rectory built this year. Matter was discussed at a recent visit to Nipigon by Rt. Rev. W.L. Wright, Bishop of Algoma. Rev. Charles Large is the present rector. The congregation is growing.

Several changes will be made in the appearance of main street if present plans of property owners materialize.

C.M. Thompson, druggist, is talking of going ahead with construction of a new two-store building adjoining his present store. Banning Brothers, electricians, expect to occupy the second store.

Fred Vivone of the D-Day Restaurant is planning to build on his property on the west side of Ring's Barber Shop. he has already received shipments of some building materials, mostly concrete blocks.

Up a bit on the corner, Charles Choiselat owns a fine piece of land. There he plans to build a modern service station and taxi stand.

A. Kriff, jeweller, is said to have purchased the property presently occupied by druggist Thompson, with intention of enlarging as soon as the new drug store is available. All this, and there are plans, too, of N.J. Erechook, of Beardmore, to build a 350 - seat theatre costing about $45,000.

Nipigon River is open and its waters are thundering beneath the highway and the C.P.R. bridges. The Nipigon Lagoon is still ice-locked, and the outer bay is also under the spell of Winter, though ice is honeycombing and taking on a deep blue tint.

Plenty of home building last year in Nipigon. Forty new homes started, some completed. One carpenter said he could get all kinds of work to do if he could get materials.

End of 1948 article.

I am fortunate that I visited Nipigon in 1965,1966,1968 and moved here in 1969. So much of our town structure "Isn't there" anymore,  but the will to keep Nipigon alive and functioning is.

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