Sunday, December 19, 2010

Limbo the Stocking Shop and the Gotham Style Shoppe

Shopping then and now, part 9
1969 Brill bus on Bay St, just up from Cumberland St.
(to see what this area looks like now, visit Hot Rods and Jalopies)

Before, we either took the bus or walked to downtown Port Arthur. Then, we walked along sidewalks, which are open air public spaces. We would shop in a mix of locally owned shops and department stores. Some of these stores included:

The Joy Shop, Delmars, Maxine’s, Eatons, Zellers, Woolworth, the Metropolitan, Kresges, McNulty’s, Matthews Dry Goods, Macleod’s, Bryan’s, Bonnie’s, Barbara’s Hat & Dress Shop, Belgium Glove & Hosiery, Teen’s Dream Shop, Limbo the Stocking Shop, Joanne’s Dress Shop, Mrs. Bloom’s Dress Shop, Ellen’s Dress Shop, Helena’s Dress Shop, Hollingsworth Ladies Wear, Arcade Mode Shop, Gotham Style Shoppe, Normandie Shop, Kay’s Ladies Wear, or Metamorphosis.

Hammond organ

The main bus stop downtown was right in front of the front doors of Eaton's. You could go to Eaton’s groceteria and pick up a loaf of bread delivered fresh that morning by Three Star Bakery. Also at Eaton’s, you could listen to Nonna Cooper, an elderly, elegantly dressed woman in full makeup, who played the organ on the landing of the stairs leading downstairs to the lunch bar. As Nonna's fingers ran skillfully along the piano keys, her two white poodles sat obediently on the stool beside her. You would see her Cadillac parked out back behind Eaton's, by Kiddies Korner.

1960 Cadillac

You might also walk down to Cumberland Street to the Lorna Doone Candy Shop or down to Bay Street to Coronet Café or up to Rupert Street to the Little Mrs Queenie of Star Café. And if it was morning when the street car dropped you off on your way to work at Woolworth’s, you would see the shop owners out sweeping the street in front of their shops, like Mr. Perkamon (sp?) cleaning the sidewalk in front of the Joy Shop on Court St.

photo Thunder Bay Finnish Canadian Historical Society

Or if you were walking to your job at the Algoma Steam Bath you would see Mr. Spovieri, shoemaker and inventor of the famous Spovieri’s shoe heel, sweeping in front of his shoe store.

In those days, people thought, what could I do? But now they say, it’s not my job. Ennen, ihmiset kysyy Mitä mä voin tehdä? Mutta nyt ne sanoo, Se ei oo mun työ.


marja-leena said...

Some of the names of the chain stores sound so familiar from my own youth in Winnipeg - thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Merche Pallarés said...

Same as MARJA-LEENA, those names! As a student in Toronto I worked one Christmas in Woolworth's and one summer in Eaton's.
By the way, the song "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" always reminds me of that Christmas in Woolworth's! Because apart from, "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" they ALWAYS played that song... I never understood why! Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

Hello ML and MP,
Canadian cities did share in common those particular chain stores and national stores like Eaton's. We no longer have an Eaton's in town, and our downtown is much worse because of its absence.

I can only imagine that the playing over and over again of "Will you still love me tomorrow" by the Shirelles had to be the Woolworth manager's personal desire. What does this song have to do with Christmas? I guess the manager, or whoever was in charge of the music, just had his or her own personal history with this song!

Merche Pallarés said...

I'm sure it was a she and she was sending a message to someone who worked there... Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

too funny!

Phyllis Reed said...

Interesting to see the names of the different stores in Port Arthur, one of my first jobs was at the Joy Shop and the sister store The Career Miss n Fort Willam. I also worked at Eatons for over 25 years right up until they closed the doors. Lots f memories.