CITY OF THUNDER BAY,
ONTARIO CANADA - THE VERDI TOURIST ROUTE !
Thunder Bay former cities of Fort William and Port Arthur
"LAND OF THE SLEEPING GIANTS "
( Hometown of Paul Shaffer of the
David Letterman Show )
THE VERDI ROUTE OF THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO CANADA
The sequential tourist route of Thunder Bay ! ©
Thunder Bay's FIRST On+Line cultural MAGAZINE !
DISCOVER THE VERDI ROUTE of THUNDER BAY © 1997
"Veni, Vidi, Verdi " .....Caesar © 1997
DISCOVER BEAUTIFUL THUNDER BAY ONTARIO CANADA
THE VERDI (GREEN) DISCOVERY ROUTE
The sequential tourist route of Thunder Bay !
This sequential route provides a time saving, easy to follow route of the major tourist sites in Thunder Bay. The route starts at the Northeast end of the city, at the Terry Fox Lookout and runs southwest. As we develop this tourist route, I will try to suggest some of the best restaurants to visit while in Thunder Bay. Many of the restaurants and businesses are family owned and offer you personalized service. If you need information please call me at 1-807-345-0461.
- 1 - TERRY FOX LOOKOUT A monument to the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope. Located on Highway 11/17, overlooking the Sleeping Giant.
AN INSPIRATIONAL MUST SEE -
2 - CENTENNIAL PARK A bush camp, a children's playground, and small animal farm. Located along Current River, leading to Boulevard Lake Park.
- 3 - BOULEVARD LAKE PARK Enjoy a
walk around the man-made lake, walk trails, swimming beach, mini-golf, &
excellent picnic areas. Take in the bluffs as well. Try to park your
vehicle on the northeast corner of the dam,, near the high rises on hill
and walk to the dam, a beautiful view from there.
- 4 - PRINCE ARTHUR PARK & MARINA We suggest parking at the Pagoda Information Centre, using the walkway to the picturesque Marina. Within walking distance to the Heart-of-the-Harbour Shopping District. Dont forget to walk in front of the Government Building, a beautiful view.
A MUST SEE.
- 5 - HILLCREST PARK Provides the best overview
of the city, the elevators, the harbor and the Sleeping Giant. A MUST SEE.
Includes the sunken floral gardens, and two childrens parks one on each side.
- 6 - CONSERVATORY A tropical escape, featuring greenery from around the world. A refreshing change. (Open 1- 4 PM - 7 days a week)
- 7 - INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP GARDENS A mosaic of more than 15 ethnic monuments in a beautifully maintained park, reflecting the countries of origin of the various immigrant populations. RECOMMENDED
- 8 - CITY MUSEUM / KAM RIVER LOOKOUT Located in the Fort William core, near City Hall and walking distance to the Kam River Lookout, and within walking distance to Victoriaville Shopping District.
- 9- MOUNT McKAY LOOKOUT Drive over a swing bridge onto the Indian Reservation. The Lookout, ( at the 500-foot level of Mount McKay), features a snack bar & authentic native souvenirs. WELL WORTH SEEING
- 10 - CHIPPEWA PARK A park, campground, amusement rides,including a vintage merry-go-round and a notable newly constructed 10 acre wildlife exhibit, featuring animals native to this area.
- 11 - OLD FORT WILLIAM A most sensational reconstruction of a fur- trading post of the area in 1815. Artisans at work, exhibits, and a modern resource center. PLAN TO SPEND HALF- A- DAY HERE!!
OTHER RECOMMENDED SPOTS
A - Kakabeka Falls
B - Ouimet Canyon
C - Thunder Bay Art Gallery
D - Paipoonge Museum
E - Bay & Algoma Shopping District
F - Strathcona Public Golf Course
G - Chapples Public Golf Course
BEST WESTERN NOR-WESTERN RESORT HOTEL
1- 888- 473-9600
5 Minutes past the airport - Close to Fort William Country Club
Adjacent to the Tournament Center
Country setting - Rock Gardens - Private Steam baths - Jacuzzi's /Fireplace suites.
BEST WESTERN INTERNET SITE
PRINCE ARTHUR 1-800-267-2675
Beautiful Restaurant Facilities
On the waterfront in the Port Arthur side of town
beautiful view of the Lake.
TRAVEL LODGE THUNDER BAY 1-888-483-6887
Near Old Fort William and airport.
NEAR THE AIRPORT
Excellent Dinner Facilities
VALHALLA Corporate Web-Site
(4 Stars) Swimming Pool - 2 minutes from Airport - Near Old Fort William .
Near Boulevard Lake Park on Cumberland Street. -Virginia or Ray Leino
BREAKFAST / LUNCH
(recommend the Beef Stew, or Fish Stew meals, Liver and Onions)
Finnish Pancakes - Breakfast - Dinner
(recommend any breakfast and dessert)
Off of Memorial
(recommend the 'Steak and Eggs")
PORT ARTHUR SIDE
468 N. Cumberland Street - 1-807-343-9328
( Cumberland Street)
MR. CHINESE RESTAURANT
(Casual Souvlaki and Greek Salads, Gyro, by Dimitri)
Italian home cooked meals - ( Nazzareno Tozzo owner )
Court Street Across from Renco's
(specialty pizza - home made pastas and gnoochi)
Meet Momma Alfa and Ralph, great personable service !
Phone to reserve your order of homemade pasta at 1-807-6-234567
THE PRINCE ARTHUR,
TIMBERS / VALHALLA
BYTES RESTAURANT WATERFRONT
WHITE FOX INN &
FAMILY HOITO RESTAURANT
COFFEE / ICE CREAM SHOPS
GREAT NORTHWEST COFFEE SHOP
(Voyageur theme, Memorial Ave, freshly roasted coffee beans),
(Modern Italian, Fine Pastries W. Arthur St),
FINNPORT, (Scandinavian gifts)
THE FINNISH BOOKSTORE,
(a must see - local artisans),
(local souvenir sweatshirts),
SQUITTI'S "A Beautiful Difference"
(worlds smallesr department store)
Gifts - Jewelry - Chandeliers - Diamonds - Gold Jewelry
AMETHYST GIFT CENTRE
( E. Victoria)
CASTAGNE'S ROCK SHOP,
Corner Bay and Secord. - outfits for special occasions
(Bay & Algoma)
Woodstoves - solar panels (S. Algoma St - Simpson
(N. May St)
TOURS THUNDER BAY
LAKE SUPERIOR VISITS (1-807- 344-9208)
speak with Lois Nuttal
"THUNDER BAY GUEST" The best informational guide of the city available free.
Any comments or suggestions about your tourist stay
in Thunder Bay would be appreciated.
Have a question - e-mail me and I hope to answer your concerns and make suggestions.
The Merchants of the South
Port Arthur Ontario, Canada now part of Thunder Bay, amalgamating with the city of Fort William.
It is said that a picture can speak a thousand words, but I believe that a word, a name, can paint a thousand beautiful pictures. These are the names of the people and of the places that were, are, and will be memories of the south side of Port Arthur, Ontario Canada in the last century.
Arthur Natale Squitti, my father was born on Secord Street in 1915. He was the third son of Joseph Squitti son of Don Caesar of Malito, and Rosa Veltri of Grimaldi, and his wife Maria Carollo, daughter of Pietro Carollo and Mary Veltri of Grimaldi, and their young son, child Caesar, sailed from Italy in 1910. My father, known as Arturo the Taxi Driver, would often speak of the early days in Port Arthur as a young boy, he and others from " Little Italy" would fight for street corners in downtown to sell their papers, just like in the movies. This was Port Arthur of the 1920's. These were the days of street cars, coal furnaces, and horse and buggies. The street names are the same, but the people, the places and the stories are now part of our colorful history if we take the time to remember.
Some of the buildings are now gone but I was fortunate enough to catch some of sites of these buildings, these people and their distinct memories. Who can ever forget Cornwall School, and Saint Joseph's School with the their Sisters from Saint Joseph; larger than life, awe inspiring, strict, and on their missions. These were part of the "black and white" pictures of many of the youth of the area, when papers, TV and pictures were in black and white. For a moment recall the regiments of children, marching on their way to Saint Anthony's Church on Banning Street. A time when children respected tradition and feared God and their parents.
But to many of us the real world was where people spent most of their time, the time before TV, before computers, when the real world was the real stage of life that could be viewed in living color. Where personalities past and present were real life people, whose names adorned their shops, where business was their lives and their lives their business. The downtown was alive and well with Woolworths, Kresgees and who can forget the many childhood memories of Eatons and Santa Claus.
Our neighborhood, included Bay, Secord and Algoma Streets, the "South Side" as I am told was called "Little Italy." The early first wave of Italian Immigrants included names like Giardetti, Lagozzo, Nigro, Conci, Ambrose, Rigato, Sproveri, Fonso, Petrone, Squitti, Scarcello, and Veltri. Most all from the southern province of Calabria Italy, including a son of Grimaldi, a Veltri who changed his name to Welch and built the railroad all the way to British Columbia. These were some of the pioneer Italian names that made Secord the little Italy of the times. An area that as well included many immigrants including the Finns, the Poles, the Ukrainians, people from all across Europe who came to Port Arthur then the transportation hub of the north when rail and boats were king.
On Secord street, these were the days of front porches, apple trees, and large back gardens, of daily tea parties, and children playing together. The days before television, when children walked to school, and sidewalks were for people. I am told that years prior horse races were held down Secord Street, and horse and buggies delivered Shaws bakery products down a gravel street.
The corner of Bay Street was the days of Arnio's coffee shop, now Squitti's. I can still see Mr. Arnio behind the till, and Mrs. Arnio taking care of the coffee and toast. Mrs. Laine, Mr. Arnio's sister lived upstairs and had taught me typing at P.A.C.I., a school of tradition, just in earshot of the cannons of Hillcrest Park, where names like Einstein, Shakespeare, and Newton, mixed in with names of "professors" like Smith, Spencer and Mary Campbell, and the arts. Different names from a different world to those of us from "Little Italy,"
My years in this area, were of the 60's, a little late, but still I was able to catch the many sites of an era drawing to close. Dad was born in Canada and never saw Italy, however it was my mother, Marianne, Mama, as everyone called her that came to Port Arthur in 1956 with a treaure of custom and wisdom from Italy. Like many of the immigrants they brought their culture into Canada. Mama Squitti, operated a rooming house, that was more like a social hostel, taking in people from all around the world, from Vietnam draftdodgers, retired Lumberjacks, children of Native chiefs and us.
A walk down Bay Street one recalls the smiling face of Mrs. Lehtonen, in their Finish book store, they were ambassadors for the Finish migrants who came to this area, their calling if you will. Next door, the barber, Mr. Pallen, in his barber shop of the 40's. The olde world charm of these barber shops can still be found at Sam's and Garofalo's where politics and philosophy abound still in the area.
The focus of Bay Street was the Finlandia Centre and the Finn Hall. One was a communist hall, a haven for "radical union" and social politics of that day that by todays standards, is middle of the road politics. In the basement the book store owner was also a writer and social activist. The streets of Bay street were often filled with bushworkers and lumberjacks came back into town for their supplies, their clothing, their food and banking. It was a different era. Everyone remembers the dances at the Finn Hall.
We cannot forget the restaurants, the Hoito, and the Scandinavian that were in fact social centers. Little did I know of the political rallies and protests that walked along the wooden sidewalks and earth covered roads in the last century. Much has changed in those these past one hundred years.
On the other corner at Bay and Secord stands the Cooperative Food Store, its own gas bar across the street is now gone. The ovens at Kivela Bakery, are still baking beautiful cakes and pastries by Hazel. Bay Street was with its many stores of hub of activity with its shops, halls and rooming houses of the day. The unofficial Mayor of Bay Street can still be found sitting on his chair directing the affairs of the street, I am referring to Lauri of Lauri's Hardware, a man of many hats. His parents built the Finish Hall across the street.
Then there were the Ma and Pa corner grocery stores of the area. The ItalianHall had been built on Algoma Street, and the new immigrants to the area focused within this area especially streets like like Secord, Ontario and Crown. Most corners had family grocery stores. We still remember Mrs. Agostino, who owned a family shop on the corner of Cornwall, a kind storeowner who looked after many of the children within the area. Names like Maltese, Bertucci, Franks, Gracis, Dallis, Johns, Franci, Dolcetti, DeSano, and Squitti's. In fact our Grandfather Squitti opened their first grocery store on Secord Street just behind the newly opened Italian Cultural Centre back in 1914. Bertucci's, Franks and Squitti's Grocery Stores were opened by three sisters from the town of Simbario Catanzaro. Marianne Rosso, my mother and Dad opened their shop on Bay Street in 1967. Here we sold authentique Italian products for that special mediterrean menu of the newly arrived Italian immigrants into the area. One can never forget the weekly clang of returnable Coke bottles, these were the days of returnable bottles.
The merchants of the south side included the world of musicians, the shop keepers, like Colosimo's, Slongo's, and Valente's, where music was not only their trade but their family history in Italy. Speciality shops like Scarcello's Shoe Store adorned the streets, informal, and down to earth. Many of these shopkeepers, many of these people came from small villages in southern Italy where they are know for their hospitality and their community spirit.
How could we forget, at the bottom of Bay Street, the new Main Service Station, the ice cold coke bottles and the impatience of waiting to fill the tank with $ 1:00 of gas into the car. The many hotels like the Vendome, and the Royalton where weekends were bustling and the draft was overflowing, and so were many of the small taxi cabs of the day. The chinese restaurants and chinese laundry shops within the area gave the area a multi-cultural flavor. Just down the street, we could hear and see, blocks of ice flowing into rail cars, where log booms and tug booms filled the Lake. The days before malls and modern refrigeration.
At the end of Secord Street was the Co-op milk bottling plant. These were the days of small town, small stores, small talk, and people, with big hearts and stories to tell. These were not merely shops, these were merchants who lived their businesses and were proud to be part of their neighborhood.
The south side of Port Arthur an area of the emigrants from all parts of Europe, the Fins, the Pols, the Ukranians, the Russians, the Chinese, the Italians and the Portugese, all colorful people from different worlds, humbled by a strange language, but all bearing a common smile, a smile born out of small towns in Europe.
Many of the people and merchants of the south side of Port Arthur, are now gone, some of the buildings remain yet the memories live on in print, in paintings and in memories, full of sounds and color. No doubt there history built our future. To those countless of people, and merchants who wrote their names as people of the south side of Port Arthur in the first chapter in the History of Thunder Bay, I and others thank you for the memories !
Caesar J. B. Squitti
The on-line cultural magazine for Thunder Bay !