Community linked, enjoying modern shopping

The August, 1960 opening of the “subway” was one of the first major projects undertaken in many years by Fort Frances. Ceremonies were held at the intersection of Portage Avenue and Third Street East.
The Fort Frances Civic Band, under the direction of Nick Andrusco, played several numbers as a prelude to the dedication service.
After the invocation by Rev. H. Colver of Calvary Tabernacle and speeches by Mayor J.T. Livingstone, CNR general superintendent Issac Luca, and former mayor J.M. Newman, eight-year-old Barbara Stachiw cut the ribbon held by Fred Zamalynski, one of the oldest residents north of the CNR tracks.
A cavalcade of cars followed the band through the newly-opened subway.
Negotiations for the subway with CNR had begun in 1957 and Mr. Newman was noted for initiating the project during his term as mayor.
The subway consists of two 15-foot lanes for vehicles and two six-foot sidewalks with handrails for pedestrians, with a 14.5-foot clearance under the tracks.
More than 200 pilings, some 65 feet long, were driven in to support the cement footings. Two piers—50×15.5 feet—hold the main girder that supports the tracks.
Excavation for the project was 29 feet at its deepest, and included the pouring of 2,200 yards of cement and 72 tons of reinforced steel. The project was estimated at $340,000, with the town paying one/10th.
A temporary railway track was in place until the three regular tracks could be relaid over the overpass. With the opening of the overpass, crossings on Victoria and Armit Avenues were closed and a 10-year-old pedestrian crossing serving Portage Avenue was removed.
Meanwhile, a new shopping experience was in store as customers praised the modern Safeway and Shop-Easy supermarkets that opened in 1960.
In February, Safeway opened on the northwest corner of Scott and Victoria with a 50-car parking lot, seven check-out stations, and all the latest in shopping convenience, including self-service display cases.
In March, Shop-Easy welcomed customers to its grand opening, finding it necessary to control the number of people in the store at one time. At 375 Scott St., the store boasted an 85-car parking lot and five speedy checkouts.
With roomy departments and merchandise grouped for ease of shopping, the supermarket had arrived!
In June, the Fort Frances Brewery was expected to start brewing Beck’s beer—a new project in the renovated plan under brewmaster William A. Beck. Having apprenticed as a brewer in Germany, Beck had 46 years of experience throughout the world and had spent the last 11 years in Colombia, South America.
Beck took over the brewery in Fort Frances after it had been closed for a year.
And in November, voters were asked to make a decision on Sunday sports. The referendum asked, “Are you in favour of public games and sports on the Lord’s Day to be regulated by municipal bylaw under the authority of the Lord’s Day (Ontario) Act.”
If the bylaw was approved, Sunday sports would be restricted to the hours of 2-5 p.m. Hockey, football, baseball, softball, ice skating, roller skating, golf, tennis, badminton, track sports, aquatic sports, and bowling were included.
Memories of the north end, going to the new shopping centre, or Beck’s beer? Please share them in the Community History Scrapbook that’s now being compiled. The 100-year countdown continues to the centennial.
2003: a year for celebrating community. Let’s make it one to remember.