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REMEMBER THIS: A snapshot of New Year's 100 years ago

Let’s have a look at what was going on in Barrie during the final week of 1923

As we get ready to turn the page on the old year and greet the new one, let’s have a look at what was going on in Barrie during the final week of 1923.

For many years, municipal elections were held in January. In the last week of the outgoing year, talk about the candidates who were hoping to claim the leadership of Barrie was the main news of the day. In the leadup to the 1924 election, Barrie had a three-way contest on its hands.

The Barrie Examiner reported that incumbent Mayor Little, J.F. Craig and H.G. Robertson would be appearing on the ballot. Spoiler alert: Merchant and tailor John Franklin Craig won the mayorship that year in what would turn out to be the second of his eventual three terms in the mayor’s seat.

Residents of our city will be interested to know that the favourite complaint of ours, the one regarding the abundance of potholes in the streets of Barrie, has a tradition that spans at least one hundred years.

As the Northern Advance indicated, it appears that the weather of late 1923 was rather mild as well.

“The conditions of the streets of Barrie during the past week when the snow disappeared, must have reflected on some of our citizens. At their best, our streets are not the best advertisement for a live and up to date town. There has been no permanent work done on the streets of Barrie for many years apart from a little on Bayfield Street. Considerable money is spent every year on patching up.”

Readers of the Barrie Examiner would have been both intrigued and saddened by the reports of Annie Turner’s passing. The 53-year-old lady died at Royal Victoria Hospital after receiving a blood transfusion. This treatment was experimental at the time, unheard of in Barrie, and unfortunately not successful.

The prospect of a new manufacturing plant opening in Barrie is always exciting.

In late 1923, it was the Warren pipe organ factory that was causing all the buzz. The factory, located on the east side of Maple Avenue, now the site of the Watercrest Apartments, lasted less than a decade.

More successful was the C. & W. Motor Company formed in the waning days of 1923. Leslie Chittick and Ernie Woodman, young business men from the Hamilton area, came to Barrie to take over the local Ford auto dealership. Mr. Woodman departed for Orillia before 1930, but Mr. Chittick continued the business into the late 1940s.

The Capitol Theatre was showing two films. As a New Year’s matinee special, A Front Page Story or The Knockout could be viewed on either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 for 15 cents.

The Grand Opera House had the 1923 silent film Richard the Lion-Hearted on offer. This venue was a little pricier and the ticket price varied between 35 and 50 cents depending upon whether the customer chose a balcony or floor seat.

Wilfred Firth advertised that he had the only dry-cleaning plant between Toronto and North Bay. He offered the cleaning, dyeing and repair of clothing at his shop, located at 109 Dunlop St. E.

What will one hundred more years bring? We can only guess.

Each week, the Barrie Historical Archive provides BarrieToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past. This unique column features photos and stories from years gone by and is sure to appeal to the historian in each of us.

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Mary Harris

About the Author: Mary Harris

Mary Harris is the Director of History and Research at the Barrie Historical Archive. The Barrie Historical Archive is a free, online archive that centralizes Barrie's historical content.
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