Friday, May 25, 2012


I grew up at Metropolitan News, 1248 Peel Street. I started working in our family's store when I was eleven years old. The memories of Peel and St. Catherine - "At The Crossroads of The Nation" - flood in like a great tide, one drawing in another in waves.
Here I offer a list. If there is anyone out there who remembers, please write - adding a comment here or on my facebook page.
Metropolitan News Agency
Child's Restaurant
The Honey Dew
The Harmony - later called The Buffeteria
Joe Black's Cigar Store
The Windsor Steak House - Max Medicoff - Billy Daniels performed there.
Mary Lee Chocolate Shop - I walked in one day to get some candy and saw that a man had suddenly died. It must have happened moments before I arrived as his body lay sprawled face up on the floor, and the sweet sales ladies waited, stunned and silent, for the police.
Laura Secord Chocolate Shop
Berke's Pharmacy
The Toronto-Dominion Bank
Frank de Rice Spaghetti House on St. Catherine- back to back with Metro News - The aroma of garlic filtered into our store from Frankie's restaurant, but he vowed to my father - with a wink - that he only used a "soupcon" of garlic in his sauce.
Windsor Pool Parlor - upstairs from Metro. I would be sent up there to buy soft drinks. My grandmother liked 7-Up and I like Orange Crush, but I was always nervous about going into the pool parlor.
Diana Grill - later The Monterey - The Hachey family performed there. I think the Ink Spots did too. But most importantly for me - Cliff Carter played there. The rest of the story is told at MR. NOSTALGIA, CLIFF CARTER -
United Cigar Store
Newsie - Porter
Mt. Royal Hotel
Nat and Mrs. Simpson's Linen Shop
Adam's Hat Store
The Queen's Hotel - The telephone operator served there for decades. She was a regular client at Metro News.
The Laurentian Hotel
The Dominion Square Building - The man who kept the furnaces going there was a very tall, polite Swede, and a regular client at Metro.
Burton's Book Store - later W.H. Smith - Many years later, I met Princess Margaret's forbidden love, Peter Townsend, there. He autographed his book for me, as I requested - "To The Sheba".
The Down Beat
The Windsor Hotel - I saw Queen Mother Elizabeth in an open carriage when she stayed there, She wore a beautiful pale green dress with matching wide brimmed hat decorated with fine ostrich plumes. And I saw Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip there. I left the store and rushed out to Dominion Square several times when the young Royals were scheduled to appear in front of the hotel. Our store sold excellent 5 X 7 and 8 X 10 photographs of the couple for about fifty cents. I still treasure mine.
Dominion Square - My Pop brought me to the square to feed the pigeons and, years later, Marc Pilon of the CBC held art exhibits there. But no one seems to remember Marc Pilon. He was a lovely man with a beautiful tenor voice and he was the most articulate speaker I can remember.
And does anyone remember Lee Fortune of CBC ? Another fine gentleman with a beautiful voice and a lovely personality, His wife, Andee Mihlstock was also in radio, I believe.
Peel Street was alive all through the night back then. Late newspapers came after dark. There was no television. The people were out in the street, enjoying the restaurants and clubs, dancing, dining, and buying newspapers and magazines.
As a girl of 14 and 15, I was not afraid to work until 3:00 A.M. and take a taxi home. There were gangsters, but they didn't bother you if you had no business with them. I would not venture to be seen there after dark these days.
The memories flood in.
The Chez Paree - Frank Sinatra appeared there. So did Wally Aspell -
More about Wally at PHYLLIS CARTER'S JOURNAL -
Frank Sinatra came into Metro one day. He was not in a good mood. I learned that he had called home late the night before and his wife, Ava Gardner was not at home. There was a bullfighter ...

No comments: