My guilty little secret

OK–time to let loose on a guilty little secret. When I first moved full-time to Collingwood in 2002 (after 44 years of cottaging in Meaford & Thornbury) I looked out at the Collingwood Terminals (aka the grain elevator) building at the foot of Maple St. and said, “What is that monstrosity?” I couldn’t understand what it was doing there still, marring that magnificent view of Georgian Bay.

 Well, a few years later when I was researching my book Butchers, Bakers & Building the Lakers: Voices of Collingwood I learned just how significant that “monstrosity” was to local and national history and my nay-saying was spun on its head. Today, I see the grain elevator as a splendid and significant reminder of a past that we should remember, must remember if we are to honour those first courageous immigrants and the generations of Canadians that gave birth to this country and helped it through its first baby steps.

On Monday, April 4, 2011, at the invitation of the Collingwood & District Historical Society, I will be sharing for the first time some of my research on the history of the Collingwood grain elevators (note the plural). For local history buffs, or anyone interested in Ontario or Canadian history, if you are able to come out to the Leisure Time Club on Minnesota Street, Collingwood on Monday night at 7 p.m. you may discover or rediscover some interesting facts. You might also feel compelled to change or perhaps be reaffirmed in your opinion of the Collingwood Terminals building and its future.

I won’t spoil Monday night by sharing any of the history in this blog post, but if you are interested in knowing more about this historic Great Lakes icon, watch this space. I’ll be sharing a few historical notes as I continue to what I hope is completion of this book sometime this year.  Some very cool pics to come, several from my view from the top (I mean reallly up there, at the base of the radio tower–eek! stomach somersaults!) and cool shots from the rarely seen inner depths of that gorgeous beast.

The Collingwood Terminals, June 1929

I am also tweeting on the subject of the Collingwood Elevators to find out just how people feel about its future. If I collect sufficient data before Monday, I will share the result at the CDHS presentation. I am intrigued to hear what people have to say! Please check out my twitter posts at #collingwoodterminals and PLEASE share your thoughts.

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2 Responses to My guilty little secret

  1. My grandfather Fred E. Carpenter was injured during construction. I pry bar pierced his jaw. His face was crooked ever after. My mother Emma Varley moved from Sunset Point to Regina Sask. in 1927. The family returned to Collingwood in 1934. My mother returned by car with two brothers via the U.S. Coming down from Owen Sound, her first view of home was the new elevator. I hope it remains ther as long as possible.

    • Thanks for this wonderful tidbit of history Donald. Are you from the Carpenter family that owned the first pharmacy in town? The Carpenters were the original owners of the stately home on the northeast corner of Third and Oak streets, at one time a retirement residence but now a private home again. I have a great old photo of it in my Collingwood history book. Do you know much more about your family history?

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