Tag Archives: Hughes

Heritage Lives: FDR And Churchill Visited Niagara In 1943

 By Terry Hughes                                                          

For security reasons meetings and operations about the war were not for public knowledge. Certainly, this was true with FDR and Churchill. The reasons for face to face meetings were rooted in discussions that yielded good results. This fact would often precede public meetings like the Quebec Conference held on Canadian soil later that year.

 Roosevelt was not a stranger to Canada as the family maintained a summer residence in Campobello, New Brunswick. It was here that he lost the use of his legs. He enjoyed the outdoors and was willing to consider a visitation to the Bruce Peninsula where it offered abundant fishing opportunities. But the real reason is that it offered a meeting with Churchill on the “q.t.”

In order to reach this area of Ontario would require an extensive train trip from Washington via the New York Central, the Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo and Canadian Pacific railways. His train would have to pass through here from Buffalo to connections with the C.P. R. at Hamilton. He would return to the U.S. in the same way. It was not uncommon for passenger trains with blacked out windows passing through here quite often so this “presidential special” would pass by unnoticed .

During the early years of the war, the Royal Navy would host the prime minister for meetings in North America. After reaching Canada he would go by train to his meeting with Roosevelt. Having set an agenda for the Quebec Conference, they returned to different destinations and in the case of Churchill his whereabouts appeared in local newspapers when his train stopped in Niagara Falls for him to do some sightseeing. 

While his daughter checked out the falls and collected postcards for the folks back home, Churchill decided to visit Brock’s Monument. The prime minister was a student of military warfare and was intrigued with the Battle of Queenston Heights. According to press accounts he respected the heroics of Brock, but he could not understand why Gen. Sheaffe, who retook Queenston Heights along with Indian allies, from Americans did not get significantly more recognition!    .   

Believe it or not this story was initiated when a former railway employee brandished a cigar band from the type of cigar that Churchill smoked! It was just a matter of joining the dots after researching a number of published news accounts to write this story.  

Note: The images of FDR and Churchill are from The Best of Life.

Next Column:  Favourite Rides At Crystal Beach.  

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

Heritage Lives In Pictures: The Building With The Arches On Niagara Street

Business Area Was Dubbed ‘The West Main Village’ By Well Known Wellander

By Terry Hughes

No, we’re not talking about McDonalds but instead a building next door to Bogner’s Photography once known as the Hilder Bldg. The late Joe Krar called this row of buildings and those structures on West Main Street  THE WEST MAIN VILLAGE.  These buildings reflect the style of businesses that were once part of the historic west side of the city over a century ago. 

Close examination of our picture from yesteryear this month shows a portion of dirt road which was eventually covered with brick sometime around 1912. This part of the building shows the first arch, housing a grocery store and a soda fountain. 

What was common for grocery stores was placing some of their fruits and vegetables on a sloping table for potential shoppers to see. The size of this type of shop was relatively small and noted as neighbourhood ventures that were found across the town. They would cater to the customers of that area.but it was very competitive. 

The operation of a soda shop was very specialized because you were limited to selling ice cream in various forms and soda drinks. Coke was just getting started and Pepsi was yet to be marketed. Eventually this type of business would be found in drug stores. 

One other feature of shops of the day was the use of awnings. Not only did they offer shoppers some relief from the weather but were used as a method of advertising. If the weather was too punishing they would simply use a hand crank device and raise them until better conditions prevailed. 

A wide variety of businesses would be found here over the years. I can remember going into this part of the building called Isherwoods where the owner sold model kits of airplanes, ships, etc. It also housed a bike shop. The upstairs apartments served both the shop owner as well as a temporary place to live for some folk. For viewing, some of other businesses are shown on pages 106 and 107 in the CELEBRATING 150 YEARS, the Welland 150th anniversary book. 

Next Heritage Lives in Pictures:  Getting Ready To Bridge The Great Dain.

(Terry  Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)


/Photo by Joe Barkovich

A near the end-of-the-year look at what’s ahead on the blog:

Tuesday, December 28: Penny Morningstar, above, Welland Historical Museum’s curator/manager who retired last week after 32 years at the museum, will be missed, says a former co-worker. Morningstar will be missed not only by museum staff, but by many in the community, where she was well known and highly regarded.

Wednesday, December 29: The Heritage Lives columnist, Terry Hughes, enjoys writing about yesteryear, particularly local history, heritage, culture and occasionally, politics. But he steps out of his comfort zone for Wednesday’s column, where he tries crystal balling what may be ahead in 2022. 

Thursday, December 30:  My picks of some of 2021’s favourite pix.

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