A look back at Creemore in the 1940s

 In Opinion

The item in the Sept. 4 edition of The Echo, about the ice cream from MacDonald’s bakeshop, gave me an idea. I grew up in the Creemore area, my family and I went to Creemore every Wednesday and Saturday night, during the summer. I remember that life in a different era, and I would like to share it with your readers.
There are already two books on Creemore’s past, A Glimpse of Creemore’s Past by Joan Maynard and Colleen Stamp in June 1989 and A Green & Pleasant Place in 1998, by the Purple Hills Arts and Heritage Society. They both cover the chronological information of each building, while hopefully, my stories are a snap-shot in time.
I have chosen the 1940s decade as these were my formative years while I was going to school. I will start at MacDonald’s which was a bake shop and Ice Cream Parlour. It was operated by Grant MacDonald and his wife, who lived upstairs with their family at the present location of the pub. The bakeshop was at the back in a smaller detached building, where they made bread, buns, and all kinds of desert type cakes and apparently ice cream. The baked goods were at the front, of the store, while the ice cream parlour was towards the rear. It was the custom of the guys I hung-out with on the open nights to share a brick or two of ice cream and we often did so at MacDonald’s. I am really surprised that the list of flavours does not include chocolate. A brick of ice cream was about the shape of a small building brick.
As we proceed up Mill street, Harold Dunstan’s Barber Shop is next at 143. Harold was a great guy and most days caught a trout in the Mad River for lunch. He also was the Fire Chief of the Creemore Volunteer Fire Dept for many years and told me one time that almost every building on Mill Street had been on fire at some time. The other room in Harold’s building was occupied by a hairdresser, Jessie Morrison. That was the year of the Polio epidemic and Jessie, although an adult contacted it. She didn’t get medical help soon enough and was disabled, the rest of her life.
The next building to the North At 145 Mill was occupied by my Uncle Willie and Aunt Annie Millie. Uncle Willie after retiring, as Treasurer of Nottawasaga Township, sold insurance and farm accessories, while they lived upstairs. This is an odd-shaped building as it is wider at the front than at the back.
Somewhere to the rear of this building, Percy Hunt operated a bakeshop. This was competition to MacDonald’s and in those days the big commercial bakeries seemed to ignore Creemore. A lot of women, of course, made their own bread, but for those who didn’t, there where excellent choices between Hunt’s and MacDonald’s. 

Gerry Blackburn is the author of Creemore, as Remembered by Gerry Blackburn, available at The Creemore Echo Newsstand.

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