Saturday, July 2

Do You Remember Woolworth's

Do you remember Woolworth's? I certainly do.

In my last post I told you a bit about the Farmer's Market that was located in a square in the center of our town. Right across the street was Woolworth's. We often went there when I was young. As a child, one of the things I loved to do was ride the escalator. Other stores in town had elevators, but the escalator was so much more fun.

Woolworth's was what they called a five and dime and there were bargains galore to be had every time we came to town. It was a very popular store and always busy.
As a teenager, I used to love to stop by the soda fountain and restaurant on a Saturday morning. Fountain Coca Cola was the best. Ice cold on a hot summer day, it went down smooth and I always found it refreshing. We seldom got soda pop of any kind, so having a few cents to buy a Coke, as we called it, at Woolworth's was a lot of fun and a real treat. The odd time we had enough to get a grilled cheese or another treat off the menu, but that didn't happen often.

I grew up and got married and it was still fun to shop at Woolworth's and stop by the soda fountain for a Coke. For years it was a regular stop, though I seldom had the money to buy much. It was still fun to ride the escalator and stop by for a Coke.

When my current husband and I were newly married, Woolworth's was still there, but shortly after the store became Woolco. After a couple of years it closed when it was taken over by Walmart. Today, I seldom go to Walmart. It just isn't the same and the clerks are rude, as is the manager. When it opened, it ended an era of great customer service and soda fountain Cokes. Sad in a way, but I will always have the memories.

What are your memories of Woolworth's? Please post in the comment area. I would love to hear what made this five and dime special to you.

Sunday, June 26

The Market Square Curse

When I was young, we used to go to town on Saturday's. The Farmer's Market was the place to go to find bargains and to congregate and socialize with friends and neighbors, as well as meet new friends.

The above picture is of the City Hall section of the Market Square as I remember it as a child.
This is a much earlier photo of the Farmer's Market which was located on the south side of the Square.
The above photo is a very early one of the Market Square. This was situated on Native Land and was a meeting place for whites and Natives to meet and trade or sell goods.

During the early 1960s, the City of Brantford decided that this place was no longer a good fit and closed the Farmer's Market. At that time the land should have reverted back to the Native Peoples of the area, as that had been the agreement. Instead, the City paved the land and made it into a parking lot and installed parking meters.

The Native Band Council went after the monies that were collected from the parking lot and eventually won that battle, but the City wasn't about to give back the land. Instead, a mall was built on the property and the T. Eaton Company leased space there, as did several other retailers.

Before Eatons and the other retailers even moved into the mall, Mrs. Green, from the Six Nations Reservation, put a curse on the land. Eatons survived only a few years and then moved out of the mall. Many other businesses failed as well. Business carried out in the mall has never been successful. There is only two stores that I have knowledge of having prospered. One is a dollar store and the other is a gift and clothing shop.
This is the mall as it appears today, except the movie marquee is no longer there. Twice movie theaters have tried to do business at the mall and have offered minimal fees to attend. Even at $3 a ticket the theaters couldn't survive.

Is this white elephant in the center of the city a disaster because of lack of business from the people who frequent the downtown, or is it Mrs. Green's curse that causes business after business to fail? I would love to hear your opinion.