As many of you know, Port Perry is approaching its 150th birthday, but of course, COVID restrictions are preventing us from blowing out the candles. The powers that be are putting together a list of 150 things to do over the summer, and that information will be available soon.
I pondered what I could do to help celebrate the town’s milestone. I decided to create a 150 page book in full colour, sponsored in part by the Scugog Chamber of Commerce, showcasing what the past looked like, and how it looks today. In doing so, I ended up spending many hours researching our history and was amazed at some of the facts I discovered.
For example, did you know, before we had an official township office, somewhere in the early fifties, we had a treasurer’s office where most of the business in town was done? This was conveniently located on Queen Street, and the building was later sold to Bob Prentice, where he still operates his hair cutting business today. There was a small municipal office, where the township offices are today, but it was moved to somewhere in Manchester.
For those of you who lived in town prior to the mid-nineties, on the site where Shoppers Drug Mart is today, there was a hotel known as the Railroadhouse (all one word). This is not overly extraordinary, however, back in the 1800s there used to be another Railroad House Hotel, on Water Street, where the Perfect Scoop is located today.
The Catholic Church used to be located on the corner of John and Casimir Streets. When it was time to build a new church, the present location was chosen. What I did not know was, the old church was moved to the fairgrounds, and became one of the buildings there. The new church, as most of you know, burned down and the present building was erected in its place.
I am amazed at how many local, interesting chronicles this town has, and I guess, when I celebrate my 150th birthday, I too will have a great deal of history. By the way, if you want to order a copy of the book, it will be available next week at various outlets around town, including the Standard Newspaper, or just send me an email at jon@photosNtravel.com Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard’s Website or YouTube.